Free CPD that works around me. Sounds too good to be true?!

Full-time job, two kids, husband that works shifts any time and day of the week, and an enthusiastic German Shepherd who's happy to fill any spare time I've got going for a walk. If you can relate to any of that you know how difficult it is to find the time and money to commit to CPD.

My personal development plan has learning objectives to meet my desire to know more about professional archaeology to help me understand the issues members and Registered Organisation deal with; about professional institutes, how to develop them to meet members' needs and how to promote the work we do to recruit new members; and on a personal level I also want to learn more about football coaching for youth teams allowing me to spend time with my son and be involved in what he's doing.

I'm in a lucky position that my employer will pay for me to attend training courses and conferences (non-football related obviously!), but these don't always provide exactly what I need and there are other staff members who also want a share of the training budget. So what is out there to help me instead?

I've found various different sources to help with my CPD

  • Magazines: The Archaeologist, for example, is full of information which helps me get a better understanding about professional archaeology
  • E-bulletins: I've signed up to e-bulletins from organisations and individuals that help inform membership bodies about good practice, new approaches, communicating with members etc. They are full of different things but often there is something that relates directly to my CPD and links through to an online resource I can use
  • Surveys: I've filled in relevant surveys which often result in a summary of all the responses (and sometime free publications) giving me a useful resource and incite to what other professional bodies do
  • Colleagues: If I want to understand more about a topic then I ask someone. A 15-20 minute conversation with a colleague can add to my CPD
  • Online resources: I look out for short, free online courses or conference recordings on relevant topics that I can complete or watch in 30 mins or so. For example the Football Association have a lot of short CPD courses on their coaching website, the Professional Associations Research Network (PARN) has online videos from individuals in other institutes talking about good practice, and CIfA has free access to recordings of conference sessions and workshops - and has recently made a start on offering free online training

All the above add up to a good few hours of freely accessible CPD to build on the paid training courses I can attend. Ok, they still require me to find a bit of time to fit them in but they can work around family, over a sandwich at lunch or on the train journey home.

So why don’t you find some free CPD opportunities that fit around you?