CPD learning activities

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It is not possible to develop guidelines to cover every conceivable type of situation which would qualify as CPD. Your CPD activities will depend on your specialty, the opportunities available, your priorities, and your personal learning styles and preferences and these should reflect a balance of learning activities relevant to your own current and future roles. Your CPD may be made up partly or wholly of activities not themselves scientific, but which are demonstrably relevant to your current or future roles, eg planning/organisational skills or IT studies.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of examples of 5 learning activities which may be part of your CPD, which should include a selection of activities in at least 3 categories below.

1. Work-based learning (beyond normal scope of role)

Work-based learning is professional development that takes place within the work environment in your current role. Much of this development should naturally take place as you gain experience, greater independence and responsibility and the complexity and scope of your work increases. Work based learning includes learning activities and development opportunities that are provided by or requested by your employer as part of your Personal Development Plan.

Work-based learning may include:

  • Internal training – includes orientation programs, standard operating procedures and employee development
  • Experiential learning: preparation before commencing a new role or expanding an existing role
  • Work shadowing or secondments
  • Discussions with colleagues – idea generation, problem solving, etc
  • Participation in departmental or inter-departmental meetings and learning from others
  • Contributing to or leading the development of new standards or processes
  • New presentations to external clients
  • Supervising colleagues or trainees or students related the new areas of work
  • Involvement in the wider work of employer – beyond normal scope of role, eg visiting production sites to view processes
  • "Lessons learnt" reviews following significant projects or events 
  • Requesting and analysing feedback on performance from colleagues or clients 
  • Participating in your employer’s performance appraisal and goal setting process

2. Professional activity

Professional activities involve the wider community of food professionals. Professional activities that support professional development include participating in the activities of a professional body, learned society or trade association, participating in activities that develop the professional skills and knowledge of other professionals, and participating in activities that apply scientific expertise for the benefit of the wider community.

Professional activities may include:

  • Involvement in helping organise activities for IFST or other scientific or trade associations
  • Organiser of a conference, scientific meeting or technical visit, outside your day job
  • Being a referee for a journal 
  • Act as an examiner or supervisor of research (on a voluntary basis)
  • Participation in a technical interest group,panel or study group 
  • Taking part in workshops, focus groups and technical visits with other professionals
  • Preparation of new materials for teaching others
  • Preparation for giving presentations or taking part in a debate at conferences or scientific meetings 
  • Networking with professionals in other organisations 
  • Coaching or mentoring (voluntary)
  • Taking part in online discussions on matters of major scientific or technical interest

3. Formal / educational

Formal/educational includes the participation in activities that lead to gaining academic/professional qualifications and the attendance at structured learning activities organised by professional bodies, learned societies or training providers; and also the preparation of papers, articles or presentations for a professional audience.

Formal / educational activities may include:

  • Undertaking a program of learning or research for an academic qualification
  • Attending training courses 
  • Attending conferences or scientific meetings 
  • Undertaking distance learning or e-learning activities 
  • Structured reading, eg to understand a specific issue or problem
  • Maintaining or developing specialist skills 
  • Writing articles or papers for publication/circulation outside your normal work
  • Preparing presentations for conferences or scientific meetings
  • Preparing (new) material for training courses

4. Self-directed learning

Self-directed learning takes place when the individual takes the initiative in diagnosing learning needs, formulating learning goals, designing learning experiences, identifying and using human and material resources, and evaluating learning outcomes.

Self-directed learning may include:

  • Reading books, journals and articles of a general nature
  • Upgrading knowledge through internet searches and the use of electronic information sources 
  • Reflective practice – assessing benefit of CPD activities to self, client or employer – identifying next steps

5. Other learning outside normal scope of employment

Activities which may not require scientific expertise, but which help develop transferable skills and experiences which may be valuable in your current professional role or in future career directions.

Learning outside your normal scope of employment may include: 

  • Strategic thinking (eg projects for employers such as organisational restructuring, strategic planning and resourcing, external/community relations, facility development) 
  • Leadership skills (eg managing a children's sports team, leader of a scouting/ guides activity, Chair person for a club or society) 
  • Organisation and planning skills (Secretary for a club or society, school governor, Parent Teacher Association organiser, church parish councilor) 
  • Finance skills (eg treasurer for a club or society)
  • Coaching and counselling skills (e.g. sports coach, Samaritans volunteer, mentoring, tutoring)