A development plan and properly kept records
are important Continuing Professional Development Program components.
They also make the regular reporting and random review processes
run more smoothly.
BY LARRY KELLY, P.ENG.
Professional Development Committee
The APEGGA Professional Development Committee reviews the
documentation that members submit when they have been selected
for random, Continuing Professional Development review. Many
members have responded well to the requirements of the CPD
Program and submit information that's acceptable in all respects.
However, it is becoming clear that many members are not creating
a development plan. Some are not keeping proper records, others
misunderstand the requirements of the program. As a result,
when audited, they change their reported professional development
hours on the basis of a more thorough review of the program
and their records.
Creating a development plan is critical. And although good
records are not the core of the program, going through them
is the only way we can audit a member's participation.
The Development Plan
The development plan is the heart of the program and should
answer the question, "What skills or knowledge do I need
to refresh or develop to maintain or enhance my competence
and/or advance my career?" How many items you list will
depend on your experience in the position. Here are some examples:
- Build project management skills by taking a project
management certificate program at the university
- Gain knowledge of seismic anisotropy theory by attending
a course at the university
- Develop effective presentation skills by attending
Toastmasters or an APEGGA sponsored seminar and presenting
the results of my project to senior management and the wider
- Keep current with developments in solder chemistry
and wave soldering machinery by reading
- Meet others and keep current with activities in the
field by attending luncheon meetings regularly
Choosing where to get this skill or knowledge depends on
the level you require. You'll also need to consider what's
available, the time you have and your preferred learning style.
In-house structured discussion, seminars, courses, reading
material and distance education (including on-line instruction)
can all be effective. As you perform the activity, record
the dates, descriptions, providers, CPD category, and professional
development hours earned.
The Activity Record
The best way to log your CPD activities is to record them
in the activity record APEGGA has on-line. You can download
it from the APEGGA website. See the information box with
However, any mechanism will do. Personally, I record each
event in a monthly planner and I keep the old planners for
about five years -- they don't take up much room. When APEGGA
requests the number of hours with the annual membership invoice,
I review the planner and copy the data into the activity record
and the category totals into the annual report form. If I
were more diligent and did that every week or month, no additional
work would be required.
My experience reviewing members' activity records suggest
that a few other areas require clarification
- Professional Practice includes performing technical functions,
managing technical professionals and "influencing"
the professions. If your job has non-technical responsibilities
(such as budgeting or human resource issues) which "influence"
the practice of the professions, those hours may be included
when calculating the number of hours for Professional Practice.
If audited, you need to demonstrate that you have given
some thought to what percentage of your time is actually
involved in the professions. For most members the answer
is obvious - 100 per cent. As you move into increasingly
more responsible positions, however, the answer requires
- A maximum of 20 hours can be claimed in the participation
category when your professional judgment or technical skills
are required. Volunteering with APEGGA or the technical
societies are examples. Only 10 hours can be claimed for
community participation in which your non-technical skills
- Only presentations outside your job scope qualify under
the presentations category.
- Keep track of the professional development activities
you've undertaken. Record the full date (April 27, 2002
- not spring 2002), topic, provider, CPD category and hours
- Professional development hours earned in excess of the
maximum that can be claimed in each category can be carried
forward for two years.
A revised Continuing Professional Development Guideline will
be available in 2003. It clarifies the process and includes
a number of excellent examples.
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