Get Better at Continuous Professional Development (CPD)

Explore the common challenges professionals face in engaging with Continuous Professional Development (CPD) and practical strategies to overcome them, ensuring a successful and rewarding CPD journey.


2/2/20247 min read

Get Better at Continuous Professional Development (CPD)


Today's professional world is akin to a fast-moving train; if you don't keep up, you risk being left behind. Imagine you're climbing a mountain, with each step representing a new skill or piece of knowledge. This is what Continuous Professional Development (CPD) is like in the professional world. It's an ongoing journey of learning and growth, vital for keeping pace with the ever-evolving industry standards. In this article, I'll share insights from my own experience with CPD, emphasizing its importance and how recording these activities has profoundly impacted my career.

What is CPD 

Continuous professional development is the continuous, conscious effort to develop and enhance personal skills and knowledge throughout one's professional life. It's about staying curious and hungry for knowledge, much like I was when I first stepped into my professional role, eager to learn and grow.

Importance of CPD

Staying Relevant in a Fast-Changing Environment

In a world where change is the only constant, CPD is your anchor. I learned this the hard way when I had to play catch-up on digital marketing trends, a field that changes at lightning speed. Learning and getting better as you go will make sure that change doesn’t feel overwhelming for you. The last thing you want to do is become stagnant and outdated.

Enhancing Skills and Knowledge

CPD is about growing deeper in your field and also broadening your horizons. For me, it was about deepening my understanding of project management while also exploring areas like data analysis. If you enjoy the area that you work in, this should be a no-brainer, but even if you don't, CPD can help you get to where you want to be.

The Role of CPD in Career Advancement

Building on that last point, CPD can open new doors if. It was my proactive learning attitude that landed me a promotion, something I had aspired to achieve. Improving your knowledge and skills means that you are inherently increasing your value, thus making that promotion a little more attainable. 

Grow your Networks

Partaking in CPD allows you to not only improve yourself but also to connect with many other people. It's becoming clear that networking is super important in today's world, so having the opportunity to do so is actually a very underrated benefit of CPD. I myself have been able to rely on some connections I made to support me in landing the role that I wanted. It really is crazy how some people are so willing to help you.

What does the research say?

Collin and colleagues (2012) highlighted in their research that CPD is particularly important in professions where services are being delivered, and they quote, “The quality of service is heavily dependent upon the professional possessing and properly using high-level skills.”. On top of this, Suliman et al. (2020) concluded, after identifying many barriers to CPD, that CPD is necessary in the workforce, further showing its importance.

Common Challenges in CPD

Time Constraints

One of the most significant challenges I've encountered and heard echoed by peers is finding the time for CPD amidst a busy work schedule. Balancing job responsibilities, personal life, and CPD can often seem like a juggling act that most people either cannot do or are unwilling to do, as it may sacrifice the little time they have for themselves.

Financial Constraints

CPD can sometimes be a financial burden, especially when it involves specialized courses or conferences. I remember scrimping and saving to attend a workshop that was crucial for my career advancement. This, on top of having limited time, makes it very difficult to actually want to engage in proper CPD.

Lack of Employer Support

Not all organizations recognise the importance of CPD. I've been fortunate to work in environments that support CPD, but I know many who struggle to get their employers on board, and to be honest, there is no point in doing CPD if your employer is just going to ignore it.

Overwhelming Choices

The plethora of CPD options available can be overwhelming. Choosing the right path that aligns with your career goals and interests requires careful consideration and planning. Also, sometimes in your career, you might not know which way to go forward; you might already be in a comfortable position or not know where to go next, and that too can be a barrier.

Case Study: Nursing

Jackson and Manley (2022) conducted some research on nurses to find out what challenges nurses had with engaging in CPD. It does relate to what has been mentioned before, so I’d like to show this as a real-life example of it. The main challenges they found were that CPD was not funded for nurses, and time was a big issue. Also, the inability to access CPD had an impact on the care that patients received. Nursing is one of many professions that CPD is vital for.

Overcoming CPD Challenges

Looking at the challenges to CPD, the ways to overcome these challenges become quite clear. Using our intuition, we can try the following to overcome the difficulty of doing good CPD:.

Time Management Strategies

Effective time management is key. I've found that setting aside dedicated CPD time each week or month, even if it's just an hour, can make a significant difference. To help with this, keeping track of what you do will be important, and thus writing things down might be helpful.

Seeking Financial Support and Resources

Look for financial support options like grants, scholarships, or employer funding. There are also many free or low-cost online resources available. It will vary depending on your area and expertise, but just have a look or maybe even have a discussion with your manager or HR team. I’m sure they’d be happy to help an employee eager to grow. 

Building a Case for CPD in the Workplace

Related to the last point, if your employer does not support CPD, try demonstrating the value of CPD in improving job performance and contributing to the organization's goals. Presenting a well-argued case can sometimes turn the tide.

Navigating CPD Options

To avoid feeling overwhelmed, focus on what skills or knowledge will most benefit your current role or future career aspirations. Peer recommendations and professional advisors can also provide valuable guidance. Again, writing things down and keeping track of them is a skill that will help you with this.

Things That Will Help You Ease the CPD Challenges

A key thing that seems important for being able to effectively engage in CPD is writing things down. I personally like to use a mixed approach of digital and physical. We live in a very technology-heavy society so keeping tabs on paper helps me to take a break from all the computer work I do on a daily basis. It also just feels more rewarding to write it down on paper.

Online Learning Platforms

The rise of online learning platforms has made CPD more accessible and flexible. From webinars to e-courses, professionals can now engage in CPD from the comfort of their homes. The great thing about these is also that they often provide digital certificates that are easy to share and display.

CPD Tracking Tools

Digital tools for tracking CPD activities help in organizing and planning your CPD journey, ensuring you stay on track and can visualise your progress. These can be both digital and physical, depending on your preference. Examples include CPD journals, diaries, a folder of certificates, or even LinkedIn.

Online Organization Tools

You can also use digital tools to keep track of your progress and to get direction on what you need to do. LinkedIn is a great example of a free online tool that allows you to update and show your skills to other people, as well as connect with others, grow, and even compare yourself with others in your field to find out how you can improve. Other examples include Notion, any digital journal or social media. 

Physical Organization Tools

These can be especially helpful if you don’t want to rely on the internet or are not too savvy with technology. Alternatively, they are also helpful if you want to keep a copy at hand in your workplace so that you can present it with no time delay. CPD journals are the best for this. If you don’t know where to find such tools, you can always check out Newbee publications online. There, you will find many such tools (and even other helpful ones) to help you become your best self.


In conclusion, CPD and its recording are not just professional obligations; they're journeys of personal and professional transformation. My experience has taught me that, with a commitment to continuous learning, the sky's the limit in your professional life. Hopefully, this was helpful. If you need to find something that can help boost your professional career, please do check out Newbee Publications. They have a lot to offer that might be helpful for you. Take care and go be your best self!


Collin, K., Van der Heijden, B., & Lewis, P. (2012). Continuing professional development. International journal of training and development, 16(3), 155-163. 

Jackson, C., & Manley, K. (2022). Contemporary Challenges of Nursing CPD: Time to change the model to meet citizens’ needs. Nursing Open, 9(2), 880-891.

Suliman, Z., Kruger, W., & Pienaar, J. A. (2020). Continuing professional development (CPD): a necessary component in the workplace or not?. The Journal of Medical Laboratory Science and Technology of South Africa, 2(1), 41-45.