The term ‘Continuing Professional Development’, or acronym CPD, strikes fear into some and disdain in others. It can create an image of something that is time consuming and a burden. However, I believe that is because there are many common misconceptions around the core purpose of CPD, even what constitutes CPD.
What springs to mind when you hear someone mention CPD? Do you think instantly of classroom-based training as the only relevant way of attaining valid CPD? Whilst formal training can be an important element, it is worth recognizing that that we are constantly learning from a wide variety of sources and experiences.
The people we work with and the meetings and events we attend are all rich sources of information and education. The Institute’s own history is built on members coming together at branch technical evenings to share best practice and learn from one another. In a couple of months, the whole industry will gather for the same reason at Hillhead. The role of CPD is not just a process and should not be seen simply as a tick-box exercise; it has a value and impact that reaches across the industry.
The challenge for organizations is building a skilled workforce when training budgets are vulnerable to cuts. Equally, it may not be clear exactly what skills are needed in the future. This is why continuing professional development is now key for so many organisations and individuals. Businesses with formal processes that actively encourage employees to learn new ideas and concepts and share these around the organization will be more innovative, productive and resilient when dealing with change.
A planned approach to CPD allows you to put yourself in charge of your career development and work-related ambitions. Personal empowerment of learning brings with it an increase in confidence and overall skill level, which, in turn, allows organizations to build better working environments.
In an industry sector such as mineral extractives, where there are acknowledged challenges in attracting young and diverse talent, those organizations which support staff in developing the skills and careers that they want will benefit most by embracing CPD as part of their business culture.
CPD should also be seen as a way to keep your qualifications up to date by supplementing your underpinning knowledge with the latest information. Nowadays there are so many types and sources of professional development that it only requires you to be open to new ideas.
One barrier that continues to stand in the way is the availability of time. So we have been tasked with finding innovative and inspirational ways of delivering learning that removes such barriers. We launched a compelling new series of IQ ‘Lunch and Learn’ webinars as part of the training and development provided by the IQ Academy. Webinars run monthly and provide IQ members with CPD opportunities. Early topics include water abstraction legislation, mineral planning, geotechnical assessment and dealing with change.
The case for us all to maintain our knowledge and skills in whatever role we fulfil is clear. Ensuring our people maintain their skills and knowledge throughout their working life is an imperative for the industry so we can manage the challenges and maximize the opportunities we face.