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Revamp your CPD: Help your industry thrive

09 March 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Olivia Palmer
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Albert Einstein said: “Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.” In order to perform professional responsibilities successfully we need to develop the relevant knowledge and skills. Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is the proactive commitment of professionals to this practice of learning and career enhancement.

There are over 1,300 professional bodies and membership associations representing industries and professions in the UK and they all operate CPD schemes. CPD can include instructor-led training, work-based mentoring or independent e-learning courses. Methods of learning might involve workshops, conferences and events. All CPD training is designed to enhance professional development, promote best practice, the sharing of ideas and constant academic and practical up-skilling.


Raising standards at the PRCA

The PRCA is a PR and communications membership body committed to challenging, supporting and raising standards. It has created a culture of CPD in the PR and Communications sector.

PRCA CPD is described as ‘an easy-to-use online platform that encourages members to track, schedule and review their annual CPD points through activities such as training courses, networking events, conferences, reading industry magazines, articles or blogs, entering awards, revising for exams and carrying out research projects, webinars and podcasts.

PRCA CPD was devised in collaboration with PR and Communications industry partners – employers, practitioners, training providers and content sources - and the skills development programme will be launched in October. It is described as a universal holistic scheme with a shared vision. All partners are committed to improving professionalism in the industry and promoting best practice. The programme is open to both members and non-members of the PRCA and it doesn’t cost a penny. Successful completion of the programme can be achieved by logging at least 160 development points.

CIPR makes CPD fun

Like the PRCA, members are at the heart of the new Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) CPD programme. According to the CIPR: “CPD puts you in the driving seat of your own career. It's about mapping your journey and gaining the knowledge and skills you need to progress.” CPD is evidence of CIPR members’ professionalism. It’s clearly important but in the past it’s been difficult to drum up interest from members.The CIPR changed all this with a wholesale CPD revamp, making their members recognise just what a valuable membership benefit CPD is.

The CIPR has worked hard to increase the number of members logging their CPD, as Alastair McCapra, CIPR Chief Executive explains: “We’ve doubled the number completing their CPD over three years, and social media has been a key tool in driving this success.  “We run two campaigns on Twitter every year.   The first is Summer of CPD, which encourages members to start logging their points months before the deadline.  We suggest holiday reading and offer prizes for members who log the most points week by week over the summer, publishing a leaderboard each week to show the members who have been most active. 


“The second campaign starts in late January and is designed to encourage members to make sure they complete their points logging in time.  We create ‘Twibbons’, which are available to members when they complete their 60 annual points.  This lets them decorate their Twitter posts with a branded panel announcing that they’ve completed.  They love letting everyone know they’ve finished, they encourage others to do likewise, and they sell the idea of CPD in their own words to everyone who follows them.  “It doesn’t just drive up numbers,” adds Alastair. “It makes CPD a bit more fun.  A lot of members also now post gifs of victory dances or other humorous clips to announce when they’ve completed.  It has turned a rather dreary compliance exercise into a fun annual rite of passage.”

So what are the key ingredients of CPD success? Clearly, high quality training is essential as is a social element. Success also depends on working in collaboration with colleagues/peers, partners and professional groups. Members should also receive recognition and rewards for making their CPD submissions.

For more information about CPD programmes go to – the CPD Certification Service and the CPD Standards Office.

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