Maintaining your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is simple - follow the five steps to perfect CPD:
Planning your CPD starts by making an honest assessment of your current situation and determining your professional development goals for both the current year and the medium term e.g. next 2 to 3 years. Because the needs of each individual will vary, there is no prescribed programme. It is for you to recognise your own needs and opportunities inside and outside the workplace and to take advantage of learning experiences in developing your own continuing professional development.
It is useful to ask yourself the following questions:
- What do you want to achieve?
- What do you need to learn?
- How will you learn it?
The next step is to create a plan of action to achieve these goals. Our myCPD system categorises learning into different activities.
It is also possible to link your CPD record together with your Personal Development Plan (PDP).
Once you plan your CPD, it is time to get out there and start developing.
Although getting out there and attending some activities requires time management skills and motivation, it offers valuable returns as it keeps you connected to the wider food science community and improves networking skills. As educational psychologists say, you learn more by networking than by attending a course.
Please remember to reflect while 'on the go'. It is easier to remember the key light bulb moments which often result in improvements and changes to the current practices.
Show the CPD you have done.
Monitor and record your progress against the plan.That includes recording items that you may not have planned, such as training, learning and experience which nevertheless have contributed to your professional development. Having said that CPD is all about quality of the learning rather than quantity of the activities performed. CPD-recording should be output focused (what are benefits of learning) rather than input focused (list of dates and actions).
Be mindful when considering an activity which is part of your normal working day routine as in most instances it does not qualify as development.
For help with logging in to myCPD, understanding your dashboard and recording your development, you can check out our handy guide at the bottom of the page.
Reflection is the most important part of CPD reporting since it makes you think of the value of your work for yourself, your colleagues, clients, company and the wider community. If reflection is missing, then CPD becomes less beneficial and meaningful as a tool.
It is useful to ask yourself the following questions:
- What did you get out of this?
- What have you learned?
- How did you learn it?
- How will you apply it in practice?
- What is the resulting change?
- Does this flag up any additional development which would be helpful for you to undertake?
- What benefits will it have for your clients and/or your service?
- How does this help you prepare for a new role?
This is the time for you to harness the value of what you have learned by bridging the gap between theory and practice. Getting this section of CPD writing correct is a key element of professionalism and successful career management.
Professionals who regularly record CPD and are good at reflecting what they have learned tend to become professionals who continuously drive for development and bring in new ideas. This benefits not only themselves but most importantly colleagues, their company and the industry overall.
- Don’t look at CPD as a box-ticking exercise - see it as an active opportunity to build confidence, identify areas of growth and enhance your reputation.
- Recognise the multifaceted nature of CPD. Formal CPD is the easiest to identify, whether it be attending a conference, going on a management course or attaining new qualifications. But it is not the only recognised form of CPD and it’s not only about technical knowledge, but wider skills (consultancy skills, communication, leadership, staff management, project management, application area knowledge, and so on).
- Identify and Plan - Identify your key areas of improvement that are likely to have a significant impact on your professional development, and the range of learning activities that will reflect on your current role/future aspirations. If you have a PDP in your role, you should have your goals listed there, and this will help you plan your CPD
- Think broadly about CPD, not just within the narrow realms of your specialist field. What else can you learn to support you in your work, increase your knowledge / understanding of your sector, and to improve your services to your employer / clients. It could be reading books, attending conferences / trade shows / networking events, talking to others outside your field to get a different perspective
Further tips on CPD are available here: Science Council CPD awards
If you are part of a CPD-scheme, you must be prepared to send your CPD-report for annual assessment. We will contact when it is time to review your CPD.
If you are new to CPD writing or would like further guidance related to any section above, please don’t hesitate to contact us for further information.
Please note that we no longer accept paper-based CPD submissions as part of renewal process for our Registers. You will be able to submit your records online via our myCPD system, which has been designed to help you manage your own learning and growth with ease.