Why Continued Professional Development (CPD) Is Essential For Your Engineering Career

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Guidance for Job Seekers

Posted 26.06.14

continued professional development for construction engineers

Construction engineers are vital for society; this may sound like a big claim but engineers collectively really do contribute over and above what the majority of us do (recruitment consultants included). However, to meet current and future challenges engineers must put in place Continued Professional Development (CPD); to ensure that their skills and knowledge is always up to date.

A commitment to Continued Professional Development is a requirement of many professional organisations, including;

  • Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers
  • Institute of Civil Engineers
  • Institute of Highway Engineers
  • Institute of Mechanical Engineers
  • Institute of Structural Engineers

You may be fully qualified but in a fast moving industry it’s essential to keep abreast of new developments, technical advances and regulations if you want to further your career.

What Will You Get From Continued Professional Development?

CPD provides the evidence that you are committed and proactive in your career. It confirms that you have the relevant skills and knowledge to perform your role. It also demonstrates “learning agility”; all key points any potential employer will be looking for. If you want to progress in your career, or even maintain your current level, CPD is essential.

How Can I Get CPD?

There are plenty of accredited CPD courses organised by professional associations and independent providers. Search online or look at your professional association’s website for a directory. However CPD can also be delivered “on the job”, for example training a developing engineer may form part of your CPD, or attending an annual industry event.

Planning CPD

It is important to plan your CPD and identify the areas that you need development in. The current approach to CPD is cyclical, working through the following points and then starting again:

  1. Review: identify your competences and needs, prioritise areas for development.
  2. Planning: consider how your requirements are to be met including activities and resources needed.
  3. Development Activities: put your plan into action.
  4. Accessing / Evaluating Achievement: record the development activities you have participated in, identify what you have learnt, the benefits gained and where possible document any evidence to show you have completed these activities.

Have a look at this document from the Institute of Civil Engineers for a more detailed explanation of how to plan and action your CPD. Other professional bodies will have their own versions of this.

How To Use CPD When Job Hunting

Your Continued Professional Development activities and assessments provide a wealth of supporting evidence for your job application. That’s not to say you should include your latest CPD plan with your CV, but you can certainly use elements of: courses attended, qualifications gained, skills and attributes you have identified as being part of your USB.

CPD can also provide examples and scenarios that you can use in an interview. This can be particularly valuable if you are making a career move to a role you are not experienced in, your CPD can fill the gaps where you lack practical experience.

Used properly CPD can lead to bigger and better things, especially if you can show potential employers that your own CPD will add value to the business.

Do you have any suggestions for keeping on top of CPD? Can you recommend any courses that you feel are particularly beneficial? Leave a comment below or share this post with others in the industry.

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