Posted 29/09/2018 by Richard Samuels


Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is the best way to prove that you are committed to learning throughout your career.

The construction and engineering industry is changing all the time, and it’s vital that you update your skills, knowledge and experience. It’s also important that you keep a record of what you have learned, and then what you plan to learn. In your current role, you will have plenty of opportunities to keep your professional competence up to date, this may be through spending time in briefings, reading publications, attending conferences and presentations, and signing up to courses. By recording this, and then showing a commitment to learn more, it will stand you in good stead for future improved roles. As a guide you should be doing at least 30 CPD hours a year when you are approaching your Professional Review stage. But CPD doesn’t end there, it should be continuous  that you develop throughout your career.


The four stage process. At least once a year make a commitment to follow this four stage process:

1. Review 

Assess where you currently are, bearing in mind what your industry and employers expect of you. A SWOT analysis (strengths, weakness, opportunities, threats) is a great tool to use here. There are many areas of personal development. We have included some below as a starting point:

  • Strategic Management

  • Working with others

  • Health, safety and welfare

2. Plan

Now that you know your starting point, you can start to plan ahead the activities, resources and timescales which will get you to where you want to be. Questions you need to ask in your plan are:

  • In what area do I need to improve my performance?

  • How does this link to other objectives?

  • What do I need to learn in order to achieve this?

  • What will I do to achieve this?

  • What are the likely resources and support that I will need?

  • How will I evaluate a successful outcome?

  • What are my deadlines for meeting this target

3. Develop

This is about putting your plan into practice. Like with everything you’ll find that your plan will change along the way as you spot new opportunities. This is fine as long as you are developing. All CPD is good. This is a list of example CPD activities. It is by no means exhaustive:

  • In-house presentations

  • Attending trade exhibitions

  • Structured reading

  • Work shadowing

  • Promoting engineering in primary and secondary schools

  • Writing reports and writing for publication

  • Acting as a mentor

  • Conferences, seminars and workshops

4. Evaluate

This is an important step that can often be neglected. Make sure you identify what you have learned and how it has helped you. You should be recording the following:

  • Details of CPD activity

  • Effective learning time

  • Key Benefits/Value added

  • Was the plan successful?

  • How can I improve it in future?

Finally, we spoke to various trade institutions in construction and engineering about the importance of CPD, and here is what they told us.

“What CPD you do should be driven by the need to keep up to date in the area your working in, as well as positioning yourself for your next career move. IstructE offer a range of CPD for Structural Engineers from Exam Preparation courses to prepare you for Chartership, to technical courses delivered by the UK’s leading experts. We also offer professional guidance courses, on management, the law, finances etc. You can find the whole menu of courses we offer at www.istructe.org

Peter Washer

Professional Development Manager: The Institution of Structural Engineers


“The CIOB has long recognised the skills needed to lead and deliver excellence in the built environment. The industry has never needed more leaders, champions and innovators as it does today. Our Academy provides training on key areas such as contracts, finance, project management, BIM and health and safety. Our aim is to professionalise all parts of the industry, which is why we also offer courses on key qualifications such as Site Management and routes to gaining Chartered Member status.”

Adrian Montague

Head of CIOB Academy


"Engineering Council registration demonstrates the highest possible professional standards. These are Engineering technician (EngTech), Incorporatated Engineer (IEng) and Chartered Engineer (CEng).

As a professionally qualified engineer you must commit to lifelong learning/CPD. Keeping your knowledge and skills up to date is the mark of a true professional. Like everyone else built environment professionals need to embrace digital technology and develop the rapidly-evolving skills needed to exploit its benefits.

The modern construction industry is increasingly multi-disciplinary and a more flexible approach is needed to encourage people to enter the profession.

ICE’s recent skills report has found that so called 'soft skills', just as important to the delivery of high quality infrastructure as technical ability, are lacking in the workplace. The importance of such skills need to be promoted at every level."

Sara Thiam

ICE Scotland Director


“We accredit 125,000 qualified and trainee professionals. Any individual or firm registered with us is subject to our quality assurance. We're proud of our reputation and we guard it fiercely, so clients who work with our registered professionals can have confidence in the quality and ethics of the services they receive. CPD is a commitment by our members to continually update their skills and knowledge in order to remain professionally competent. All RICS professionals must undertake at least 20 hours of CPD activity each year.

Both members and non-members undertake CPD with RICS. Our UK-wide conferences and CPD Foundation seminars are a popular way to stay on top of the latest industry trends, innovations and updates. Whilst our training courses provide structured support for those looking to become a qualified surveyor, or to upskill technically in areas such as BIM or Commercial Management in Infrastructure, comply with international standards, and to develop leadership capability.”

Sarah Littlejohns

RICS Interim Director of Product Development


“CIBSE believe that CPD is an important part of an engineers development and competency.   We are making sure CIBSE Engineers are recording the CPD they undertake as will be mandatory for registered engineers and technicians starting in January 2019.   CIBSE offer CPD opportunities through our training, CIBSE Journal CPD,  regular events including Build2Perform Live, November 27-28 2018 and through an approved list of CIBSE CPD providers to help engineers achieve their potential.”

Carilyn Burman

CIBSE Director of Membership




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