Drink and Drugs News DDN 1806 | Page 24

Development Drawing Does continuing professional development (CPD) have a purpose for volunteers and people without professional qualifications? 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 PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS? 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 www.drinkanddrugsnews.com