Why continuing professional development is crucial, even if resources are overstretched

Guest blog by Keir McDonald MBE


It is likely to happen to most companies at some point. Your business has fewer resources this quarter and you’re having to adapt your service to stay afloat. What can your business go without? Perhaps you should cut back on your staff training budget?

The answer is no. We believe a better trained, more efficient workforce is essential to sustainable business practice.

Although the UK’s labour market has slowed in recent months, we still boast one of the lowest unemployment rates compared to neighbouring countries. Unfortunately, the UK spends much less on training than its European counterparts. This is an issue we regard with great concern, as investing in your workforce should be a priority. One of the easiest ways to do it is through continuing professional development (CPD).


Continuing Professional Development

CPD refers to the processes by which a professional can advance their skills and abilities. It is not the training process as such, more a way to enhance what we’ve already learnt. As an education provider, we regard CPD much like we do ‘deeper learning’. They both aim to achieve a truer understanding of information; engage the participants on a range of physical and intellectual levels, and provide long-lasting cognitive development.

So how can you practice CPD? Whether it’s for yourself or for your staff, CPD can be practised in a range of ways (in fact, the more the better!). The key here is to be proactive and make learning a conscious decision. CPD can be achieved either passively or actively. The value of CPD is gained through reflection; understanding what the participant has achieved is an essential step in this learning process.

We now have a basic understanding of what CPD is, so how does it benefit professional practices?


The Benefits of Continuing Professional Development

The benefits of CPD are qualitative, rather than quantitative. It’s hard to give learning like this a numerical value when there are no ‘grades’ or ‘levels’ to be obtained. Instead, we must see the value added in terms of worth. 10 hours of CPD may enable a professional to offer a client a more engaged service (increasing the chances of them being recommended). The quantity of CPD does not directly relate to the worth gained, but there is strong evidence to suggest it is a major contributing factor.

Another benefit of CPD is that it can be achieved in many ways. Professionals do not necessarily have to sit through exams or expensive training lectures to advance their knowledge. For example, if you are to take an online training course, we would expect that service to include a continued development package. If your eLearning provider does not offer this, you should consider looking elsewhere.

Recently, we have been studying the difficult situation faced by NHS dentists. They face a similar problem in that their resources are spread thinly. So how can CPD help them in this time of crisis?


Safeguarding Training for Dentists: A Case Study

The NHS dental system is in crisis. While the cost of treatment has risen by around 5% this year, dentists’ pay will only go up by 1%. With pay increasing below the rate of inflation once more, the British Dental Association has said that underinvestment is bringing the NHS dental service to its knees. In addition, a recent increase in tooth extractions for children, as well as a haemorrhaging of funds due to dental patients going to A&E, has put further stress on the industry.

In situations like this, staff training often takes a cut. In particular, we’re interested in the fundamental care standards set out by the Care Quality Commission. Ensuring these standards are maintained is essential to the working of all dental practices. The right safeguarding training will reduce the stress involved in passing any inspections, allowing you to focus on the more pressing issues.

So instead of cutting training, we recommend further investment. Ultimately, this will allow your business to run more efficiently and effectively, helping to deal with an increase in demand, as well as staff retention rates. The last thing any industry needs during a crisis is to be short staffed, or to expend precious resources hiring new team members. While continuing professional development does not instantly convert into numerical profits, the gains can be seen in the long term. It’s hard to put a price on the satisfaction of your staff and customers.

Author Bio: Keir McDonald MBE started EduCare’s eLearning courses 30 years ago, with the primary focus on safeguarding training. EduCare works closely alongside charities and education associations to provide the very best training services available.

Twitter: @EduCareNews

Author: Editorial Team

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