What's the point of ongoing professional development?
In "My CPD Life", a short series of blog posts to coincide with the launch of the AXELOS Professional Development Programme, experienced practitioners share their views on the value of keeping your skills and knowledge up to date.
The AXELOS Professional Development Programme - an online annual membership programme aligned to AXELOS’ global best practice frameworks - has been designed for individuals to ensure their skills and knowledge remain current while supporting them in their professional development.
1 How important has Continuing Professional Development (CPD) been in developing your skills and competencies?
Since first hearing the words “So, do you want a project?” I have needed CPD. Like many others I thought ‘HR’ would look after my development but I soon realized HR did not know much about project management and was interested only in developing me for the betterment of the business, not me. I had to take control of my own development and CPD was the tool to help me. Since then I have used it to set personal objectives, make plans, assess risks and take calculated gambles. Few things have been as important to my career than that battered old folder in my filing cabinet, sporting the (now rather faded) letters - ‘CPD’.
2 Why is it important for practitioners to continue learning and developing beyond gaining a qualification?
Qualifications should only ever be considered a launch pad for greater things. My most important CPD records relate to lessons learned from my project successes (and failures), professional gatherings and long conversations with my many mentors, trying to understand and apply what I have learned. ;All these activities have been pivotal in building my current levels of knowledge, skills and competencies.
3 Why do you think it's important for your skills and knowledge to remain current in your sector?
The P3M arena is still very ‘young’ and continues to evolve and adapt at a furious rate. If you are serious about progressing in any P3M role you had better be serious about genuine CPD. It really isn’t good enough to pass an exam and expect that line on your CV to keep you in work for the rest of your life. If you want to take part in the best projects you can never stand still and take things for granted.
4 How has CPD helped to differentiate you as a professional in your field?
Not long ago having PRINCE2 Practitioner on your CV would get you a job as a project manager. Make no mistake, it is not my qualifications that get me work. It is my knowledge, skills, experience, track record and my ability to apply what I have learned to new and exciting situations that differentiates me from my peers.
5 What advice would you give to other practitioners about the value of CPD?
Take personal charge of your own CPD. if you think your organization will ensure you get appropriately trained and developed, think again. CPD is your own personal ‘project’; the most valuable and important project you will ever manage and the one that will drive your career success and help you exceed your goals. Your CPD ‘project’ started when you joined the profession and won’t stop until you leave. So think hard – what are your objectives? What is your plan? What are the risks? Who are your key stakeholders? The longer you leave it, the more difficult it is to take back control of your own career! CPD is not about gaining certified credits. It’s about you driving your own development as a professional.
See our Professional Development Programme section for more information
Have you found that your CPD activity has helped you stay ahead in your industry or field of expertise? Have there been lessons or skills you learned from CPD that also helped you in a professional position? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments box below.
Read more AXELOS Blog Posts from John Earwood
Why every manager needs project management skills
Project Management Then and Now
More posts in AXELOS' My CPD Life series
My CPD Life - ITSM Consultant Barclay Rae
My CPD Life - independent PPM trainer, coach and consultant Steven Deneir
My CPD Life - project leadership coach and mentor Elise Stevens
My CPD Life - Interim Portfolio Director Craig Kilford
My CPD Life - Consultant Joanne Molesky
My CPD Life - Project Management Expert Centre Leader Dave Watson
My CPD Life - IT service management consultant Colin Rudd