It is very rare, if not unheard of, to land yourself a job and find yourself immediately at it. Instead, what happens, is that new recruits are put into a temporary job training phase to learn the ropes of the profession – the training could be hands-on from the start or not, and it can last a few days, two weeks or even months depending on the complexity of the job. Regardless of this all, the training period is what provides you with the basic understanding and skills to go about your job. However, does that training period cover everything about your job, from A to Z? Probably not.
There is only so much that can be taught about a profession at first – the rest is often left up to the employee to grasp from his or her own understanding and later guidance of higher-ranked employees. This continuous process of self-learning is often formalized into a program known as CPD – Continuous Professional Development. To provide a more detailed explanation of it, it is a self-conducted learning process through both formal and informal means that is continually done by the employee at his or her own pace, in hopes of gaining a more profound understanding of the profession. Continuing Professional Development is by no means restricted to skills or knowledge limited to the profession, but it also extends to other soft skills and personal qualities that enhance the work output of an employee (i.e. leadership skills and communication skills also generally apply as a result).
Continuing Professional Development has no end in sight – it is meant to be a lifelong investment to understand one’s profession. The benefits that can be reaped from such a devotion to learning can be seen in both the increasing quality of work (i.e. what we would normally define as ‘experience’), as well as in one’s personal growth as well. It should also be understood that that CPD programs are by no means directed by an employer or higher-ranked employee – which is the case in the initial job training programs – but are instead a personal effort. Generally, what an employee may learn would be documented in the form of physical copies or portfolios for it to be qualified as Continuing Professional Development.
Whilst Continuing Professional Development applies to just about any profession, there are certain professions that explicitly require their workers to continually educate and update themselves. This is often with regards to the continual technological improvements, ongoing research or even changing societal trends – the best examples would be the scholarly fields, medicine, engineering, technology, education, and fashion.