Earlier this year the Institution contacted almost 29,000 registered Members and Fellows, asking you to complete a survey about CPD. We wanted to improve our shared understanding of the range of activities you undertake, how you record your CPD and how you feel about its benefits
We also wanted to know about areas of concern to members, both in provision and in recording. We were delighted to receive 1,600 responses, including 427 (27%) from internationally-based members working in a variety of sectors. To round up the exercise, we compiled a short myth-busting quiz on CPD, which you can try.
Key survey findings include:
- CPD encompasses a great range of informal and formal activities, from developing your technical skills to mentoring, attending conferences or management courses and volunteering.
- ‘On the job’ learning is as much part of CPD as attending seminars: always record it.
- Regularly applying reflective practice can enhance the benefits of your CPD.
- The Institution can do more to explain what constitutes CPD, how and what to record, and provide examples of good practice.
Over half the survey responses (55.8%) came from engineers in positions of seniority; although only 2.4% of respondents were engineering technicians and graduate engineers. Those who are no longer professionally active made up 1.7% of respondents.
You told us about the types of CPD that you have undertaken in the last 12 months. The most common is ‘on the job’ training, experienced by 68.7% respondents; followed by mentoring or coaching, 64.5%. You also keep up with engineering news in industry publications (63%); while 12% of respondents have contributed to publications and journals in the last year. Around a third are involved in research and development and a quarter volunteer their time in regional activities, committees or other community activities. Thirteen per cent tell us that they contribute to the provision of STEM activities.
Fifty-six per cent of respondents have undertaken in-house training in the last 12 months and 43% used online or webinar training methods. Over half (55%) attended seminars or conferences in the last year and 19% participated in a leading/delivering capacity at such events.
Although over two thirds of respondents say they experience ‘on the job’ training, there remains a perception that such development doesn’t count as CPD. While it may not be formally delivered (for example, there may not be any fee involved), any learning that you can interpret as developing your professional engineering knowledge does count as CPD, and can be recorded on Career Developer.
Perhaps seen by some as time-consuming and hard to fathom, ‘reflective practice' can help provide great value to the individual for goal-setting. While reflective practice may not suit every CPD activity you undertake, taking the time to reflect on your learning and considering how it can shape your future development becomes easier and more beneficial the more you take the opportunity to apply it.
Most of us would agree that we never stop learning. Your log of development should include any activity that helps you maintain or increase your skills and competence, from leading a meeting to presenting to a client or engaging with school students. It will be self-led and personal to the individual and it may – or may not – be engineering related: volunteering on a school committee, for example, is valid CPD, as it could extend your soft skills, such as communication and teamwork.
Through conducting the survey it has been recognised that we, as an Institution, can do better to raise awareness about our CPD provision and create more guidance on how and what to record. Look out for more information to support your CPD and your use of Career Developer in the coming months.