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A holistic approach to CPD: Keith Miller

Keith Miller, CEng

Keith Miller CEng
Keith Miller CEng

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) does not need to be difficult, as long as we know what we are looking for.

Having a strong approach to our CPD does not mean attending lots of structured courses; what is more valuable is simply keeping our eyes open for what we learn naturally day-to-day.

Many engineers still believe CPD solely refers to formal training; research has shown, however, that the majority of what we learn comes about through solving real-life challenges in our regular course of life. Another catalyst for our development occurs naturally by observing our peers, watching how they excel in areas we wish to improve.

Keith Miller CEng participated in the Institution’s 2020 CPD Audit and was commended for his holistic approach to his development:

“I put everything that I think is unique, different or interesting into my CPD,” Keith tells us. “I then look for the learning from it, through the reflection process. I’m lucky enough to get involved in lots of different development projects, exploratory meetings and interesting activities throughout the year that I don’t find it difficult to add to my CPD [diary].”

Keith’s record is full of regular activities which arise as part of his role as a Rehabilitation Engineer, developing bespoke medical devices to aid mobility in severely disabled patients. He reflects on more than 20 years working in a specialist NHS department as part of a small multidisciplinary team:

“I’m very fortunate to work in a department that is constantly looking for new development opportunities, which naturally ensures I have lots of potential CPD activities to choose from.”

Think back over the last year to some of the key lessons you learned: how many of those instinctive memories were lessons in the course of navigating real life challenges? 2020 posed unexpected trials for everyone, which in turn forced many of us to learn an awful lot, awfully quickly. How have your technical capabilities progressed i.e Zoom, Teams, etc.? If you manage a team, how have you found doing so remotely? Recording the answers to questions such as these, and reflecting on your learning, is at the core of any strong approach to CPD.

If you are new to recording your development, it can be daunting knowing how to get started.

“Don’t be fearful of it!” Keith advises; “Just keep some simple notes of interesting/unique events that happen whilst you work. Then periodically write them up as part of a more regular reflective practice process (i.e. what did you do & what did you learn?). Once you get into a habit of doing this, I’m sure you will find it fairly easy to compile a comprehensive and useful CPD record.”

Happy for the opportunity to help other members who may be struggling to tackle their CPD, Keith was kind enough to volunteer a sample from his 2019 CPD Diary (submitted for the 2020 CPD Audit) as a Case-Study example. You can access the Case-Study via the link below, as well as the complete interview in which Keith shares experience and advice on how to get the most out of your CPD.

Further reading

Please note: this case study is meant to provide inspiration and guidance, and not as demonstration of the Institution’s expectations of all members. You are still encouraged to adopt the recording style that best suits you, and appropriate volume of activity to your current role, career progression, long term goals, etc. The example provided is intended to demonstrate an effective approach to recording CPD, but not the mandated approach.


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