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Continuing Professional Development

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is the systematic maintenance, improvement and broadening of knowledge and skill, and the development of personal qualities necessary for the execution of professional, managerial and technical duties throughout the practitioner's working life.

The Institute obliges all members to pursue a planned and active programme of personal development in order to maximise their professional competence.

Members should keep themselves up to date in technical and other areas directly or indirectly relevant to their occupations.

IOM3 policy on CPD – what does the Institute recommend?

The Institute is a Nominated Body of both the Engineering and Science Councils, and has adopted their recommendations regarding CPD. Key features are:

  • Participation in CPD is the personal responsibility of members
  • The recommended minimum amount of CPD a member should undertake is 5 days (35 hours) per year
  • CPD should be planned and carried out in partnership with employers as far as possible. For example, annual appraisal systems operated by many companies offer an opportunity for members and employers to identify and agree a relevant CPD programme.
Some professional development will inevitably occur during normal professional activities, for example when a problem causes the individual to research an issue and to find and implement a solution where they could not previously have dealt with the situation. This should be recorded as CPD in terms of the benefit to the individual.

The Institute strongly recommends that members record their relevant CPD activities and the learning outcomes. A written account of increasing professional competence will be required for progression through the membership grade structure of the Institute and at any time when a member is called upon to demonstrate continued competence.

IOM3 members can now keep an online record of their CPD – access is via the Members’ website

IOM3 Code of Practice on CPD – what should I be doing?

Members are strongly recommended to adopt the following Code of Practice:

  1. Prepare a CPD plan. This should be a 1-5 year plan which takes account of employer's business objectives and the member's career intentions. Where possible the plan should be established in collaboration with the employer.
  2. Record all CPD activities undertaken and identify the particular outcome and the benefits. Any unexpected or unplanned activities should also be recorded and counted towards the total. (IOM3 members can now record their CPD online.)
  3. Review the plan and the record of actual activity at least annually and revise the plan accordingly.
  4. Support the CPD of other staff, and encourage your employer to support CPD.

Which activities should I record?

The scope of CPD is very broad and encompasses all activities which broaden and deepen skills and knowledge. In general terms it falls into the following categories:
  • developing knowledge in a specialist field.
  • broadening technical expertise beyond initial specialisation.
  • developing an awareness of issues such as environmental protection and health and safety.
  • acquiring other professional skills, eg communications skills, interpersonal skills, management techniques, legal and financial knowledge, and language capabilities.
There is an enormously wide range of options available for achieving the recommended minimum level of 5 days CPD per year. Active involvement in CPD is not just about attending courses, although, of course, they can provide a useful way of gaining knowledge, and there is very substantial provision of such courses in both technical and personal development. It is about taking full advantage of all available learning opportunities.

Local Society meetings are an important CPD activity accessible to almost all the Institute’s UK membership. These events give members the opportunity to meet and learn from each other, and the varied programmes of lectures provide a simple way of keeping up to date in a wide range of topics. The Institute welcomes suggestions from members for regional activities they would like to see organised by the Institute. Many members participate in the activities of other professional institutions and societies, and the meetings of these organisations also make a valuable contribution. Open learning courses and private study provide a means for people to learn in their own time. The Institute’s publications are also a valuable source of information. It must be emphasised that it is the learning outcome of an activity, rather than the activity itself, which is important.

A list of typical activities, with typical time allowances, is given below. It is the responsibility of each individual to consider each activity and make a realistic assessment of its contribution to overall learning.

Typical time allowances for different activities (for guidance only)

Always make your own judgement of the useful time spent. Ask yourself how much you have learned.

Type of event Allowable CPD time
Conferences seminars, workshops, works visits, and evening meetings organised by the Institute, its Divisions or Local Societies. All working time (but not travelling or social time)
Conferences and meetings organised by other relevant professional institutions and societies. All working time (but not travelling or social time)
Short courses and workshops. All working time
In-company training courses and workshops All working time
Examined CPD short courses, distance learning studies leading to NVQs, diplomas, and degrees. All attendance time and recognised study input
Committee work: participation in committees of the Institute, and its Affiliated Societies; participation in committees of other professional institutions and societies. 0.5 day/meeting
Imparting knowledge: presentations and lectures; preparation of papers and reviews accepted for publication; acting as a Professional Adviser for young members. Actual time plus allowance for preparation at member's discretion depending on their main job function up to 5 days Actual time
Private study and personal research activity. All working time


Useful links

Boost Your Career in Science and Engineering workshop
Conferences organised by IOM3
Local society meetings diary
CPD courses diary
Packaging training courses
IOM3 journals
Online CPD record (members only)

For more information about CPD, contact Graham Woodrow