TUESDAY 2 MAY 2017 11:23 AM


Does continuous learning really matter? Suzanne Peck explores the way in which continuous professional development offers one way to stand out from the crowd

How often do you think about your own professional development? I bet that when you’re busy, you don’t often pay attention to your career development or keep track of how you’ve learned from your experiences. And the more experienced you are, the less likely you are to give ‘What’s next?’ a second thought. But you’re not the only person in the world doing your job, and industry standards rise all the time. There are plenty of other similarly talented people who are focused on their own development that you need to keep up with to compete for more pay, promotion and better jobs.

It’s no longer good enough to obtain a professional qualification at the beginning of a career and then to work for 20 or 30 years with no further structured pattern of learning. Now, lifelong learning is becoming the norm, with professionals taking part-time courses and short courses to understand emerging innovations and learning skills.

IoIC has been listening to members and the wider IC community and recently launched its own continuous professional development (CPD) programme – the only continuous professional development programme dedicated to internal communication. Members were saying that in a tough economic climate, keeping up to date with industry trends, improving skills and knowledge and being the best they can was a key focus.

We heard time and time again that CPD is an efficient way to keep focused on learning. It’s an ongoing process and continues throughout your career, not just when you’re starting out. And continuous professional development is becoming more important as the rate of change and number of specialisms increases.

Through the IoIC scheme, which is free to members, we offer a framework to plan future career goals, identify your development needs, reflect on your learnings and demonstrate your professional knowledge and competence by achieving IoIC CPD Accredited Status. Points are earned through training, attending conferences and seminars, being active members of committees, contributing insight – basically, being actively engaged with internal communication.

Early feedback from those using the scheme is encouraging. Participants have said it’s an easy way to spot the gaps and identify professional development needs. Many people realised that their role could embrace so much more, and had far more potential.

Others say it’s a great way to embed reflective thinking into your everyday working life. A planned approach to ‘What’s next?’ is making people think about what type of job they’d like to have in the next three to five years, how they can get there and the possible timeframe.

It also helps you better understand what you do know and what you’ve already achieved. People feel that they are strengthening their professional credibility – in and out of their own workplace. It’s boosting confidence and the feeling of value that IC adds to an organisation.

Change gives us a chance to stretch our ability and staying up to date builds confidence and adds to that credibility. CPD is also personal. It isn’t purely for the benefit of the organisation you work for; it’s as much personal development as it is professional.

The biggest learning though is that we’re all responsible for our own personal development and need to actively engage with CPD. The IoIC has been setting the standard in IC for more than 65 years, driving the profession forward through professional development and best practice. Standards are great, but the credibility of the profession is mostly in the hands of the individuals who work in IC. It’s time to invest in yourself.

Suzanne Peck is president of the IoIC