Back in August last year I decided to stand for the CIPR Council elections and through that process I realised that in all the time I had been a member, I had never been questioned about what I do for my Continuing Professional Development (CPD), something I now believe every member should have to commit to.
The topic of ‘Professionalism’ was highlighted by Stephen Waddington. As one of his 10 pledges when he was CIPR President in 2014, he stated that we need to ‘Recognise that the public relations industry must shift from a craft to a profession by putting Continuing Professional Development (CPD) at its core’, and therefore he wanted to ‘Set a roadmap to ensure that CPD is recognised and seen as a key CIPR member benefit’.
In his Handover report in Q4 (see slide 4), Wadds talked about how work is now underway on scoping the development of an enhanced CPD offer for mid-career and senior practitioners. He confirmed that CPD completion rates in the 2014 to 2015 cycle have continued to increase year-on-year and that increasing this number will be a key focus for 2015.
Whilst I didn’t win my seat on the Council, I have seen through my commitment to complete my CPD this year. It was easy, provided me with a bit of needed focus, was educational and surprisingly, it was actually quite enjoyable.
I’ve actually been lazy in that I haven’t recorded anything like the number of CPD activities I’ve attended, downloaded, read, watched or been involved in myself in terms of supporting others. I intend to improve this next year to ensure I keep a note of more than is required just to reach my 60 points. However, having finally gotten involved, I do believe the system needs improving. 60 points isn’t a hard total to reach, especially as two thirds of that was achieved through my participation on the CIPR’s Social Media Panel (CIPRSM), and attending and presenting at the Festival of Marketing. I also claimed an easy 5 points by listing the csuite Podcast series that I produce. So in effect, the main bulk of my points are in me providing support, although to be fair, I’ve actually found this is the best way I learn new things too. For example, the Festival of Marketing had a really high quality of delegates and the presentations that I managed to sit in on whilst there were excellent, especially the one by my fellow CIPRSM member Dom Burch who discussed how Asda have engaged with YouTubers for their Mum’s Eye View YouTube channel (this was a good review of it on Econsultancy). Another great presentation was by Philip Byrne, creative director at Buzzfeed who talked about shareable content (again, another good review here on Econsultancy)
Similarly, being an active member of the CIPRSM has enabled me to meet some inspiring minds in our industry and I always come away from those meetings enthused and full of new ideas and I encourage members to get actively involved in other panels that are of interest to them, plus I won’t lie in that by doing so helps your business development as well as personal development too. Finally, producing the Podcast series gives me access to some great guests. I have committed to write up each interview as a blog post too and I can honestly say I have taken away some great learnings from each of the interviews I have carried out so far.
But I do feel that improvements can be made to the CPD process. It will be interesting to see how many people, like me, are frantically completing their report this week ahead of the deadline – nothing changes really, from doing your homework on the bus, to calling your accountant on the last day that you can submit your tax returns!
So perhaps we need to encourage better participation and learning throughout the year. Maybe there needs to be a monthly or quarterly target to reach, plus a commitment to participate in something from a number of different disciplines or different activities, just to show you have a commitment to learning more about our profession, rather than simply taking an easy route to reaching your target points.
In the meantime, however, I really do encourage all members to take part. You can still reach your 60 points this week, even if you haven’t started yet, but if not, at least make a commitment to do so for 2015/16. You never know, you might learn something!