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Professional Development? Do I really need it?

Journey 1

Learning Never Exhausts the Mind

Leonardo Da Vinci

In other words, if your interest is held, then it’s never a chore. There are countless similar quotations by famous scholars, but the message throughout is clear: continual learning is an essential part of everyday life and is something we experience from infancy onward.  And people who can claim great success in life, mainly through their work, will usually admit that it’s a result of constantly learning how to do their job better, or more efficiently. Does it not make sense, therefore, to follow suit - and succeed?

CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development and describes how professionals can develop and enhance your abilities. As a result, learning becomes conscious and proactive, rather than passive and reactive. CPD offers opportunities to extend your knowledge and abilities through, e.g. training workshops, e-learning programmes, best practice techniques - and simply sharing ideas. 

This can all seem at first to be rather general in nature and so, in order to make the most of CPD, it’s best to start with a plan. What, exactly, do you want to learn – and thus to achieve? A self-assessment would help you to know in which areas you might be weak, or at least unsure, and how uplifting would it be to embark on a programme which provides not only the tools to enhance your career, but also a feeling of wellbeing and, essentially, self-affirmation?

Professional development should be, as suggested, a continual process throughout your career and as you inevitably change jobs, so your abilities and understanding will grow. Others may also benefit as you perform your duties with increased expertise, and roles of greater responsibility start to come within your reach.

There is a general acceptance that people can and will simply ‘learn on the job’, which is true; you’re almost bound to do so. But that could limit your horizons somewhat - and possibly restrict your opportunities for advancement.  However, it’s also increasingly accepted that academic qualifications must offer more vocational and skills-based or ‘practical’ learning. Learning that’s relevant to what you do. So, a structured, practical and methodical approach to learning helps employers across all sectors to keep key staff and develop the skills and knowledge in their organisations to maintain a sustainable growth.

It’s part of your personal growth that’s so important and you need to accept the help that’s on offer to make it happen. CPD can provide that platform and should be embraced as a concept worth viewing.

There is no-one who is working these days who will not benefit from learning more about their job, and how to perform it better. This could have a huge impact not only on their knowledge, but also on their self-esteem, and even their marketability. Having embarked on a CPD programme, consider the following:

  • What did you get out of this?
  • What have you learned?
  • How did you learn it?
  • How will you apply it in practice?

Just as you would continually tend a young sapling, it makes absolute sense to seek the benefit from CPD – and continually grow your career.

Key Points

  • Think about it, and know why you would benefit from professional development
  • Carry out a self-assessment; identify areas where you could improve
  • Start on a plan and get going!
  • Monitor your progress and achievements