Friday, 23 November 2012

Continuing Professional Development - Rhys Taylor

Thought I had better do another blog, before Michelle and Anne start nagging at me ….again!

As practicing professionals, we are expected to keep abreast of developments in the industry – members of the other professions have a similar obligation, whether they are Doctors, Solicitors, Airline Pilots, Politicians…, perhaps not Politicians….but you see what I mean.  This process is generally known as “Continuing Professional Development” or “CPD” for short.

The professional bodies each set minimum “targets” for CPD that individuals are expected to achieve each year – most commonly this is represented in terms of hours of time spent in Continuing Professional Development.  In the case of the Association of Building Engineers (ABE) this is set at 35 hours per annum.  How each individual achieves that target is in the main left to the individual to determine, but each year the individual is required to submit a diary of their CPD undertaken in the previous 12 months period, for assessment and approval by their professional body or bodies.

CPD could be gained by attending a training seminar on a particular topic, or by researching a topic (possibly on the internet) or even by making a positive input to the organisation and running of one’s professional body – either at a local or national level.  The directors of Taylor Tuxford Associates are proud to be able to say that we all individually make certain that we not only equal, but ideally exceed by some margin, the minimum CPD requirements laid upon us by our respective professional bodies.

Last week I had the pleasure of chairing a panel with two other colleagues conducting professional membership interviews for the ABE, over in Warrington (hello to Geoff and Nick) and in the process, adding to my own annual total of “CPD hours”.  These interviews are part of the process by which prospective Members of the ABE are admitted - or not as the case may be - for full corporate membership of the Association.  The actual interview lasts about an hour or so, but is based to a great extent upon a Portfolio of Evidence of the individual’s experience, which in some cases, will have taken many months, even years, to compile for submission.

During the interviews, I commented to a couple of the candidates that they had little or no CPD hours in their diaries that were related to regional events organised by the ABE itself and I enquired why this was the case?  They responded that in their particular area of the UK (North West England) there were very few CPD events organised by the regional committee.  I checked in the copy of the ABE’s Journal that I had with me and sure enough, the next event logged in their neck of the woods was next January!

They were basically having a moan about the lack of events being arranged for their benefit – so I had a bit of a gentle dig myself, to the extent that if they were genuinely unhappy with this, why didn’t they stand for election to the Regional Committee and get involved themselves?  Failing that, why not approach the Committee and offer to arrange an event in their locality?  Time will tell whether or not my suggestion may generate a positive, pro-active response….

So, where is he going with this, I hear you say?  The fact is that in one’s career as in one’s life in general, what you get out of the system is commonly a function of what you put in.  This applies to one’s personal relationships – 36 years of happy married life and counting thank you folks – as much as to one’s professional standing in our chosen industry.  As an example, Michelle is currently the Regional Secretary for the ABE in Yorkshire and the Humber….remember this is a voluntary post for which she receives no remuneration for her time.

I don’t think that it was coincidence that the outstanding candidate last Friday was one who not only attends regional events for the Association, but chairs the regional committee in her local “patch” (Wales) and therefore is actively involved in arranging regular CPD events.  This individual was patently a very well-rounded individual, and gave detailed and (very) complete answers to the various questions that the panel posed about not only her own portfolio of projects, but about other tangential issues regarding upcoming developments in the construction industry as a whole.

My sincere compliments and congratulations therefore, go to Karen Roberts MBEng – very well done indeed!

Finally – received a letter from the Dept of Work and Pensions this week, confirming that my pension age will now be on my 66th birthday.  This was a very pleasant and unexpected surprise, as Anne has been telling me for several years that she intends to keep me working until I’m 75!