What does CPD really mean?

Imagine that you visited your doctor tomorrow for advice and discovered that she hadn’t updated her knowledge or skills since she qualified 20 years ago.  How confident would you feel about taking her advice?  In any profession each individual has a responsibility to keep their skills and knowledge up to date.

If you don’t, you are more likely to let the client down. Continuing Professional Development helps you turn that responsibility into a positive opportunity to plan and achieve your own career objectives.

CPD shouldn't be a rigid process. Be flexible and think whether what you are doing is something new that helps you do your job better, something that keeps you up to date and competent to do the job, or something which improves you as a professional person in the society in which you work.

It’s a question of setting yourself objectives for development and then noting your progress towards achieving them. It's about where you want to be and how you plan to get there. It’s often about the quality of the development you undertake – not just about the time you spend doing it.

So, if you want to learn about the new Insurance Act decide what your objective is: perhaps you want to be sufficiently competent to explain to a client their responsibilities under the Act, or perhaps to explain how the Act will affect your colleagues.  Once you know what you want to achieve then you can devise a CPD plan of how to get there.

Most professional bodies will require you to keep a record of the relevant CPD you have undertaken on a yearly basis.  It is far better to stop and take a moment or two to create a CPD record at the time you do something rather than try to remember everything once a year.

Make a list of what you and your employer consider are sensible objectives for you in the next 12 months – this is your CPD plan.

About the author

Kate is the chairman and co-founder of RWA and has worked for the company for nearly 20 years. She is a fan of developing practical, workable, business-led policies and procedures. Kate has specialist training experience within the financial services sector, including major general insurers, and the Lloyd’s underwriting and broking market. She has researched and developed numerous training programmes, both for commercial and in-house use. She has extensive experience of developing in-house and public training programmes for business skills, including Diversity, Employment Law, Management and Leadership, Motivation, Coaching and Feedback, Communication Skills and EQ.

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