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Why is CPD so important, and how can you stay on top of yours?

05 Oct 2020
Posted by: Jonathan Wadsworth
Your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a points system designed to keep you on track with your professional development and ensure that learning becomes a proactive part of your job. CPD makes sure that your qualifications don’t become redundant, even offering the chance to upskill or reskill depending on what stage of your career you’re at. Though Social Work England only audits 2.5% of all CPD records after annual renewals, it’s important to regularly update yours. While CPD is necessary for any employee working in a regulated industry, many find that once they start tracking it they benefit in ways they hadn’t imagined. Here’s why CPD is so important and some practical tips for staying on top of yours.

Block out 15 minutes each week

For those working in social work, care and nursing, investing in your CPD has many positive outcomes. Two of the greatest are that you can focus on self-improvement and know you’re doing everything you can to provide a good service to individuals and communities. The process creates a space for you to think about your practice – to reflect on what you did, what went well and what might have worked better. CPD might sound like a time-consuming task, but if you block out a small amount of time each week you’ll stay on top of it and save yourself the unnecessary worry when it’s time to submit. 

Take advantage of technology

Maybe you’re traditional and like to record everything on paper but there are several mobile apps on the market – like CPDme - that will save you time. This app will build your portfolio and give you the option to send it for audit or evaluation. Submitting your hours and activity digitally can make it easier to find time on your commute or on your break.

If you’re a social worker and a mobile app isn’t for you, you can access free online sessions that will take you through the process of recording CPD.

Record everything that’s relevant

Technology will also help you jot down these learning experiences as and when they happen but it means you’ve got to be on the ball. CPD should be a record of every activity that has facilitated learning – not only active tasks but also knowledge from reading articles and watching webinars. Though you’re only required to record one piece of CPD during the registration year, writing down as much information as possible will help you show how the learning has influenced your practice.

Learning should never be a case of absorbing facts in a one-dimensional way. Working in a social care setting means interacting with vulnerable people; it’s an example of a multi-dimensional job and so the process of acquiring knowledge can take place in a range of different ways.

Familiarise yourself with the CPD standards

CPD is not designed to be a tick-box activity but rather to help professionals progress in their career and take control of their development. For health and care professionals, Social Work England has put together the CPD standard to give advice on what is required of Social Workers and their CPD. Regularly check-in with the standards to make sure that you’re tracking your CPD correctly and this will save you from having to resubmit. This includes advice such as showing evidence that is relevant to both your current and future role.

Share your experiences with your colleagues

Speak to your colleagues about the successes and challenges that you’ve had to overcome. Knowledge sharing facilitates learning and can help you identify CPD activities that you’re not doing and hear useful recommendations. Suggest to your colleagues or manager that you have an informal meeting every few months.

Structured vs unstructured

There are two ways to record your CPD. With a structured form, the questions are all in front of you along with guidance about how you can give the best answer. Alternatively, an unstructured form is more flexible, allowing you to choose areas of the CPD standard and then follow with your evidence of how you’ve met this standard. Before choosing which form to go with, it’s best to take a look at the two types of CPD forms and decide which will help you make a better case for your learning.

Find out how Charles Hunter can help you

Whether it’s advice on submitting your CPD or job hunting we can help. Charles Hunter is a recruitment agency who specialise in placing social workers, carers and nurses in roles around the UK. When you sign up with us, you’ll be assigned a dedicated consultant who will guide you through every stage of the hiring process and help you find a job where you can make a positive impact. Contact us to speak to a member of the team or register your details to receive personalised job alerts.
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