How to approach your CPD

get the most out of your development through regular planning, recording and reflection.

All active registered members are required to record their CPD but how you record it is up to you.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is personal – it is about your ambitions and development and will, therefore, be unique to you, depending on your role, career stage and your goals. IMechE's approach to CPD is focused on learning outcomes achieved through activities and experience, rather than the amount of time spent on an activity.

For this reason, IMechE does not currently support a traditional input-based system of recording CPD, therefore there is no need to record hours or points, nor retain an folder of attendance certificates.

What is more valuable is how reflecting on your learning and development can guide your CPD to help you meet your personal and professional goals. 

Whichever method you choose to record your CPD we recommend that you do so regularly and, where appropriate, apply a structured approach to get the most out of what you are working to achieve. The cycle below is one such way of approaching your CPD. 

CPD Audit stages

If you find recording your professional development difficult, rest assured that you are not alone, and even members well practiced in recording CPD complain of the difficulty in assessing and reflecting on ones learning.

Making the most of your CPD

A top tip from the CPD Assessment Committee is to treat your learning and development as you would a project. Break down your goals into smaller steps in order to set realistic targets; identify milestones towards achieving these targets, and, like any other project, set yourself deadlines. With periodic reviews you can of course adjust as required, and with this approach increase the chances of successfully meeting your ambitions in a desirable timeframe.

A recent review of the feedback provided to members who submitted their CPD records in recent years has found the most common feedback given to members includes:

  • Make sure to reflect on all your CPD (more on this below)
  • You are probably doing more that counts as CPD than you realise; what else can you record?
  • Don’t forget to consider what you have learnt from your day job when recording your CPD. On the job learning is perfectly acceptable CPD and should not be overlooked as learning models indicate this is where most development occurs
  • CPD comes from various sources; it doesn’t just have to be work-related
  • Try to align your CPD with your interests to make it more beneficial and rewarding
  • Refresh your CPD goals annually; make sure to check progress towards medium and long term goals
  • Make sure to include balance of technical and non-technical CPD
  • Mentoring is very good and rewarding CPD

The CPD Assessment Committee encourages members to consider the above points when recording their CPD to ensure they are making the most out of the process.

Reflective practice

Ideally personal development should be about regularly looking back at what you have done and thinking critically, as well as then looking forward and planning positively towards ongoing and future goals. We call this reflective practice or reflective learning.

CPD should not just be about recording activities but rather engaging with what you have done and maximising your personal development. At its core, reflection can be achieved by asking yourself for an activity or goal: What can I do now that I could not do before?

The answer to this question, positive or negative, will form a strong basis for reflective learning, and usually provide prompts on where to focus future efforts on learning. Recording your reflection is itself considered a CPD activity.

Further information

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CPD Tools

    Part of the Career Developer suite, this is a tool for professionally registered members (EngTech, IEng or CEng) to record their experience and professional activity, providing a strong framework for career progression and professional development.

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