What is CPD?

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Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is the means by which professionals maintain, improve and broaden their knowledge and skills and develop the personal qualities and competencies required in their working lives. It is a process for setting yourself objectives for development then charting your progress towards achieving them. It's about where you want to be and how you plan to get there. IFST as your professional body supports your development and progress by prompting to do CPD as part of the annual CPD audit.

The professional skills and knowledge you require will vary considerably, depending on your professional role and discipline. Your CPD should reflect both your current needs and your future aspirations. It is for you to decide the areas of skill and knowledge that are relevant to your role. As your career evolves, your skills and knowledge needs will change and your CPD will help you steer and manage your own route into the future, by enabling you to more readily adapt to changing circumstances.

A wide range of activities can contribute to your CPD however it is not about the quantity of the activities but the quality of the reflections linked to recent learning activities. It is for you to recognise needs and opportunities both inside and outside your workplace and to take advantage of learning experiences to developing your own CPD programme. Joining IFST can also help you manage your own learning and growth by offering a combination of approaches, ideas and techniques.

Reflection of the learning activities is the most important part of CPD and is some professions it has become one of the defining features of competence.

" Maybe reflective practises offer us way of trying to make sense of he uncertainty in our workplaces and the encourage to work competently and ethically at the edge of order and chaos..." (Ghaye, 2000, p.7)

" We want to encourage professionals, as reflective practioners, to think about what they do well, to reflect on what could they share with colleagues, as well as identifying their own development needs. (DfEE, 2001 Continuing Professional Development)

Five steps to perfect CPD