Friday, 5 September 2014

The CPD Merry-go-round: Why individuals struggle to stay on for the ride

Ever groaned at the thought of undertaking more CPD, to add to another yearly record?

You are not alone: The CPD Research Project found that thousands of professionals in the UK have a great deal of apathy, and negativity, towards their CPD. Many struggle to keep motivated and focused on its true purpose - upholding best practice and ensuring professional qualifications don't become obsolete.

Often such apathy stems from heavy top down requirements from professional bodies and regulators, for number of hours, points, topics, or skills to be covered, coupled with a lack of support or guidance. Yet, paradoxically, CPD Schemes are purposefully designed to be flexible in terms of topic, and are rarely prescriptive in advising what, where, and how an individual professional should undertake their CPD.

Such confusion about what, and how, CPD can be undertaken often spirals and as a result individuals rarely perceive their CPD as a personal achievement and significant addition to their work portfolio.

In particular - individuals lose sight that CPD is actually for them.

Recent CPD should be displayed on your LinkedIn profile, discussed in interviews and job reviews, and included on your CV. Our CPD research shows that clearly demonstrating CPD to employers dramatically improves career prospects, which in real terms, means higher salaries and remuneration.

So what created this generalised apathy in the first place?

A quick look on the internet shows an expansive number of training providers, courses, online activities, events, lunch time and breakfast briefs, and seminars. Many of which have not been verified as 'true CPD'.

For many, the choice is endless, and identifying high calibre or relevant CPD activities becomes a 'hit and miss' activity.

More worryingly, the CPD Research Project found that an alarming number of providers whose training activities are ‘branded’ as CPD happen to be in the lower quartile - in terms of quality.

It therefore comes as no surprise that a central cause of CPD’s bad reputation stems from individual professionals receiving negative, sometimes terrible, CPD experiences. The results of a CPD environment that is populated with low quality training, negative CPD experiences and apathy from all involved, has significant consequences, with many professionals reduced feeling that they are on an endless, and sometimes pointless, merry-go-round.

Find out more at, and when you are sourcing CPD activities, keep an eye out for the CPD Standards accredited providers mark.

Holly Steiner is the Client Relationship Executive at the The CPD Standards Office, a Part of the Professional Development Consortium.

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