18 August 2015 | Julian Burton
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is the term used to describe an individual's perpetual journey of self-betterment within a chosen career and is defined in the BIFM Professional Standards Handbook as "a process of continual striving for, achieving and renewing learning and development goals".
The process of 'continual striving for' is evident in everyone in some form. A simplistic view of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs suggests that once we have attained our basic needs of food, warmth, shelter and relationships we then focus on self-esteem and achieving our goals and desires. As goals are achieved it is a perfectly natural instinct to focus on new, and more challenging ones.
This natural instinct has enabled man to achieve so much in a very short period of time in medicine and science. For example, it is only 112 years ago since the Wright bros first flew a powered aeroplane for a total of 120 feet. Seventy-four years later the space probe Voyager 1 was launched to map the solar system and it is soon to become the first manmade object to travel beyond our solar system and is currently 11 billion miles beyond the sun. An amazing achievement in such a relative short period of time.
Back on terrestrial soil these achievements would not have been possible without the building and maintaining of highly specialised buildings, and the teams of professional, motivated and conscientious personnel that manage and work within them.
An individual who is professional, motivated and conscientious is highly likely to undertake CPD of some description. They are more likely to achieve and excel in what they do. Such individuals strengthen operational teams by the sharing of knowledge, best practice, innovation and timely compliance. In turn, this leads to efficient teamwork and will contribute to the success of the FM department or service provider, and will ultimately contribute to the success of the aims of the core business or client.
There are many ways in which to undertake CPD. Qualifications and certified short courses are recognised as a formal method of CPD, however, there are many more ways to keep abreast of industry news, developments, innovations and trends. These could include meetings organised by BIFM's regional committees and SIGs, which often focus on topical subjects and provide peer networking. Both are excellent forms of CPD and often come with a CPD code for those with an online BIFM CPD account.
CPD can also be gained by attending industry shows, conferences, AGMs, shadowing work colleagues, benchmarking, or simply by keeping abreast of the news in FM World and other industry publications or surfing the web.
Maintaining current knowledge of compliance and legislation is paramount, however, learning new concepts and innovations and keeping pace with your industry counterparts should also be a priority. CPD is the vehicle to achieving professional recognition and the benefits this can bring with potential promotion, new job, higher remuneration, job satisfaction, and not forgetting Maslow's theory - attaining self-esteem and self-actualisation!
Start your CPD account and reach for the stars by logging onto www.bifm.org.uk/cpd