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Continuing Professional Development

Managing your own learning and growth through CPD

By Fleur Blanford

Fleur is Oakwood's Head of International Studies and works in our UK Office
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Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is defined as:

"The maintenance and enhancement of the knowledge, expertise and competence of professionals throughout their careers according to a plan formulated with regard to the needs of the professional, the employer, the profession and society." (Watson and Reissner 2010). 

Or, to put it another way…

It's about managing your own learning and growth.

How Continuing Professional Development works

CPD is a way of setting your objectives and planning your progress in order that they can be achieved. These objectives should be recorded with experiences captured and each piece of learning carefully evaluated. 

Your CPD will consist of a Plan which sets out your objectives; how you intend to achieve them and by when.

It should also consist of some reflection – a Record of your past learning acknowledging what went right, what went wrong, and what your learned from this. Keeping a CPD record will enable you to develop your skills as a "reflective practitioner" (Schon 1983) — to be able to reflect on an action and apply this to a process of continuous learning. 

The CIPD explains CPD very simply as a record of: "what you can do now that you couldn’t do before." (CIPD 2016). It is about how you can turn everyday work experiences into learning which you can draw on in the future – this is known as "experiential learning" (Kolb 1984).

How does the CPD theory work in practice?

In your organisation, CPD is about developing skills, competencies and keeping on top of changes and advancements. CPD should be practised by everyone in your organisation, regardless of status or position. 

The businesses benefits of CPD

  • helps to maximise staff potential
  • helps to link objectives to business needs
  • promotes development, moral and motivation
  • enable learning to be applied to routine activities thereby adding value
  • works in support of performance appraisals.
  • assists with succession planning and talent management 

The individual benefits of CPD

  • builds confidence and credibility
  • activities enable employees to earn more
  • assists with the achievement of career goals by focussing on effective development activities
  • helps manage change by constant upskilling
  • enhances productivity and effectiveness by reflection and identification of skills gaps
  • objectives and activities make working life more interesting

CPD is not intended to be a chore! It should be continuous, owned and managed by the individual and "seen as an essential part of professional and personal life, not an optional extra." (CIPD Professional standards 2009). CPD is an excellent discipline with which to focus your learning, reflect on the results and put your objectives into practice. 

Continuing Professional Development at Oakwood

Students studying with Oakwood International will be aware of the importance we attach to this concept. Not only is a CPD Record and Plan part of an assignment at all levels of study (4DEP and 5DVP) but at Level 5, students are asked to undertake a reflective statement for every assignment they complete. Students are asked to comment on how they will transfer the new knowledge and skills gained during their assignments into working practices. This reflection can be used for the purposes of continuing professional development.

Oakwood include the requirement for students at Level 5 to complete their CPD, as many wish to upgrade their CIPD Membership on completion of the qualification. It's compulsory for CIPD members seeking an upgrade and therefore this is an excellent time to get started – especially if CPD activities are not already being undertaken. 

To find out more about our suite of Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced CIPD qualifications, visit our website or please call us on 04 3599 020. You can also email our team for further details: info@oakwooddubai.ae

  1. Watson, G., Reissner, S., (2010) Developing Skills for Business Leadership. CIPD
  2. Schön, Donald A. (1983). The reflective practitioner: how professionals think in action. New York Basic Books
  3. www.cipd.co.uk/cpd
  4. www.businessballs.com/kolblearningstyles.htm