AIEB acknowledges that many community workers do not hold professional community work qualifications. The use of the terms Continuous Practice Development and Continuous Professional Development by AIEB indicates that notwithstanding practitioners professional qualification status, it is important for all workers to engage in ongoing learning and upskilling. Continuous Practice Development is the term used for people who don’t already have professional qualifications and Continuous Professional Development is for those who do.
AIEB recommends that professional community workers commit and are facilitated to undertake a minimum of 20 hours professional development activity each year. It is important to structure, plan and record your CPD activities. This will help you when updating your CV or preparing for work appraisals or reviews.
CPD is recognised as post qualifying professional development and is a requirement in many professions, often linked to a process of formal recording. Sample planning and recording sheets can be found below.
The key benefits of CPD
A commitment to CPD helps to ensure quality community work resulting in improved outcomes for all. CPD brings benefits to:
- Communities, who will be supported by skilled and knowledgeable practitioners.
- Practitioners, who will enhance their skills, knowledge and capacity and be in a better position to meet the challenges presented to them in the work.
- Employers, whose staff will have increasing knowledge, skills and competence as practitioners and therefore be better placed to undertake their work in an ever-evolving context.
- Funders, who will see the social value benefit of investing in community work maximised with improved outcomes from the work.
- The community work discipline, which will grow and strengthen through a coherent framework for learning and development, and shared understanding of the community work sector.
Types of CPD
CPD can involve a wide range of learning opportunities from attending a training programme, to participating in a conference, planned reading and a range of structured writing initiatives such as researching and preparing a blog.
CPD can take a number of forms including structured/formal learning and self-directed/informal learning.
- Training courses from short informal training through to longer accredited training
- Professional/postgraduate qualifications
- Participating in relevant workplace training
- Participation in seminars, workshops, thematic events or conferences
- Delivering presentations at seminars of conferences
- Supervision – could be as supervisee or supervisor but has to be focused on Practice Development
- Work mentoring – internal/external to own org
- Facilitated peer learning groups
- Work secondments
- Reflective learning – e.g., reflect on an area of work or a specific challenge/opportunity, daily/weekly journaling
- Membership of professional networks
- Self-directed reading/research – articles, case studies, academic literature, CD journals, websites, webinars etc
- Voluntary work
- Peer led learning groups
- Publication of an article in a journal
- Active participation on a voluntary board
CPD Planning and Recording
Effective planning for CPD involves 4 essential stages. AIEB supports these stages through the provision of tools and templates. AIEB will promoted quality assured and badged CPD for community work on the AIEB website.
- Identifying your learning needs and developing your CPD learning plan mapped to the knowledge, skills and qualities referenced within each of the core community work values outlined in the All Ireland Standards for Community Work.
- Identifying structured/formal learning and self-directed/informal professional initiatives to address your learning needs. A good learning plan includes a combination of CPD learning methods.
- Implementing your learning plan / undertaking learning initiatives.
- Recording your CPD and reflecting on and evaluating the learning and benefits to your practice, your organisation and the communities you work with.