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Continuous Professional Development

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Continuous Professional Development

Introduction
It is an internationally accepted practice for professional bodies to have a policy on Continuous Professional Development (CPD) which aims to ensure that its members’ skills and knowledge are relevant to the changing environment that they function in. CPD is an important aspect of serving the public interest and fosters values of continuous learning and greater professional competence to better meet client and employer needs.

What is CONTINUOUS PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT (CPD)
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is defined as learning activities for developing and maintaining the capabilities to perform competently within one’s professional environments. CPD is aimed at the post-qualification maintenance or enhancement of professional competence.

Competence is the ability to perform the tasks and roles expected of a member, both newly qualified and experienced, to the standard demanded by the profession, employers and the general public. In our continually changing environment, competence is therefore not a static term, but evolves over a lifetime of learning.

CPD is an extension of the learning process, where the professional knowledge, professional skills and professional values, ethics and attitudes gained continue to develop and are refined as appropriate for the professional activities and responsibilities of the individual.

CPD is based on the principles of lifelong learning. Lifelong learning can be described as self-directed growth. This means that new skills and knowledge are acquired through self-directed learning.

Why is CPD important?
A professional has been defined as: “A person who practices an occupation involving high standards of intellectual knowledge after successfully completing the required education and training” and a profession as: “An occupation requiring special education”. This reflects the general expectations of the public about professionals.

In today’s changing and increasingly complex environment, professionals in industry cannot possibly possess all the knowledge required to render high-quality professional services if they do not participate in appropriate CPD.

The Professional Institute must therefore be seen to be taking practical steps to ensure that its members maintain their technical knowledge and professional skills.

Mandatory CPD is an effective way to ensure participation in CPD by members whose knowledge is out of date and who are unlikely to respond to a voluntary program. CPD would also provide guidance, added motivation and an agreed norm under which a member can plan and measure his/her own participation.

On its own, CPD does not provide absolute assurance that members will provide services of a high quality. Doing so involves applying that knowledge with professional judgment and an objective attitude in the real-life situations found in today’s changing environment. Nor is there complete assurance that every person who participates in a CPD program will obtain full benefits from the program because of variances in individual commitment and capability.

It is nevertheless certain that members, who are not up-to-date on current technical and general knowledge pertinent to their work, will not be able to provide professional services competently.

Therefore, despite the inherent limitations of any CPD program, a CPD requirement should be an important element in preserving the standards of the profession and maintaining public confidence.

What are the benefits of CPD
Continued development of professional knowledge and skills has the following distinct benefits for the individual:

  • Maintains or increases the level of technical competence
  • Extends the range of financial skills
  • Develops new areas of expertise
  • Promotes confidence and pride in your work
  • Increases career options
  • Increasing job satisfaction

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