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Mandatory CPD is coming – it could help your career blossom

Donovan Wengenroth

(Credit: Shutterstock)
(Credit: Shutterstock)

From January 2019, all active registered IMechE members will be required to keep records of their continuing professional development. Here, the Institution’s membership services manager Donovan Wengenroth – who helps spread awareness of CPD – explains what the change means for you, and how CPD can help your career blossom.

Who has to record CPD?

Anyone who is an active and professionally registered engineer or technician. Even if you’re retired, if you use your engineering knowledge in a way that affects other people you need to demonstrate how you’re keeping up with the latest developments to maintain your knowledge. 

For those still working, CPD, if done properly, should lead to personal success and career progression. It’s an incredibly powerful method to focus on your development and achieve your goals. I’ve met many of our members who really are making CPD work for them. 

What counts towards it?

So much of what we do every day counts. It should be specific to your development needs, and it should have some structure, such as reflective learning. CPD doesn’t have to be formal training, while of course that counts too. It can be anything that extends your knowledge and skills. Think of ‘on the job’ learning, projects, managing your team, research, mentoring, presenting at a conference, and journal reading as a few examples. 

We don’t have an hours or points-based system. How much CPD you do will depend on what you need to maintain your competence – if you’ve just achieved CEng and you’re at the start of your career, you’re going to have clear goals and plenty of development opportunities. Your CPD needs will be different from those of someone with 30 years’ experience who is in a senior position and focused on honing their business and leadership skills, or from someone who is a leading technical expert.  

If you’re retired and perhaps volunteering, reading Professional Engineering or other technical journals might be enough, but if you’re working on designing safety systems for a passenger aircraft you should definitely be doing more to maintain your competence. 

And you demonstrate this by regularly recording your professional development, be it technical or non-technical. Keeping the five areas of UK-SPEC in mind is a useful way of approaching CPD.

How can I record it?

It is up to you how you keep track of your CPD. Many members use our online Career Developer CPD Tool. It allows you to map your goals, list activities and upload most types of files.  

But you don’t have to use our tool – you can keep track of your CPD in a spreadsheet or Word document, whatever works for you – the important thing is that you must record it in some way. 

How is it checked?

Each year, the Institution audits a randomly selected, representative sample of registered engineers to find out how they do their CPD. This is also an opportunity to get feedback on your CPD records from trained volunteer assessors. If you’re no longer professionally active or if your CPD is well covered by company appraisals, this is when you can let us know.  

What happens if I don’t do it?

From 2020, if you’re selected for audit and fail to engage or don’t provide us with any records, you could face the ultimate sanction of losing your IMechE membership
and registration. 

Of course we will remind you and work with you to submit your records before that point as we do not want this for any of our members, and we encourage you to make CPD part of your day-to-day work and planning for the future – a habit. The more you invest in yourself, the greater the reward – it’s about maintaining and extending your knowledge and skills.

Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

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