In light of the upcoming new Engineering Council requirements on CPD, Prof. John Chudley PhD CEng FIMarEST, who sits on the IMarEST Board of Trustees, discusses the importance of CPD in the engineering, science and technology professions as well as specifically looking at what the new requirements mean for engineers.
Why is Continuing Professional Development (CPD) so important? CPD is about staying up to date and competent in your field. Given the potential dangers of not staying up to date with the latest technologies, procedures and processes, being current in your job is crucial to your competence and helps fulfil your commitment to public safety. This competence will also lend you a competitive edge and mean that your employers, colleagues and the public will have greater confidence in you, affording you greater opportunities to progress your career. Keeping a CPD record with reflections on what you have learnt also demonstrates to your employers that you are committed to your profession which will also speed your progression.
All members of professional engineering, science or technology institutions have an obligation to undertake CPD, and to support the learning of others. This obligation underpins the value of Technician, Incorporated/Registered or Chartered statuses, as well as serving society and enabling it to have confidence in the engineering, science and technology professions.
What is CPD? What types of activities constitute CPD?
“CPD activity can take many different forms. It could be informal learning through working life and interaction with other people, or structured activities such as courses, distance learning programmes, private study, preparation of papers and presentations, mentoring, involvement in professional body activities, reading, watching IMarEST TV or volunteering. But really, any activity that you have found valuable in maintaining and enhancing your competence can be considered as contributing to your CPD.”
Is CPD mandatory?
“Yes, anyone with a professional qualification (Technician, Incorporated/Registered or Chartered status) has made a commitment to engage in CPD and, as a member of a professional institute, this is also stated in your Code of Conduct.”
Does this apply to retired people too?
“Maintenance of CPD is required for each member throughout their professional career but there is no requirement to engage in CPD once you are no longer professionally active within the industry.”
How much CPD should I be doing?
“CPD requirements from both the Engineering Council and Science Council will vary according to your discipline and what stage of your career you are in. We do not specify a minimum amount of time to be spent on CPD each year. Instead, we focus on what you have learnt from your CPD activity and how it specifically enhances your competence in your particular role. The most important part is the reflective analysis following the activity, where you explore what you have learnt or achieved and how it contributes to your learning plan (something you will have developed either independently or with your employer). This learning plan should be reviewed regularly following reflection and assessment of future needs.”
What are the new Engineering Council requirements?
“The new requirements are similar to those that already exist for the Science Council. You have always been required to engage in CPD. What is not currently mandatory for engineers is recording your CPD for the purposes of sample monitoring, where CPD samples are randomly requested and reviewed. This is about to change. Recording CPD will be mandatory for registered engineers and technicians from 1 Jan 2019.”
How will the new Engineering Council rules be enforced?
“Engineering institutions will be expected to remove from the Register those who persistently do not respond to requests for a CPD sample from 1 Jan 2020. Note that this sanction is for those who will not engage with sampling rather than anyone who submits something inadequate. The response in that case would be support and guidance, rather than sanction.”
How can CPD be recorded?
“It is good practice to plan, record and review your CPD activities on a regular basis. Different professional institutions offer different ways to record CPD – you will either have CPD forms to fill out or you will be able to log in to a digital recording system which will track your progress. The IMarEST provides a digital CPD recording tool at present but I am pleased to confirm that the Institute will soon be launching a new professional development platform which is set to transform the way it meets the learning and development needs of its members.”
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