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Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Explained

CPD is something you will likely hear a lot in your career. It stands for Continuing Professional Development, and it is used to describe learning activities taken by professionals to enhance and update their skills and knowledge. CPD is a holistic approach, aimed at ensuring professionals remain at the top of their game and improve their abilities throughout their careers.


CPD Defined

With Continuing Professional Development, you commit to ongoing learning. It encourages you to look forward and spot opportunities to learn new things, refresh your existing knowledge, and improve skills. Industries and professions are always changing and evolving, and CPD helps you stay up-to-date whilst building upon your skillset.

CPD can mean taking training courses, attending events, or consuming video and written content that relate to skills and knowledge within your profession. You will learn in a conscious, proactive way. Typically, individuals keep a record of the CPD they undertake, documenting their professional development continuously throughout their careers.

When engaging in CPD, people will do things like:

  • Training Courses.
  • Seminars.
  • Workshops.
  • Conferences.
  • Webinars.
  • Online eLearning Programs.

It can also involve the sharing of best practice ideas and techniques, all aimed at the individual improving their ability to do their job.


The Importance of CPD

Engaging in CPD is a great way to ensure academic and vocational qualifications never become obsolete. Individuals can continually upskill or re-skill, and this opportunity is available to all people in different professions, regardless of age or level of education.

With CPD, you continually improve your competencies to enhance performance at work and boost future career prospects.


Types Of CPD

Though known as a powerful learning tool for professionals in all industries, CPD can come in many different forms. Let’s look at some of the many ways people engage in it to improve their skills and knowledge.

Reflective CPD (Passive Learning)

With reflective CPD, the learning usually has a structured format without participant-based interaction. It is a passive approach to CPD that works well for many, and this is the type that we offer in the form of CPD online training videos.

In addition to video tutorials and training, reflective CPD can also include:

  • Attending non-interactive lectures.
  • Industry briefings.
  • Case studies.
  • Podcasts.
  • Industry updates.

Structured CPD (Active Learning)

With structured CPD, you have an interactive and participation-based approach to learning. It can be very helpful for professionals taking career-oriented exams, in combination with self-directed study and revision. This proactive approach typically involves things like:

  • Training courses.
  • Workshops.
  • Conferences.
  • Seminars.
  • CPD certified events.
  • eLearning courses.

Informal CPD (Self-Directed Learning)

With self-directed CPD, you basically have a range of unaccompanied, unstructured approaches to learning. This generally does not involve specific learning time frames, and outcomes can vary for each individual. Activities include:

  • Forum discussions.
  • Reading books, articles and publications.
  • Researching relevant fields.
  • Consuming industry-specific news.

How to Engage in CPD Learning

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach that is the best for CPD. Many take a blended approach, incorporating a range of CPD to get maximum benefits from what is available. Combining structured CPD with reflective and self-directed practices can be the most effective approach, but it varies for different people.

Online Courses

Online courses and training videos, like the ones we offer, are an increasingly popular way to learn. They offer affordability and convenience, as you don’t have to attend an in-person event and the relevant course materials can be shared free online.

With online courses, you have the flexibility to participate at a suitable time and schedule, working around other commitments in your life. You can usually spread these types of CPD training materials over a period of time, rather than having to engage at a particular time on a specific day.


These are online learning activities that are held virtually and attended online. The main objective is usually to educate and inform in a concise manner about relevant, new information.

With CPD webinars, you can interact by:

  • Participating.
  • Asking questions of the host.
  • Completing polls/surveys.
  • Sharing documents.

CPD webinars are useful as you don’t have to travel to attend in person.

Training Courses

CPD training courses are among the most well-known methods of developing your skills. They can be anything from a day long to several weeks, often focused on a specific subject or set of skills for your industry.

CPD courses sometimes incorporate other forms of learning like lectures, workshops, and online materials. They can be delivered in person, in a classroom, or even via online platforms. Hybrids of these are common.


A workshop is an interactive group session that focuses on practical learning, often over a period of 1-3 days. They are usually hands-on training courses, focusing on practical skills rather than theory, involving activities like:

  • Exercises.
  • Breakout sessions.
  • Role plays.

You will usually learn with a small group and get a chance to apply theoretical knowledge in a practical context.


A seminar is a short course – typically only a few hours long – in which you explore a particular subject matter in detail. They usually take place in a group setting with up to 20 participants.

CPD seminars generally involve things like group work, activities and interactive discussions. The goal is to allow everyone in attendance to contribute, thus resulting in a better retention of knowledge. Seminars can be a chance for individuals to network amongst themselves to get new contacts in different areas of their industry, or even other sectors.


CPD for Employees vs CPD for Employers

CPD can encourage individuals to maintain high standards, demonstrating their commitment to their profession. But it can also advance the body of knowledge, skills and technology within an organisation.

For individuals, CPD is a functional platform to build a career progression plan that enhances future prospects.

Benefits of CPD for Employees

  • Self-motivation.
  • Reminders of personal achievements and progression.
  • Flexible learning methods to suit different people.
  • Enhancing one’s appreciation for the impact they make at work.

For organisations, the application of CPD in the workplace shows a deliberate decision to offer the best possible service for clients and remind employees of the importance of professionalism.

Benefits of CPD for Employers

  • Ensuring quality remains high across departments.
  • Identifying skill gaps in the workforce.
  • Highlighting areas for improvement.
  • Nurturing a healthy learning culture.

CPD can also attract a high level of candidates as it is an attractive prospect for candidates. Both individuals and organisations should have CPD as part of their long-term plans for success.


Why choose PIP Services as your training provider?

We’re an accredited NEBOSH, IOSH, IWFM & CITB training centre, as well as a ProQual-approved NVQ centre. We also offer an extensive range of online CPD video courses to help individuals progress with their personal development in their chosen fields.

Since launching in 2005, we have rapidly progressed with thousands of clients coming through our training centre in the heart of Dagenham each year, as well as providing online options where available. We also offer Health and Safety consultancy for businesses of all sizes. Please get in touch if you would like to book a free health and safety consultation.

We are rated 4.9/5 on Trustpilot, and you can read our reviews here. If you would like to speak to us about your training needs, please get in touch using the button below.



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