CPD – What’s that you say?

When I studied archaeology, nobody mentioned CPD records so it wasn't something I was aware of when starting out in the world of work. Following this when I began working in non-archaeological companies CPD was starting to be introduced but consisted of very formal courses which you had to justify for funding to attend. So to my surprise when I joined CIfA, previously IfA, I found that continuing professional development is very important, not only for professional development in the workplace, but also on a personal level and could cover a variety of things. I like CIfA’s approach to CPD and how it should be an integral part of your personal and professional lives.

I first approached my CPD by starting a Personal Development Plan (PDP) about 6 months at the Institute. This involved listing some straight forward personal development ideas like learning to cook better and getting fitter. I then focused on my professional development at work and this included learning about how Institutes are run, attending a Working with Volunteers PARN course and reading up on current archaeological legislation and CIfA’s standards and guidance. The scope of choice to enhance your knowledge and training is huge when you are not restricted to formal courses alone, so I always look for opportunities in different places, for example free e-learning and networking at conferences.

When I have my annual appraisal this leads to more aspects being added to my PDP and thinking more about how I want to develop professionally within the workplace and my career. I added upgrading to accredited membership in my first year, which motivated me to put some time aside to complete all the necessary paperwork. When I came to upgrade to Associate earlier this year, my PDP helped to show me the areas I could provide examples of work from and who would be a suitable second referee other than my employer. This has also been invaluable for my role to assist other applicants and members through the application process too. People tend to relax more when they know I have been through the same process of Validation!

Linking the PDP components to the CPD record is straight forward (as long as you update it regularly so you don’t forget anything!) and much easier with CIfA’s newly adapted guidance. It is amazing to see how many hours of CPD you can collect in a year, so it is easy to meet the 50 hours of CPD over two years required for accredited members of the Institute.
The reason I think that this approach to CPD works is because it puts the onus on the individual to consider their personal and professional goals and to take responsibility for their career, development and progression. I am keen to bring this thinking to our Student members too so they can start receiving the benefits of CPD at the beginning of their career paths and enhancing their knowledge at an early stage to support their job roles.

Talking about CPD has reminded me that I better go and update my CPD record now…