OPINION: The Importance of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) – 5 Ways You Can Benefit Today

Friday, 27 January 2017 By   Aleph Hospitality

Roz Money, Aleph Hospitality’s VP Marketing and PR, reflects on becoming a Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Accredited PR Practitioner:

 

I have always had an intrinsic love of learning. Both academically, probably best demonstrated by my decision to study part-time for almost five years for a degree in Language Studies less than two years after finishing a full-time Business Management degree. But also simply through having an inquisitive mind, being totally fascinated by the inevitable ‘behind the scenes’ revelations that come with getting to know different industry sectors. From the incredible insights into how consumers shop, to the visit to the Airbus factory to see how an aeroplane is made, to the shift serving breakfast to hungry hotel guests – I have loved it all.

This week, I received confirmation that after years in the field, I was now officially a CIPR Accredited PR Practitioner. Having completed the requisite CPD, this designation is, to borrow the words of the awarding body, a hallmark of commitment to professional excellence. I’m very proud to have achieved such recognition. Furthermore, I’m equally pleased to say that it marks a very welcome return to my love of learning. As what I realised this week, is that somewhere in the midst of building a successful career, over time life got in the way of learning. That’s not to say that I haven’t still learnt a great deal, but looking back it largely centred on what I needed to know to get the urgent tasks done, rather than around what could be done if I had the opportunity to escape from the to-do list.

And that is why I believe it’s so important to make time for CPD. With so many competing demands on our time, it can be tough, but much like the well-documented benefits of looking after your health and wellbeing, I believe there is considerable benefit to be gained from feeding your mind’s remarkable capacity for knowledge. Benefits such as:

 

  1. Keeping pace. While the fundamental principles of marketing and communications haven’t changed as much as some people may think, the mediums and methods available to execute a strategy are completely unrecognisable from those in use 15 years ago (does anyone else share fond memories of marking up Cromalin proofs with a chinagraph pencil?).   Training courses, best practice guides and case studies are all useful tools to help bridge knowledge gaps and keep ahead of the continual innovation.
  1. Staying connected. In my early career, I benefitted hugely from observing my marketing superiors and peers at work. Yet with an increasingly mobile and remote workforce, complex matrix structures and global teams, it is now far less likely that you are in constant and direct contact with masterminds of your industry. If learning from others and having the opportunity to bounce around ideas is becoming less prevalent in the workplace, interacting with a wider professional network is more important than ever.
  1. Stepping back. With resources stretched, it’s all too easy to get bogged down in the minutiae of fire fighting and deadlines. Forcing yourself to take time out and understand different perspectives and new techniques often gives you the headspace to consider the bigger picture. It may also just spark ideas that help remove some of the fires of the future.
  1. Building your brand. Undertaking CPD sets you apart and gives you a competitive edge. According to the PR Census 2016, there are around 83,000 employees in the UK PR industry. On that basis, only around 1.5% of PR practitioners today are Accredited by the CIPR. By demonstrating professionalism and commitment to your profession, CPD often unlocks the door to enhanced credibility.
  1. Futureproofing yourself. While there are all kinds of prophecies circling about what the future holds, ranging from the fantastic to the cataclysmic, the concept that seems most probable is that whatever happens, people are going to need to be adaptable. Having an entrenched ability and readiness to learn new skills will be invaluable.

 

The above is just a snapshot of some of the many potential benefits of Continuing Professional Development. Above all else though, for me personally, there is a real buzz that comes from learning something new. Conflicting life demands and sometimes even well-meaning friends and colleagues can stand in the way, but if I can make time to continue fuelling my curiosity into the future, I certainly will…

 

“Curiosity killed the cat,” Fesgao remarked, his dark eyes unreadable.
Aly rolled her eyes. Why did everyone say that to her? “People always forget the rest of the saying,” she complained. “‘And satisfaction brought it back.”
― Tamora Pierce, Trickster’s Choice