With technology, skills and legislation changing constantly, it shouldn’t surprise anybody that the way we learn and train is also evolving and becoming more fluid.
BY IDEAL COMMERCIAL BOILERS’
CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER DARREN FINLEY
A key acronym for on-the-job learning at the moment is CPD (Continuing Professional Development). Described on the official CPD website as “The holistic approach to the concept of professionalism”, it sounds formidable but, what does it mean and why is it more effective than traditional methods of learning?
The basic principle behind CPD is that learning is fluid and constant and that professionals are kept up to date with relevant training, information, skills and knowledge in their field to keep pace in an ever-changing environment.
The goal is to set the professional on a career-long commitment to learning as opposed to the more traditional vocational training involving an initial scheduled learning period.
CPD is a points-based training commitment and it is generally recommended that a course of CPD is spread over 12 months with development objectives to be set and reached throughout the year.
Candidates are required to follow a schedule of learning objectives and to provide evidence of their progress at the end of each course. There are three different types of CPD, Structured, Reflective and Self-Directed.
Both Reflective and Self-Directed CPD courses are simple and relatively cost-free as they involve the individual conducting their own learning through the reading of relevant publications, books, journals, case studies and podcasts.
As its name would suggest, Structured CPD is a more organised approach and is both proactive and interactive in its execution. CPD courses vary but can include a mixture of traditional training courses, conferences, workshops, seminars, lectures and e-learning programs.
Structured CPD is increasingly popular with many employers feeling that it contributes toward maintaining a sustainable, competitive advantage by having a knowledgeable and proactive workforce.
By regularly updating and reviewing their skills, employees remain effective within their roles and are also able to develop a strategic and tactical overview of the challenges faced within the workplace. CPD has also been found to increase professional confidence and overall capability.
Because CPD is a constant and can be adapted continuously when a candidate is faced with time restraints or changed priorities, it allows for learning at one’s own pace and encourages employees to take ownership of their own progress.
CPD also ensures that employees skills and knowledge are constantly kept relevant and up to date. Even if a busy candidate can only spare half an hour per working day, this adds up to roughly 114 hours per year, as opposed to approximately 24 hours based on a three-day training course at the commencement of employment.
In the competitive industry that we now find ourselves, companies need to ensure that they move with the times and in terms of employee skills and learning, the benefits of CPD are largely considered to be QED.