The Institution of Royal Engineers (InstRE)

INSTITUTION OF ROYAL ENGINEERS
 
CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT (CPD)

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Introduction – The What
1.         CPD is understood across most professions as the systematic acquisition of knowledge and skills, and the development of personal qualities, to maintain and enhance professional competence [1].  All members of professional engineering institutions have an obligation to undertake CPD, and to support the learning of others. For Engineering Council registrants, this obligation underpins the value of the professional titles of Engineering Technician, ICT Technician, Incorporated Engineer and Chartered Engineer, as well as serving society and enabling it to have confidence in the engineering profession.
2.         CPD has several purposes, which will vary in relation to registrants’ circumstances, their needs and their career progression. Very often registrants will do CPD to assure their continuing competence in their current job. At other times, CPD may be done to enable a different role within or outside their organisation (which may have more management content or which may not be a pure engineering role). Equally, CPD may help them follow a longer term career development plan, or to enhance their professionalism in a wider context than a specific job role. The focus of registrants’ learning may therefore be on different areas of competence at different times. 
3.         CPD can also take a variety of different forms. At its heart is informal learning through the challenges and opportunities of working life, and interaction with others (eg colleagues, customers, suppliers) including professionals from other disciplines. However this may be supplemented by structured activities such as courses, distance learning programmes, private study, preparation of papers and presentations, mentoring, involvement in professional body activities, or relevant voluntary work. (This list is not intended to be exhaustive). Individual registrants are best placed to determine their needs and how to meet them. Often, employers or experienced colleagues will play a significant part in this, but individuals should be responsible and proactive in seeking professional development opportunities.
4.         While most engineering professionals undertake CPD, this is often on a casual basis, without any deliberate planning, recording of activities, or conscious reflection. Whatever its purpose or nature, learning through CPD should be reflective and should relate to specific objectives even if these are only to maintain professional engineering competence. Having a regularly reviewed development plan will facilitate learning, although there will always be a place for unplanned activities. Registrants should record both their CPD activities and what they have learned or achieved through them, and relate this to any planned objectives.  Doing this will help them to determine their future needs and plan accordingly, as part of a cyclical process. It will also encourage an outcome-based approach which is more appropriate to professional learning than relying solely on quantitative measures such as hours or points.
Institution of Royal Engineers CPD Policy
 
5.       InstRE recognises its responsibilities for CPD to:
 
a.         Recognise CPD as an integral part of its objectives, allocate responsibility and resources to carry out the policy and keep it under review and evaluate the effectiveness of the policy.
 
b.         Promote to registrants and employers the aims, importance and benefits of CPD achievements, contributing to business and individual success.
 
c.         Guide and support registrants to achieve benefits from CPD, being aware of their needs and encouraging provision within their technical discipline and related areas.
 
d.         Monitor, through an appropriate review system, the CPD of registrants.
6.      The essence of these responsibilities is recorded in the Institution’s Byelaws.[2]
7.      The following Institution activities support these CPD responsibilities:
 
a.         Joint Professional Meetings and access to other PEI learning opportunities.
 
b.         Publication of a learned Journal and other occasional Professional Papers. 
 
c.         Free access to the MyCareerPath© CPD Professional Development System (PDS) recording tool. 
 
d.         Guidance on the path to achieve professional registration (provided by the Route Advisory Panel).
 
e.         Provision of personal mentors and mentoring services to members seeking professional registration.
 
f.          A website with access to information on CPD, registration and other services.
 
g.         Annual seminars and access to EngC workshops to support members committed to supporting the learning of others. 
 
h.         Unit briefings and individual advice from staff and the Route Advisory Panel. 
 
i.          Working with employers, principally the Corps of Royal Engineer to recognise learning relevant to advancement and professional registration.
 
j.         From 2017, providing formal feedback on professional registrants’ CPD plans and records, on request or as part of a random sample.   The random sample shall be 5% of registrant members from each of the two cohorts EngTech and IEng/CEng.  The random sample shall exclude those who have been previously sampled in the past three years or who believe they may have grounds to be exempted[3].
CPD Responsibilities of Members who are Professional Registrants [4]
 
8.       Engineering Technicians, ICT Technicians, Incorporated Engineers and Chartered Engineers should take all necessary steps to maintain and enhance their competence through continuing professional development (CPD). In particular they should:
 
a.         Take ownership of their learning and development needs, and develop a plan to indicate how they might meet these, in discussion with their employer, as appropriate.
 
b.         Undertake a variety of development activities, both in accordance with this plan and in response to other opportunities which may arise.
 
c.         Record their CPD activities.
 
d.         Reflect upon what they have learned or achieved through their CPD activities and record these reflections.
 
e.         Evaluate their CPD activities against any objectives which they have set and record this evaluation.
 
f.          Review their learning and development plan regularly following reflection and assessment of future needs.
 
g.         Support the learning and development of others through activities such as mentoring, and sharing professional expertise and knowledge.
9.       From 2017 registrants may submit their previous year’s CPD record for review.  A small sample of registrants will also be invited to submit their CPD records and will receive feedback.
10.     The CPD record may take any form.  Further guidance and a sample format are provided at appendix 1-1-Q. CPD records and will receive feedback.
[1]  The five areas of technical and non-technical professional competence for Engineering Council registrants are set out in UK-SPEC and the ICT Technician Standard  

[2] The Institution of Royal Engineers has been established for the promotion and advancement of the science of military engineering and to promote military efficiency and particularly the military efficiency of the Corps of Royal Engineers. In furtherance of the above-mentioned objects but not otherwise the Institution may:
(a) promote education in the said science and the acquisition of historical scientific and professional knowledge;
(b) disseminate information and encourage debate;
(c) promote links with other branches of the engineering profession;
(d) encourage and publish the findings of research into ways in which the said science can be advanced.

[3] Grounds for exemption include retired registrants (those who are not professionally active) or those on career breaks for any reason (for example, maternity or paternity leave, parenthood, unemployment and so forth).  However many individuals in these categories will see real advantage in continuing their professional development outside the workplace.

[4] This section is taken directly from the Engineering Council CPD Code For Registrants: http://www.engc.org.uk/engcdocuments/internet/website/EngC_CPD_Code_for_Registrants.pdf