Some months ago I renewed my acquaintance with my colleague Charlie, after a gap of many months. I was quite surprised at the time that he wasn’t really aware of CPD – or continued professional development.
At TRISTAR we have always tried to encourage our ADIs to develop their skills, from the day they successfully acquire that magical Green Badge and I myself have undergone further training in
- ORDIT, the official register of driving instructor trainers – recently achieving Grade 6, after sticking at 5 for my last 5 inspections.
- DATT, the Diamond approved taxi driver trainer course, carried out by the DIA.
- BTEC Profession (Level 4) Diploma in Coaching for Driver Development
- Young Drivers’ Road Safety Event – a workshop sponsored and conducted by West Midlands Police Camera Unit
During each of these courses I kept a record of attendance and was awarded a badge or Diploma upon completion.
However, it isn’t just the completing of the various courses that is important but also the fact that we are increasing and strengthening our personal knowledge base and are also strengthening the product – for a product it is – that we provide to our customers – the trainee instructors and learner drivers out there.
Some of my colleagues chose to complete a Fleet Training Course, thereafter being able to offer Risk Assessment for corporate clients; I too went down this road for a while but later decided it was not a direction in which I wished to continue.
Occasionally, the DSA (Driving Standards Agency) the DIA (Driving Instructors Association) RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) advertise one or sometimes two day workshops, each designed to enrich the knowledge and experience of driving instructors.
There are also many individuals who offer similar workshops, on many diverse subjects
- Pupils with Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome
- Road Safety in Schools (usually local council run)
- Thought Field Therapy
- Neuro-Linguistic Programming
- Mind Mapping
- The Theory of Planned Behaviour (Source: Ajzen & Fischbein 1988 – adapted Connor & Armitage 2006)
- G.D.E. Matrix (Goals for Driver Education)
Additionally, many fellow professionals offer half or one day courses and very often have guest speakers and presenters, all of whom are specialists in their respective fields.
But let’s take a more definitive view:
What is CPD?
CPD is a combination of approaches, ideas and techniques that will help ADIs manage their own learning and growth. The focus of CPD is firmly on results – the benefits that professional development can bring in the real world. Perhaps the most important message is that one size doesn’t fit all. Wherever you are in your career now, and whatever you want to achieve, your CPD should be exactly that: YOURS.
What is the process?
CPD isn’t a fixed process. Fundamentally, it’s a question of setting yourself objectives for development and then charting your progress towards achieving them. It’s about where you want to be, and how you plan to get there. The approach is based on reflection that focuses on outcomes and results, rather than ‘time spent’ or ‘things done’
Is it time consuming?
Please don’t be too concerned with how much time you spend on training courses or how many boxes you tick on a form. CPD is about capturing useful experiences and assessing the practical benefits of what you have learned. There is one decisive question that you should ask yourself to evaluate every piece of learning: what can you do now that you couldn’t do before? Similarly, when you record your CPD, it’s the value of the activity that counts. It’s not what you did, but how you can use what you learned.
Why should I keep a CPD record?
As professionals, we have a responsibility to keep our skills and knowledge up to date. CPD helps us turn that accountability into a positive opportunity to identify and achieve our own career objectives. At least once a year, we should review our learning over the previous 12 months, and set our development objectives for the coming year. Reflecting on the past and planning for the future in this way makes our development more methodical and easier to measure. This is a particularly useful exercise prior to a Check Test
Some people find it helpful to write things down in detail, while others record ‘insights and learning points’ in their diaries as they go along. This helps them to assess their learning continuously. These records and logs are useful tools for planning and reflection: it would be difficult to review our learning and learning needs yearly without regularly recording in some way our experiences. There is a set of questions often used when asking you to provide evidence of our CPD. Answering these will help us explore the pattern of our past and planned learning, with the emphasis firmly on the impact of that learning.