Many people think that when they have completed their GCSEs, ‘A’ Levels or university degree, the hard work is done. They can then walk into their dream career and no longer have to worry about studying or learning.
However, this is not the case.
Continued professional development (or CPD for short) is essential for you to keep up to date with the latest knowledge and skills during the course of your professional career.
In fact, according to Gallup, 87% of Millennials see growth and development opportunities as important to them in their role. 69% of Gen Xers and Boomers see CPD as essential.
Why is training and development at work so necessary, and how can learning on the job enhance your career prospects?
What is CPD?
Continuous professional development is when staff undertake learning to develop and enhance their skill set.
CPD can be formal or informal, structured or unstructured. Examples of learning include:
- Reading an article or case study
- Listening to a podcast or watching a video
- Attending a seminar, webinar or workshop
- Sharing knowledge with colleagues informally or formally
- Being part of a Facebook or LinkedIn group that shares best industry practice
- ‘On the job’ learning with other staff and secondments/placements
- Studying for a professional qualification or accreditation
This means that you may be carrying out CPD already, but you don’t know it.
For example, reading articles about new technology in your chosen career path on your lunch break counts as continuous professional development!
Why is CPD so important?
You may be wondering why CPD is so important.
After all, if you are experienced in your chosen career you must know all there is to know… right?
Here are five reasons why continuous professional development is so critical.
1. It keeps you up to date with the latest developments
The work landscape changes all the time.
Brand new technologies come into play, new businesses launch and new ways how to carry out tasks are discussed. Being aware of these developments will not only put you ahead of your competitors but help your business save time and money too.
2. It helps customers put their trust in what you do
CPD also helps keep you legally compliant. For example, when GDPR was implemented in 2018, you may have had training to learn what the new law was about, and how it would affect you in the workplace.
Being legally compliant not only increases your confidence in your role, but means that third parties, other staff and clients can put their faith in what you do too.
3. It helps you prepare for your next role
Sometimes we undertake continuous professional development for the role that we want, rather than the position we currently have.
For example, if you are interested in becoming a manager, you may be keen to learn more about management or team leadership. You may even ask if you can become a mentor to new staff
If you work in IT but want to specialise in cybersecurity, you may choose to complete a penetration testing course.
Undertaking CPD shows your commitment to the business and demonstrates that you have the experience and skills to take the next step in your career. This means when a promotion comes up, you’re more likely to be chosen to take the role.
4. It keeps you interested in your job
We all occasionally lose passion for the work we do. Sometimes if you do the same work day in, day out, it can make you feel frustrated and bored. This may cause you to start searching for another job.
CPD makes you aware of new knowledge and trends and can make you more interested in your chosen career path.
For example, if you work in digital marketing you may sign up for webinars about how to create videos or enrol on a short course to enhance your graphic design skills.
Passion is critical for all jobs, and constant learning will help keep you invested.
5. It’s good for your well-being
As well as helping you in your career, CPD can also help you in your personal life too.
Learning new things helps keep your brain healthy, boosts your self-confidence and improves your mental health.
You may also be able to apply what you learn to your home life!
The benefits of CPD for businesses
So far, we’ve looked at the benefits of CPD to you as an employee. However, it is critical for businesses as well.
Different companies have different approaches to CPD. Some make it mandatory through personal development reviews, while with other companies it is something that is ‘nice to have’, but not essential.
Benefits of CPD for business include:
- Improved staff morale and engagement
- Higher standards
- More experienced staff
- Higher staff retention rates
- Recruitment of a higher calibre of employees
A dedication to continued professional development can help bridge the skills gap too.
Retraining staff can help companies avoid wasting time and money on filling new roles as well as reducing the number of staff made redundant.
70% of employees would take part in retraining if it were an option. This means that staff are ready and willing to learn.
Looking to move forward in your chosen career? IT Online Learning is here to help
In conclusion, CPD is something that everyone should be carrying out at work. It’s vital for keeping up with the latest trends and developments, as well as expanding your knowledge.
If you want to grow your knowledge and keep up to speed with the latest developments in your profession of choice, we can support your needs.
We provide a wide range of IT, project management, health & safety and leadership courses that will help you grow and develop in your chosen career.
All our courses can be completed online, meaning that you can study at home or in the office.