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Building professionalism

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Posted by Adam Lyons on 14th Mar 2018

APM’s new status as the Chartered body for the project profession is an important milestone. It also brings with it a set of opportunities and responsibilities for APM and its membership – for example, abiding by a code of professional conduct and complying with continuing professional development (CPD) requirements.

As work continues on the establishment of the Register of Chartered Project Professionals, APM has launched the latest in its series of thought-leadership papers, The Growing Significance of CPD: Ensuring professionalism in a dynamic and changing workplace.

Written by Professor Andrew Friedman of the Professional Associations Research Network, the paper sets the context for APM’s and the profession’s future journey, concluding with initial thoughts on how APM as a Chartered body needs to adapt and support members – both corporate and individual – in their journey to professionalism using CPD.

The importance of CPD

Considered the third pillar of professionalism, CPD provides benefits for individuals, the professional and wider society, as follows:

For the individual

CPD is important for your own development; it enables you to plan your career and demonstrate to current and future employers, and clients, that you are up to date. It creates a shared landscape with peers, raises self-confidence, integrates your professional community, and increases the visibility of individual and collective professional development.

CPD can improve confidence in a member’s competence, as well as encourage certain crucial characteristics that are of great value to professional practice, such as planning, reflection, critical evaluation and adaptability. As a result, it can support career development at a time when working for a single employer for life is no longer the norm.

For the workplace/company

CPD is important for employers in terms of maintaining competence and improving practice. It can provide a learning and development (L&D) programme for small-scale employers, and act as support for programmes already in place for larger employers. It can help guide the development of such programmes, saving resource on organising training.

Another interesting advantage to employers is that strengthening their L&D programmes with the CPD of major professional bodies can make them more attractive to potential employees. This is of increasing importance to top-level employers, which compete fiercely for the most talented staff.

For the public

Ultimately, a more competent set of professionals means better and safer professional services. It is important for the public to know that those carrying out professional services are up to date with legal and technical requirements. It is also essential for the public to know that professionals have been regularly reflecting on their ethical behaviour, and that ethical codes are not merely window dressing or simply aspirational.

How can you undertake CPD?

CPD is part of APM’s FIVE Dimensions of Professionalism and fundamental to today’s business environment. It ensures that you have the breadth of knowledge to illustrate your commitment to lifelong learning in a rapidly changing environment.

APM expects professionals to undertake 35 hours of formal and informal professional development every year. There are many ways you can undertake CPD – did you know that even reading your quarterly issue of Project can count? Here are some suggestions of how you can incorporate CPD into your schedule:

  • private reading;
  • socialising/networking with colleagues/friends;
  • work assessments and projects;
  • attending seminars and conferences;
  • tutoring and mentoring others;
  • the design of plans to undertake activities that will contribute to learning, and evaluating and reflecting on those activities;
  • organising and participating in branch and specific interest group meetings;
  • volunteering work; and
  • formal further qualifications and degrees.

Increasingly, professional bodies are regarding practice itself as a source of CPD, though only if reflected on and/or evaluated. Those using this pure, output-based approach to CPD measurement emphasise that what matters is not what CPD activities were undertaken, but rather their consequences. What did you learn? How did it affect your practice? How did it affect your future plans? How did it impact on others?

CPD allows professionals to organise their learning in a systematic and standardised manner. It is likely that, in future, it will become essential for employment, as well as reassuring and impressing clients and customers.

CPD will provide assurance that professionals have up-to-date evidence of continuous adherence to a relevant programme. It will serve the same purpose as the framed evidence of a university degree or a professional qualification. In short, CPD represents a kind of ‘new professionalism’ and, as such, it is predicted to continue to enhance the reputation of professionals and professionalism.

The ‘Road to Chartered’ papers

In addition to the CPD paper, the following ‘Road to Chartered’ papers are available for download:

  • 21st-century Professionalism: The importance of being Chartered;
  • For the Public Good? Volunteering in the Chartered profession; and
  • The Importance of Ethics in Professional Life.

More papers will be published throughout 2017 and into 2018. Visit Road to Chartered Series

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