As part of the Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST) Spring Conference 2021, we sponsored a panel session on Continuing Professional Development – ‘Smart CPD: keeping up to date in a changing world’.
Four panelists took part in a lively discussion that encouraged listeners to never stop learning and to embrace CPD as something to enjoy and not just a box to tick. The panelists were:
Helen Taylor, Chair of IFST’s professional development group
Bertrand Emond, Campden BRI
Vicky Collett, Pepsi Lipton
Tanya Vina, The Science Council
5 top tips emerged from the session:
1.) CPD is not just about technical skills. Soft skills are of equal importance, and the pandemic has also raised the importance of developing skills in areas such as mental health awareness and mindfulness.
2.) It’s not just about formal training with a certificate at the end of it. Reading blogs and white papers, listening to podcasts and audiobooks, taking part in self-led training, are also valid and valuable CPD activities. As long as you can reflect on what you have learnt and demonstrate how you have applied it in your role.
3.) We’re all busy and this can push CPD down the list of priorities. If this sounds familiar then perhaps you need a change of mindset. CPD doesn’t have to be time consuming - be realistic about what you want to achieve, be creative and find activities that are going to work for you, and be strategic about what you say yes and no to.
4.) If you’re a student or new to the world of work, a good place to start with your CPD journey is to look for good role models or mentors, whether within your organisation or the wider industry. Explore career pathways, research where your gaps are and identify ways to start bridging them.
5.) Link your Personal Development Plan (PDP) or annual review to your CPD plan. Although these are two very different things - your PDP focuses on your current role and your CPD is the bigger picture - they will be most effective if looked at together.
Your CPD log is intended to stay with you throughout your career, so it’s important to keep it up to date… which is an impressive skill in itself and one that will make you stand out at interviews!