Take charge of your professional development with ‘My CPD’
12 December 2016
As of January 1, 2017, the Engineers Ireland Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Policy will come into effect. This new policy will require members of Engineers Ireland to undertake 35 hours of CPD per annum and to record those CPD activities online using ‘My CPD’, an online tool designed to allow members to record and track their CPD activities.
By agreeing to abide by the Engineers Ireland Code of Ethics all members make a fundamental commitment to ongoing self-improvement, in particular, they agree to strive to maintain and develop their professional knowledge, skills and expertise throughout their careers.
The introduction of the policy will allow both members and Engineers Ireland to demonstrate to employers, clients and the public the continuing upskilling, enhancement of competences and pursuit of excellence by Irish engineers and technicians.
CPD helps individuals to regularly focus on how they can become a more competent and effective professional. Training and learning increases confidence and overall capability, and compliments career aspirations.
Reflecting on his CPD journey to date, Alan McHugh, business unit manager at Kirby Engineering and Construction, highlighted the importance of CPD in the progression of his professional engineering career.
“In almost 15 years since I graduated as an engineer I have been working in the power and utilities sector. The industry is almost unrecognisable compared to the one I joined all those years ago. Innovation in technology, evolution of social behaviour and advances in human endeavour have given the engineer a central role in modern society. The scientific principles that govern the design of systems, goods and services have not changed.
“The difference is in the competencies required to make them useful in an everyday sense. As I set out on my career I could not have anticipated the many environments and challenges I would face. To work on some of Ireland’s technological firsts, consulting and communicating with the public and leading large teams of people, CPD was key. Whether I was setting smaller project based objectives or larger, more career defining goals, managing my CPD helped me reach my targets.”
Also commenting on her CPD journey, Colette O’Shea, learning and development manager at J.B. Barry and Partners regards continued learning and self-development as a key aspect of being a successful engineering professional.
“CPD has been, and will always be, a vital part of my career progression. I have used it to develop fundamental skills such a report writing, technical ability, contract awareness, amongst many others. Furthermore, having a defined and executed CPD strategy has given me the confidence to face the challenges that inevitably occur throughout a career.
“For me, continual self-improvement is vital to being a successful engineering professional. I love learning from people I encounter through my work and I strive to continually raise the bar for myself and for those around me. Engineering is a dynamic world full of endless opportunities, sitting still and not engaging in CPD is not an option for me. I want to be the driver of the ever changing landscape of my career. To go where I want to go and not just be a passenger along for the ride,” she said.
What counts as CPD?
Engaging in CPD activities ensures that both academic and practical qualifications do not become out-dated or obsolete; allowing individuals to continually ‘up skill’ or ‘re-skill’ themselves, regardless of occupation, age or educational level. Engineers Ireland divides CPD activities into six broad types:
- work-based learning;
- professional bodies activities;
- self-directed learning;
- mentoring and coaching;
- courses, seminars and conferences; and,
- further education.
There are many activities that count as CPD and not all learning takes place with a group or facilitator. Structured, self-directed learning, where you take time to learn in a planned and organised manner, also counts as CPD. This includes structured reading of journals or reports, or online viewing of presentations or tutorials. For this ‘self-directed learning’, Engineers Ireland recommends a maximum of 14 hours of the 35-hour requirement.
Engineers Ireland selected the 35-hour CPD Policy requirement to correspond with its CPD Accredited Employer standard specifications. The 35-hour minimum for this standard was determined from research into CPD activities across a wide range of leading engineering-led organisations in a cross-section of industries.
The new policy applies to all non-student members – with some exemptions and pro-rata requirements. These apply to: retired members; those on maternity, paternal or sabbatical leave; or members who have had periods of unemployment. There is also a simple, two-step process which facilitates dispensation for members working for CPD Accredited Employers.
In order for personal and professional development to be useful, it needs to be identified and consolidated. The easiest way to identify and consolidate this information is to keep a personal professional development activity record.
Keeping a record of personal professional development activity demonstrates a willingness to take control of your development. It shows employers that you are committed to learning and see this as a long term benefit.
This is where ‘My CPD’, an online recording tool to accompany the new policy, is of major benefit to members. This central repository will be located on the Engineers Ireland website to facilitate storage of all your CPD records. “It’s quick, simple and easy to use and you can access, download or print out your records at any time. Recording CPD only takes minutes, so it’s not an onerous task at all,” said Aidan O’Flaherty, CPD team leader, commenting on the functionality of My CPD.
Highlighting the importance of recording CPD hours, Michael Bruton, senior project manager at Jacobs said that CPD is an important part of every engineer’s growth.
“Without CPD an engineer remains static and rooted in the moment they finished college. As the saying goes, “Tús maith leath na hoibre”, (a good start is half the work) and so it is for every engineer. Every task an engineer undertakes following this moment helps shape who they are and what they are ultimately capable of achieving. CPD is wide ranging and can help solidify expertise or enable diversification.
“Recording of CPD is both smart and necessary in the current work environment. It demonstrates an interest in learning and a desire to be a better professional as well as keeping abreast of ever changing code requirements. CPD helps with formulating development plans and supporting career growth,” Bruton added.
Alan McHugh re-iterated the importance and the benefit of recording CPD hours. “Engineers work in dynamic environments where adaptability to change is paramount. We must constantly calibrate our professional expertise against the work that we undertake. Every completed project, finished design or problem solved is as much a learning event as a completed task. The lessons we learn are the foundations on which we complete the next job. By recording our CPD we may demonstrate to ourselves, our clients and members of the public the full extent of our knowledge and skills,” he said.
Colette O’Shea concluded by explaining how the recording of CPD helps her control the way in which she wants her career progress.
“When I was striving to be a chartered engineer, I recorded my CPD because I had to. However, since then I realised the wider benefit to recording my CPD. I use my CPD record as a touchstone to track my career progression. To assess how I’m developing and to help me direct my career in the direction I want it to go.
“We all have aspects of our jobs that we don’t like and try to ignore. By using my CPD records as evidence of how I’ve grown and developed as an engineering professional I force myself to confront these challenges and make conscious decisions about them. By doing so, I grow as a stronger and more rounded professional. After all, self-awareness is a key component of continual professional (and personal) development and my CPD records hold me to account,” she said.
Looking forward to 2017
Engineers Ireland hopes that the new CPD policy and the ‘My CPD’ tool will strengthen engineers’ reputation for professionalism and excellence, and provide individual members with a valuable resource available to them throughout their career. All non- student members, no matter what job role they hold or industry they are working in, will be unified by meeting the annual CPD standard.
A number of online resources will be available online in January to assist with recording of hours on My CPD.
Engineers Ireland has created a ‘What counts as CPD?’ poster as a quick reminder of the different activities you can count as CPD. If you have any queries about the new Engineers Ireland CPD policy, please email firstname.lastname@example.org://www.engineersjournal.ie/2016/12/12/take-charge-of-your-professional-development/http://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/CPD-Certificate-in-Professional-Engineering-1024x683.jpghttp://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/CPD-Certificate-in-Professional-Engineering-300x300.jpgNewsCPD,education,Engineers Ireland,Jacobs,JB Barry and Partners,Kirby Group,training