The introduction of a Continuing Professional Development scheme is perhaps the most significant step in management training that the logistics industry has seen for many years.
Last month the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport launched its CPD Online scheme emphasising the idea of the institute as “a career partner for life”.
The idea of CPD Online is to enable logisticians to plan and record their professional progress – courses undertaken, books read, mentoring activities and so on. This is clearly valuable for individuals and potential employers alike. CPD is defined as the maintenance and improvement of knowledge, skills and competence throughout a professional’s working life.
Dorothea Carvalho, director of professional development at the CILT, points out that with CPD it is not the just doing which is valuable – learning also comes from the reflecting afterwards.
“The course is important, but unless you go back afterwards and think about what you have learned and how you can apply that learning, you will probably forget most of it.”
CPD includes a wide variety of activities that lead to learning and development, both personal and professional. The primary objective is to enhance the individual’s professionalism and therefore it is expected that, in any one year, at least half of the outcomes of CPD will be directly related to current employment/business activities.
For each user the web site has a public section and a private section. The public section provides a record of activity. The private section is designed to allow users to included their private thoughts.
In a year, says Carvalho, a member should spend about 35 hours on their CPD – attending courses and so on. But even now, she says, a lot of people do more.
In some industries CPD has a points system. Carvalho is not impressed by this idea: “We could do a cynical exercise in giving out points for courses. But CPD is about outputs,” she says. “It is not about turning up for a course and answering emails on your blackberry at the back of the training room – it is about what you have learned from attending a course or doing an activity.”
On the CPD web site, as well as the area for individual members, there is a section called Staffmark that is designed for employers to use for their staff. This is targeted particularly at smaller organisations.
Within the CPD Online system a group administrator can overview the activity of each individual within their group and communicate information via a message board. This will enable the planning and delivery of training to be scheduled to individual and company requirements. This can help organisations keep a track of compliance training needs to ensure they are met in accordance with the new Driver CPC, and EU Directive 2003/59 for drivers.
The challenge for the institute will be to get lots of members to use the new site. “We want as many people as possible to use it and we are getting employers actively involved,” says Carvalho.