GETTING CHARTERED was a significant development in my professional career but not the end of the process. On the contrary, I now had an obligation to demonstrate a continuing commitment to my profession.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in my early career was focussed on developing technical skills, but later broadened into a wider range of activities such as becoming involved in the membership peer review process and ultimately becoming a Member of IChemE’s Professional Formation Forum, the body that elects individuals into membership.
Having mentored aspiring Chartered engineers for several years, it’s clear that CPD is widely misunderstood. Many think that it begins and ends with formal training courses but this is not the case. There are in fact a host of activities that help you deliver your personal CPD requirements and the generic process is shown in Figure 1 (also see What Counts As CPD).
CPD helps develop the personal qualities required for a successful and productive career. Personally speaking, I think it’s essential to devote regular time to professional development. Keeping on top of my CPD has significantly helped my career, and provided a great deal of personal satisfaction.
So what’s changing?
Providing evidence of CPD is already required for some registrations and professional bodies. From 2017, IChemE will start to review a random sample of CPD records from Chartered Members and Fellows’ CPD annually.
I have been working with IChemE on the guidance that is being prepared to help make this process user-friendly. The forms are straightforward and those selected for review will be required to provide evidence to show current and recent history of their CPD planning and activities; which typically covers the last year and current year.
This means that you have plenty of time to get your records organised, but it’s worth making a start right away. IChemE’s mycareeerpath is an easy to use online tool to record
your CPD; view a video tutorial on its use and access the tool here: bit.ly/1sYFyCF
If you already use an existing process you will be able to submit this alongside the standard form which helps to navigate and summarise your CPD experience. If you’re on a career break or retired the process has been designed to accommodate you too.
The CPD review submissions will be scrutinised by a small team of experienced IChemE Member volunteers who have been trained to review this evidence. A trial is already underway with the members of some of IChemE’s key committees.
Chartered status is our de facto badge of competence and commitment. This new light-touch review process will serve to reinforce the value of IChemE’s qualifications. As a Chartered Chemical Engineer this will enhance and further improve the standing of a profession committed to the safe and sustainable design and operation of chemical processes.
So now is a good time to take stock of your CPD plan and how you are recording it.