CPD within the workplace can often be considered time-consuming and an additional task, causing many to think, “I don’t have time for this!”

A response that many employers will often hear.

Throughout many careers and workplaces, it is seen as an essential part of development within a role, and here at AC Structures, we are very focused on embedding it throughout the workplace. It can, however, come with challenges and may require a change in mindset for many.

As structural engineering continues to evolve with rapid technological advancements and changing industry standards, professionals must stay at the forefront of their craft. One powerful tool that empowers structural engineers to remain competitive, up-to-date, and effective in their roles is Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

Read on to learn about some of the pros and cons of implementing CPD in the workplace.

THE PROS OF CPD

CPD opportunities allow structural engineers to update and enhance their skills and knowledge continually. This continuous learning keeps professionals well-versed in the latest industry developments, technologies, and best practices, ensuring they can deliver the highest quality of work.

Beyond skill enhancement, CPD opens doors to career growth, enhancing employability and advancement opportunities while ensuring engineers remain compliant and professionally relevant.

CPD’s commitment to quality assurance mitigates risks, fosters innovation, and sharpens problem-solving skills. Networking opportunities abound, leading to fruitful collaborations and knowledge sharing.

Adaptation to industry change and the resulting confidence and job satisfaction are some of the positive results of CPD.

Moreover, clients value structural engineers committed to continuous learning, further bolstering professional reputations and unlocking fresh prospects.

THE CONS OF CPD

Although very few, there are some perceived cons of CPD in the workplace. As many professional bodies require a significant number of hours dedicated to CPD, and many can find this unmanageable; however, the long-term benefits outweigh the cons. 

The Institution of Structural Engineers states:

“Our members’ professional competence is of vital importance to ensure safety in the built environment. We expect you to undertake the recommended minimum amount each year (30 hours).

We know some years this can be difficult, so we do say that you can cover 90 hours over a three-year period.”

CPD activities require time and resources, which can be a burden for both employees and employers. Balancing work responsibilities with CPD can be challenging, and some employers may not provide adequate support or flexibility for employees to engage in CPD. At ACS, we are committed to providing opportunities for our staff to engage in valuable CPD.

Cost can often become a barrier to staff engaging in CPD. Many CPD activities come with associated costs, including registration fees, travel expenses, and materials. These costs can be a barrier for individuals or organizations with limited budgets.

In many professions, time will be protected for CPD; however, this isn’t the case in all establishments. Your employer needs to believe in the benefits of CPD for their employees and clients.

WHAT ARE WE DOING DIFFERENTLY AT ACS?

At ACS, we strongly believe in the benefits of CPD. We have redesigned our review process to ensure that CPD becomes integral to everyone’s working week.

ACS has a Learning & Development Director who supports and facilitates CPD for ALL staff. Staff are given the opportunity to highlight CPD that is specific to their developmental needs and are supported in accessing this. It’s important that staff don’t feel like they’ve wasted any valuable time while engaging in a CPD session, and our hope is that our approach avoids this. These sessions are arranged bi-weekly, where we invite the best in the industry to share and train, as well as sessions to highlight the changes to industry regulations.

We have implemented a new CPD program that supports staff in their personally selected CPD targets. This program has been broken down into clear stages, including reviews, check-ins, and setting achievable CPD goals. The targets ensure that management and employees have a clear vision of the goal they are working towards, allowing management to provide specific support when required.

Some of our staff have expressed an interest in Chartership and are currently working towards this, supported by the senior team members. ACS has also funded this.

Quarterly reviews put employees at the centre. We aim to facilitate and support learning while ensuring that our employees have a say and are interested in what they choose to focus on. A new approach for ACS, which we already see the benefits of.

When asked about the benefits of CPD in the workplace, they said:

“Actively engaging in CPD is an integral part of our employees’ development, and we are here to support them throughout that journey. The investment in time dedicated to CPD impacts the growth of knowledge, skills, and confidence.”

Emma, the Learning & Development Director at ACS, ensures that every employee receives ample support for optimal professional development. How important is it for you to work for a firm that promotes and prioritises CPD? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Emma Corfield
Learning & Development Director

 

I am Emma Corfield, and I am married to Allan, the owner and fellow director of ACS. We have been together for 12 years, and during that time, I have been on the journey to support and help build our business. For the last 16 years, I have worked as a teacher. I am passionate about education and working with both children and adults. That led to coming into working full time for ACS and leaving my teaching post.

 

I am now the director of Learning and Development within ACS. My role consists of developing Continuous Professional Development within the company and supporting staff on this journey. This will involve creating and delivering a new CPD programme.

 

In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my two boys, which usually involves football and karate! I also enjoy being outdoors, especially on the beach, and when I get some time to myself, I love going shopping or socialising with friends.