Does continuing professional
development (CPD) have a purpose
for volunteers and people without
Absolutely, says Kate Halliday,
who explains how to get started
WHAT IS CPD?
Continuing professional development (CPD) describes the process of documenting
the skills, knowledge and experience that we gain as we work, and how we apply
this learning. This can include formal learning (a training course for example) and
informal learning (observing a colleague or taking part in a meeting). The important
aspect of CPD is that the learning is recorded somehow. For many this may be a
physical folder of evidence, though increasingly CPD is recorded electronically.
WHAT IS THE POINT OF CPD?
Recording what you learn, how you learn it, and how you apply it, can help you
develop as a practitioner and improve your skills and knowledge, providing a better
service for clients. This in turn helps you develop your career, and it helps your
employer deliver services.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CPD AND TRAINING?
The terms ‘training’ and ‘CPD’ are often used interchangeably, but they are different.
On the whole, training describes a linear and formal process with the aim of
learning a specific skill or area of knowledge. Development is often informal and
describes the ability to move from basic ‘know how’ to more advanced and complex
application of skills and knowledge. So you may receive training on how to complete
an assessment. You can evidence development when you complete a complex
assessment, perhaps with the support of a colleague.
IS CPD ONLY IMPORTANT FOR PEOPLE WITH
No! It is true that many professional bodies (such as the Health and Care
Professional Council) require their members to have completed a specified number
of hours of CPD to remain a member or become accredited. But there is great value
in non-qualified practitioners, including volunteers, keeping a log of their CPD. There
are a number of ways this can help:
• You can begin to identify the areas you have knowledge, skills and experience in,
and identify the areas you need to learn more about. If you are a volunteer who
is interested in getting employment in the field, then this can be especially
useful in helping gain the experience and learning you need to get a job. I have
seen people use their CPD record effectively in the interview process by letting
employers know that they record and reflect on their learning, and are aware of
both their strengths and the areas in which they would like to develop.
• It can help with confidence: setting goals and achieving them feels good! And it
can help us get to where we want to go.
• It can help us understand how we learn; we all have different learning styles.
Some of us need a bit of time away from the workplace to read and reflect, and
others like discussions and learning on the job. If you understand the best way
for you to learn, you may be able to tailor future learning goals to your style.
16 | drinkanddrugsnews | June 2018