In most professions these days, people are expected to continue their continuous professional development to make sure their skills don’t become out of date. It’s a fair expectation that once you are professionally qualified to do a job, you need to keep up to date with the latest happenings or risk being made to look less reliable because someone else entering the workforce is more knowledgeable about your speciality than you.
So CPD becomes quite important.
How can L&D help CPD to happen is the question.
Well, this is where things start to get interesting. Is CPD a personal activity? Should it be governed by the business? Should L&D keep on top of the CPD activity individuals are required to go through? What happens if someone doesn’t engage in any CPD activity for the last 12 months? What if they haven’t done any since joining your company? Are you even aware of what CPD looks like for the different functions in your business? Are there formal qualifications that need to be maintained? Can reading count? Does a conference count? Does a team meeting count?
In an excellent post, David Goddin asks the question of the future of L&D. In that he talks about the consultative L&Der. Yes. This is how L&D will become seen to be a core business unit that is fundamental to the success of a business. By being consultative with the business we start to understand what CPD demands there are on the respective business units.
For most areas of the business where you don’t have to be concerned with legal or legislative updates, the CPD you engage in can come from a number of places. And the best part is, L&D doesn’t necessarily have to give the ‘nod’ (post at a later date about the infamous ‘sign off’). Most of what makes us better at our job is the interaction we have with content, and that content can come from anywhere. Importantly though, we have to seek out that content. It won’t just appear – well it will, but with a subscription demand and a price attached.
That blog post you read, it counts. That team meeting you went to about project updates, it counts. That community of practise you belong to, that counts. The internal communications that get cascaded around, they count. The formal L&D programmes you attend, they definitely count. That webinar you attended, it counts. As does that unconference you went to. Taking part in online discussions, they certainly count. Your regular meeting with you line manager, is essential and definitely counts. And don’t forget to include the company meeting.
CPD is surprisingly easy to come by when you just open your mind to the fact that in this day and age we are only limited by our definition of CPD activity. It is one of the things I enjoy most about helping others to think about their development, is where they can keep their learning and development going that doesn’t involve me.