What is CPD (Continuing Professional Development)?

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Once you start the climb in the professional world how do you measure your performance and how well you are doing? Some may say that they measure their performance by calculating the increase in their salary and for some their professional growth designation wise. Whatever the meaning of performance may be for you, it is evident that it is very important to know how one is performing and improving.

One of the most well observed and planned methodologies of charting ones performance is through the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) method. It’s like your very own charter which records and documents your skills, knowledge and experiences that you gain both formally and informally as you work. So, why is it important to even have a structured way of observing their personal performance? It is your very own personal tool that you can use to conduct a SWOT analysis and figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are.

Most of the major companies and industries today have a designated team set aside just to observe and conduct the regular CPDs module on their employees. In other words it will be safe to say that Continuing Professional Development is a feedback tool with which an employee is able to understand where they stand, and what they need to do to up their performance. As such there are 2 variants of CPD, one that is formal and one that is informal.

  • Formal CPD: take part in short term courses to enhance and groom your skills
  • Informal CPD: involves learning new skills while on the job and being monitored by someone.

As and when you move further and chart your performance from organization to organization, you will only get more content to put into your Professional Development Portfolio. At a time when the competition is so tough, there are so many candidates who apply for the same job. But, what will make you stand out from the crowd is having in place all your records that will show the employers why you are better from the rest.

As an Engineer who is looking to build a strong career in Australia, you will have to stay connected to the Engineers Australia network to help them chart your CPD in the most efficient way. As an engineer there are certain specifications made mandate for your CPD.

  • Your CPD portfolio must consist of a record of minimum 150 hours of CPD information
  • From that 150, 50 hours must contribute to your related area of work
  • 10 hours of risk management
  • 15 hours set aside for business management skills
  • The remaining hours can be shown to cover a range of activities that are relevant to your work and interests.

An additional record needs to be maintained by engineering students and teachers which also show an additional record of 40 hours of industry involvement during their three year course.

Provided below is a continuing professional development template that will give you a basic idea of the structure.

Engineers Australia CPD Recording Sheet

CPD engineers Australia Sample

CPD Engineers Australia Sample

Along with the record type given below is a CPD example of how one can maintain and keep their CPD records.

Continuing Professional Development sample

Continuing Professional Development sample

Fast Track Tips to keep in mind

It goes without saying that maintaining and keeping a perfect and well maintained CPD Portfolio is very critical. Now that you have understood why you need to observe and maintain it closely, let us take a formal look at a few points to be kept in mind to write a CPD Portfolio which speaks for itself.

  • Don’t make it lengthy and keep it short, precise and in bullet point format.
  • Keep it as brief as possible
  • Only include those activities that have a link to your profession and other interests.
  • There is no need to attach any additional certificates, unless an employer asks for it.
  • It will be advisable to keep handy records of both, formal and informal CPD.
  • Sometimes you may be asked to include a personal statement for your CPD declaring that all the information cited by you is true and
  • It will be advisable to browse through some samples of written CPDs to get a clear idea.
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