What are the common pros and cons of implementing CPD?
As an employer or employee, how often have you heard the phrase ‘I don’t have time for CPD’?
I’m sure the answer is quite often.
Throughout many careers and workplaces, it is seen as an essential part of the development within a role, and here at ACA, we are very focused on embedding it throughout the workplace.
It can, however, come with its challenges and can mean a change in mindset for many.
So you may be wondering why to bother. What’s in it for me?
Read on to learn some of the pros and cons of implementing CPD in the workplace.
The pros of CPD
Many industries are fast-paced and ever-changing. Implementing CPD can help support and maintain the skills of employees whilst expanding their knowledge and skillset within their area of expertise.
It’s easy to get lazy or comfortable with the knowledge. Consistently engaging in CPD can combat this.
It is also important that, as employers, we check in with staff on their progress. It is imperative that whatever CPD is being provided to staff is, in turn, beneficial to their professional development and career progression.
Is it supporting their development?
When asked this, Rachael, one of our Part 2 Architectural Assistants, said;
“CPD has been essential in my development towards becoming a registered architect. I have used CPD to continually track and fill the gaps in my knowledge, aiding me in my progress towards becoming a balanced and well-rounded professional.”
Many industries have regular updates in rules and regulations. It’s important that you know this. If you want to be an expert in your field, then you need to keep on top of what’s going on.
The RIBA are passionate about members engaging in CPD. They state that ongoing learning through continued professional development (CPD) exists, so architects remain capable in a changing landscape.
This also leads to being the trusted expert within your industry. Clients and customers will trust you and have confidence in you and your company. Ensure that you have the knowledge to demonstrate your expertise…………..don’t just talk the talk.
Many industries like teaching, healthcare, architecture have professional bodies that employees are required to be members of. These professional bodies will have an expectation of how many hours of CPD their members engage in. It is important that employees follow this guidance, record this and take accountability for this.
And finally, anyone looking to progress within their chosen career should be actively and enthusiastically engaging in a variety of CPDs. Building skills, knowledge and personal development show that you are serious about advancing in your career. Your enthusiasm for this should encourage others to do so.
What are the cons of CPD?
Although very few, there are some perceived cons of CPD in the workplace.
As many professional bodies require a significant number of hours dedicated to CPD, and many can find this unmanageable, however, the long-term benefits of this would out way the cons.
However, the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists would argue that investing time in CPD has its benefits.
“Despite the associations with added work, or classes, CPD should be regarded as a stimulating and necessary experience. Not only does it encourage you to reflect and act on areas which are necessary to remain competent within your area(s) of practise, in some cases, it allows employers to develop and/or provide appropriate training schemes for employees or for you as an employer to identify the needs of your team.”
Cost can be a contributing factor for many. Although there are a variety of CPD activities on offer for free, many courses can be expensive and not covered by the employer.
In many professions, time will be protected for CPD, however, this isn’t the case in all establishments. Your employer needs to believe in the benefits of CPD for their employees and clients.
So what are we doing differently at ACA?
At ACA, we very much believe in the benefits of CPD. We have re-designed our review process to ensure that CPD becomes an integral part of everyone’s working week.
So what are we doing?
Recently, ACA have a full-time Learning & Development Director whose job is to support and facilitate CPD for ALL staff. Staff are given the opportunity to highlight CPD that is specific to their developmental needs.
It’s important that our staff don’t feel like they’ve wasted any valuable time whilst engaging in a CPD session, and our hope is that the approach that we take avoids this. These sessions are arranged bi-weekly, where we invite the best in the industry to share and train, as well as sessions to highlight the changes to industry regulations.
Many Professional Bodies have a requirement around how many hours are committed to CPD over a year. At ACA, we follow the guidelines from RIBA and CIAT that specify 35 hours a year.
In order to support staff to achieve this, we access certified courses from RIBA/CIAT as well as sourcing CPD sessions from outside companies. We often ask staff for areas that they would like further training on, and this influences the companies that we approach.
We also have a wealth of knowledge within our office, and we encourage staff to share their learning with one another through a variety of presentation types. These are also recorded so that they can be shared amongst staff and saved for future reference.
Many companies also cater lunch for the team……… which is always a tasty perk!
We have implemented a new CPD program that supports staff in their personally selected CPD targets. This program has been broken down into clear stages that include reviews, check-ins and setting achievable CPD targets. The targets ensure that manager and employees have a clear vision of the goal that they are working towards, and this allows management to provide specific support when required.
Some of our staff have expressed an interest in Chartership and are currently working towards this. Supported by the senior team members, ACA have also funded this.
Quarterly reviews put the employees at the centre. Our aim is to facilitate and support learning whilst ensuring that our employees have a say and are interested in what they choose to focus on. A new approach for ACA, and one that we are already seeing the benefits of.
We pride ourselves on being a practice that had and is supporting many Part 1 and 2 architectural graduates through their qualifications. We have senior members of staff with a wealth of knowledge who act as mentors, and recently they have created their own peer support group. A chance for each of them to share knowledge and, at times, worries whilst supporting each other.
When asked about the benefits of CPD in the workplace, one of our Part 1 Architectural Assistants said;
“At such an early stage in my career, CPD is invaluable in building my knowledge base as well as the skills I need to progress, ultimately allowing me to become an architect that can work with our clients and enable the success of their projects.”
Actively engaging in CPD is an integral part of our employees’ development, and we are here to support them throughout that journey. The investment in time dedicated to CPD impacts the growth of knowledge, skills and confidence.
How important is it for you to work for a firm that promotes and prioritises CPD?