If you’re not sure what the letters CPD mean, it’s time you got up to speed. For those of us who know we should be keeping on top of our professional development but aren’t quite prioritising the job, the message is simple: in a fast-moving world, standing still is akin to going backwards.
When you first qualify as a professional, whatever your career, in general terms your technical knowledge should be up-to-date. You’re lacking practical experience but over the years you accrue plenty of it, and there might not be many things in your working life that you find beyond your capabilities. But it’s also possible that standards have changed, and you’ve not quite got a grip on them. You might find you lose business because you don’t have formal certification for something you could, through long experience, do with your eyes closed.
These days customers expect proven competence. They expect professionals to offer them the most current products, advice and support, and not only that but also to be on the ball with likely future developments. Organisations like the Guild of Architectural Ironmongers (GAI) and the Institute of Architectural Ironmongers (IAI) offer a wide range of CPD training not to swell their coffers but to uphold and promote the high ethical and professional standards of their members.
Although CPD can take us away from the day job, it’s far more than a tick-box exercise. It’s a way of ensuring that the advice and guidance you provide to your clients is as relevant and up to date as it can possibly be. On a personal note, it’s also a way of safeguarding your career. Your existing employer may be comfortable with your expertise and competence, but maybe they’re unable to secure a contract because you don’t have a certain qualification. If you need to change jobs, how are you going to demonstrate that you have the skill set required?
The right CPD experiences could help you get on in your career. The desire for self-improvement speaks volumes about your commitment, work ethic and attitude. What’s more, undertaking CPD training keeps you involved in a network of fellow professionals, and that’s got to be a good idea.
When a professional organisation states that so many hours of CPD are requirements for membership, they’re acting in your interests. We are now working in a truly global economy that’s largely driven by previously unimaginable technology. Communications are effectively instantaneous, and audiences are unlimited. To continue operating as you were five or ten years ago isn’t standing still. As everyone else advances, you are regressing. Being on top of your CPD prevents this. Learning keeps you moving forwards and often the subjects covered are very interesting.
At Access2, we are working with the IAI and GAI to offer CPD courses, but those three letters – CPD – can be a bit off-putting. They manage to make training sessions sound rigid and formal whereas often they’re relaxed, informative and fun – more like a product seminar or an exchange of ideas than a return to school. It’s become obvious as we’ve talked to several door manufacturers that the know-how we’re passing on would be very useful for them too. We can easily tailor a session, perhaps to fit around lunchtime, and over something like pizza or a pile of sandwiches help them to learn and understand more about locks, lock standards and technology.
CPD, product training, seminars – whatever we call the sessions, the knowledge that gets shared is far more than a nice to have. It’s a tool for building stronger businesses and more competence across a wide range of professions. We’re happy to be playing our part.