If you are a parent, you may have silently cheered recently when the children went back to school after the summer break. They started a new year and enhance their learning and skills. Which got me to thinking about my learning and development. What, how, when and why do I need to do it? Time to look at my continuous professional development.
What is continuous professional development?
Continuous Professional Development, or CPD, is the ‘learning’ we do to maintain, update and grow the knowledge and skills required for our professional role or job. In some professions, it is essential for maintaining your professional registration, e.g. nursing. But for many, it is the objective to help you manage your own learning and growth throughout your career or business. It is essential to keep learning, to keep your skills and knowledge up to date. CPD is not just about setting personal objectives and ticking them off when done, it is about reflecting and applying it into our working roles.
Ways to do CPD
Before we can identify how we are going to do things, we need to know what we need to learn, and why. We need to do a skills audit or personal development plan.
We need to:
- identify what the learning needs are? What do we need to upskill? What are the gaps in our learning?
- reflect on our experiences
- find new ideas and ways to do things
- find learning to meet the needs
- assess and evaluate learning.
Are the needs
- To do to keep refreshed and up-to date?
- Specialist subjects/skills that you need to maintain?
- Is it a professional requirement?
- Is it a personal aspiration? E.g. career development.
- Reading a book
- Online courses
- Workshops / ‘classroom’
What are the benefits of CPD to you and your business?
Benefits for the individual
- Increased confidence and self-esteem
- Improved professional status
- Development of transferable skills
- Job satisfaction
- Up-to-date advice and information
- Better meets the needs of the clients
- New approaches and methods
- More efficient service
Benefits to your business
- Enhanced reputation
- Seen as credible and reliable
- Become a trusted business
- More influence with key stakeholders
- More business due to recommendations.
What is MJM Virtual Solutions attitude to CPD?
The last 18 months have been a steep learning curve for me as a virtual assistant. From finding out what a virtual assistant was through to all the software and apps that I need to use.
I love to learn and I am constantly looking for what to do next. Each September I review what I know, what I have done in the last 12 months, what I need to do and what I would like to do. That may sound a lot, but I do my skills audit and I prioritise what I need to learn, what I want to learn. I then divide it into courses, reading and self-teaching.
My learning for the year to come includes:
- And complete the VACT Mastery Course
- Complete a certified proofreading course
- The North-West VA conference in June
- An online Microsoft course to enhance my skills of using Word, Excel and Outlook