The critical role of CPD for progression and standards

Kirri Porter-White, CABE Head of Competency and Learning, emphasises the critical role of CPD for progression and standards.

CABE understands how important continuing professional development (CPD) is. Being a professional (in whatever industry you work in) means embracing the chance to learn while improving and encouraging the development of others. This is especially important in the construction industry.

Technology and practice within the sector are constantly changing, so sustaining your professional competence is fundamental to your role.

This will soon be supported by legislation in England and Wales, where building inspector registration and dutyholding regulations all require building engineers to demonstrate how they manage and maintain competence.

CABE considers the maintenance of skills, experience and knowledge as a priority; consequently, members are asked to plan and record their CPD.

That said, doing your CPD hours needn’t be an onerous task – it can involve a range of stimulating activities.

What counts as CPD:

  • attendance at CPD-accredited training or events – such as workshops or webinars
  • studying for new academic qualifications – ranging from certificates to degrees or through vocational training such as NVQs or modern apprenticeships
  • reading technical journals – Building Engineer (included in your subscription as a member of CABE) or other professional or trade journals
  • internal company training – software, systems or approved document updates
  • participation in committees – committee and board meetings
  • self-directed learning – reading, research or listening to podcasts
  • attending or delivering a technical meeting – using any research for technical briefs where new knowledge has been gained and shared; and
  • researching, preparing and delivering technical presentations, articles or guidance notes.

When completing any of the above, you must ensure that all CPD activities have evident and relevant learning outcomes.

Importance of learning outcomes

Any activities undertaken must have a goal that aids in developing skills and knowledge – and it is key that these learning outcomes are noted within your personal record. A learning outcome describes what you have learned and how this will help to maintain or improve your practice as a building engineer.

For both structured (formal) and self-directed (informal) CPD activities, you must ensure your learning objectives have clear relevance to what you are doing.Here are some reasons why learning objectives are important in relation to CPD:

  • focus and direction: these will provide a clear path towards learning objectives. This kind of planning will confirm that your CPD activities align with your professional goals, as well as help to identify specific skills, knowledge or competencies needed to be acquired or enhanced
  • motivation and engagement: having learning objectives creates a sense of purpose and motivation. When you have a clear grasp of what you are trying to achieve, you are more engaged in the CPD process. Well-defined objectives will help fuel enthusiasm to learn, grow and excel; and
  • assessment and evaluation: learning objectives also serve as benchmarks for assessing progress and the effectiveness of CPD activities. Achievements can be measured against the intended outcomes; this allows you to gauge development and identify any areas that require further improvement.

A balanced way of learning is the best way to ensure you are getting the most out of your time.

Personal development plans

Personal development plans (PDPs) are instrumental in advancing self-improvement and achieving individual goals. A PDP is a projected plan of self-reflection and intended improvement, which doubles up as a detailed action plan used to fulfil your career-based goals.

Your PDP will outline your areas for improvement or required development. Your PDP and your learning objectives must correlate to ensure you are getting the most out of your CPD.

Some of the key reasons why a good PDP holds significance include:

  • skill enhancement, setting goals and clarity: a well-structured PDP helps you identify the skills and knowledge you need to acquire or improve upon. It serves as a blueprint for acquiring new competencies and refining existing ones, enabling personal and professional growth. Setting goals helps you to stay motivated and focused on your objectives, driving you and your development forwards. PDPs also provide clarity about your aspirations, strengths and areas for improvement; and
  • self-confidence: as you progress along the personal development journey, your confidence in your ability to take charge of your working life increases. PDPs promote your self-belief and give you a helping hand to step outside of your comfort zones to think in a different way.

CABE CPD auditing and review

The significance of effective CPD cannot be overstated. As the built environment sector evolves, completing your 35 hours a year becomes vital for professional standing and security.

Identifying how to improve your own competence is a professional necessity and the benefits are clear – effective CPD has direct, career-enhancing results if it is approached as a tool for professional growth and not just a tick-box exercise.

Ensuring that its membership approaches CPD in the right way enables CABE to retain public trust in the services its members provide.

To support this, CABE undertakes checks that CPD records have been submitted and assesses the quality of a sample of submissions on an annual basis.

It also enables CABE to function as a voice in the sector. It represents the interests and excellence of its membership and keeps competence at the fore of decisions made for and by its members.


New CPD Year

Having heard the feedback from members, CABE is pleased to announce that it will be changing the CPD year to fit with the calendar year. From January 2024, the new CPD year will run from January to December. The 22/23 audit year will conclude in December 2023, so any activities taken between September 2022 and December 2023 need to be logged as CPD 22/23. All Chartered Members should have their 35 hours uploaded by 31 December 2023.


Image credit | iStock

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