CPD Explained

CPD Explained

For many years we have been very proud of the fact that our courses are CPD certified and count towards your CPD profile but what does that even mean?  I thought it was about time we made it clear with this piece – CPD Explained!


CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development and refers to the ‘learning activities that professionals engage in to develop and enhance their abilities’.

The aim is to make learning a conscious activity instead of a passive or reactive state – ie, you don’t just learn by accident due to demands of your job, you actively seek to self improve.

Are you ready for the biggest shocker…CPD IS NOT A QUALIFICATION!  Simply a practice for undertaking bite-sized pieces of learning to build skills, knowledge, information or behaviour.

What is included in CPD?

There are three types of CPD:

1 – Structured / Active Learning – This involves interactive or participation in learning, such as training courses, seminars, e-Learning etc. (this is where Safety Media comes in)

2 – Reflective / Passive Learning – This is a bit more informal and includes activities such as reading relevant news articles, podcasts, case studies etc.  The learning objectives are clear in an individual’s overall CPD plan in this case.

3 – Self-Directed / Unstructured Learning – This refers to all ad-hoc learning such as reading documents, articles and publications – either in print or online.  This is possibly the one most of us do daily but don’t actually process the fact we are engaging in a learning activity.

How does training become CPD Accredited?

If a training course or learning activity is ‘CPD Accredited’ this means it has reached a certain standard in terms of integrity and quality.  I wish I could write more here but it is genuinely as simple as that.  Here at Safety Media, each course we release is sent to the CPD Standards Office to be assessed for accreditation.  Should they have any concerns about the quality of the content or indeed the content itself then this would be fed back to our Content team who would make changes accordingly and resubmit for accreditation.

But I still don’t understand WHY learning needs a label?

Some people may be members of professional bodies which have an obligation to CPD which must be documented. These are monitored and membership of the professional bodies is reliant on the CPD requirements being met and maintained.

Here are a few examples of professional bodies with these requirements:

  • The Association of Project Management (APM) – All Chartered members must undertake a minimum of 35 hours formal CPD each year and maintain a full CPD log.
  • The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) – Again 35 hours of CPD every year for chartered members and an annual target of 35 hours if you are not.  This is recorded via an online portal.
  • The Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) – CPD must be evidenced but no specific quantity is mandatory.  All activity must be logged in the CIPD database.
  • The Institute of Administrative Management (IAM) – CPD is voluntary once membership is achieved, however, it is compulsory to achieve membership depending on the level of membership you are wanting to obtain.

There are many other popular institutes with CPD recommendations/requirements such as The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA), The Institute of Direct & Digital Marketing (IDM), Institute of Directors (IoD), Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM), Institute of Sales and Marketing (ISMM).*

Employers are also increasingly expecting their staff to undertake CPD and may even form part of annual performance measurements.  It is best to check with your HR, Learning or Line Manager to make sure you are not going to get any nasty surprises in your end of year review!

Additionally, anyone who works in a formally regulated sector (such as the Financial Conduct Authority) is likely to be required to track their individual personal development to maintain their license to practice or maintain professional qualifications.

But I’m not a member of any of those bodies why does it matter to me?

A fair question and here would be my response.  If your employer chooses courses for you to do which have CPD Certification – ie, the amount of time you spend on the training course will count towards your own CPD portfolio, then your employer is demonstrating that they care about your Continued Personal Development.  OR, it might just be a coincidence!  Whatever the reason though your CPD is your responsibility not that of your employer, therefore if you choose to log your own CPD hours then you are able to do so with confidence.

How do I track and evidence the training?

That is the same question I put to my own HR team while putting together this article!  The evidence process is dependant on your organisation or which governing body requires the evidence of CPD.  If you are unsure if your organisation has an official system in place then ask your HR, Learning team or Line Manager for information.  If the answer is that there currently isn’t one and you are lucky enough to work for a forward thinking and reactive company such as mine, then your team might just create one on the back of your suggestion!

It is important to keep a record of the evidence of your training.  The certificates achieved by successfully completing a Safety Media e-learning course and passing the test at the end all have the CPD logo on them which indicates the hours spent on the training are valid to be used as evidence of CPD.

But WHY?

Now, this could be because I have a two-year-old and at the moment this is the very question I am asked 3,000 times a day but you may still be wondering why this is even important to you.  If you have not been told to do it for membership reasons or to keep your license then why bother.  The answers to my mind are as follows:

  • Personal Achievement – It’s nice to have a record of all the extra knowledge you have gained and improve your skills
  • Career Advancement – If your skills or knowledge in your job never improve then why would you expect your employer to advance your career?
  • Employability – It’s a tough market out there, if you are looking for a (new) job then you need to stand out, and what better way than evidencing CPD on your CV.
  • Because why should learning end at School or Uni.  Every day is a school day and we evolve because of that…for example, just today I have learnt all about what CPD actually means…amazing isn’t it!

In all seriousness, we are very proud of our CPD Accredited Courses and being able to offer more to our learners in terms of achieving personal development goals and not just compliance box ticking.  Our complete library has over 56 hours of CPD certified training content encompassing titles such as Slips, trips and falls, Change Management, Conducting Appraisals and Stress Management….I have racked up huge amounts of CPD hours without even realising it, I bet you have too!

Take a look at the complete list of courses online
Click here »
Author: Claire Williams, Marketing Director, All opinions are my own and may not be reflective of the views of Safety Media


CPD Information – https://cpduk.co.uk/explained 

Professional Bodies Info – https://www.spearhead-training.co.uk/blog/cpd-information-part-2 (* Info correct at time of publishing, check with professional bodies websites for accurate and up to date info)


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