Doing CPD

CPD isn't a fixed process, although we do suggest certain basic processes. Fundamentally, it's a question of setting yourself objectives for development and then charting your progress towards achieving them. It's about where you want to be, and how you plan to get there. The approach is based on reflection that focuses on outcomes and results, rather than 'time spent' or 'things done'.

Professional development may be achieved in any of the following ways, depending on your circumstances, learning style and the opportunities open to you:

  • At home – private study, such as distance learning; special projects or structured study, which may involve reading, watching television, and surfing the Internet and/or listening to radio  programmes and audio tapes; writing papers for presentation or  publication.
  • At work - where simple day to day activities, relevant knowledge and skills are acquired by on the job learning and/or company provision.
  • At events - such as presentations, lectures, seminars, conferences and also formal courses of study, whether or not they lead to an examination.

To find out about IHEEM courses and seminars click here.

The demands of your job and the extent of your personal ambition will determine how much CPD you should do.

If you are to maintain sufficiently high standards of professional competence to keep yourself employable you will need to undertake a significant amount of CPD.   However, when you consider all the activities, particularly at work and in the form of private study, that add to your knowledge, skills and experience, you will realise that quite substantial amounts are achievable. Therefore there is less concern about how much time you spend on training courses or how many boxes you tick on a form. CPD is about capturing useful experiences and assessing the practical benefits of what you have learned.  There is one decisive question that you should ask yourself to evaluate every piece of learning: what can you do now that you couldn’t do before? Similarly, when you record your CPD, it’s the value of the activity that counts; It’s not what you did, but how you can use what you learned.

Always remember that quality is much more important than quantity. The most important aspect of CPD is the amount of knowledge and skill that you acquire, i.e. the learning outcome, rather than the number of hours study, which you undertake, i.e. the input


Every individuals CPD plan will be different.

A good place to start is by checking your job description.   Are there any areas where you might benefit from extra skills or wider knowledge?

Remember, it’s not just about job or role specific skills, but broader issues such as communication or IT.   It’s also worth noting that this isn’t simply a matter of attending courses – it can involve any learning activity that helps you do your job better.

Once you have thought about your CPD goals, it’s worth prioritising them into a list; this will be your plan.   

You should take into account:

  • Career intentions, short and long term
  • Levels of experience, skills and knowledge
  • Learning opportunities available
  • Your employer’s business objectives
  • Relevant personal interests
  • Guidelines and requirements of IHEEM
  • Your resources, including the time and money you have available

Your action plan should be carried out, where possible, in conjunction with your employer and with the support of IHEEM.

Finally, remember that CPD is something that should work for you, on your terms.   So think about suits you, whether it is self-contained courses or on-the-job training.   Whatever your preferences, there’s a way to make it work.

If you are working towards registration as an engineer, your plan should take into account the specific competencies you need to demonstrate to achieve this goal. These competencies are included within the mycareerpath CPD recording system.

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