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Continuing Professional Development for Project Managers

It wasn’t long ago that CPD was used to refer to Continuing Professional Development. However, now it encompasses the much broader Changing Professional Development as well. CPD has changed quite a bit and for the better. There was for a time, from the mid 2010s, a significant focus on soft skills. However since 2020 this has changed to become more of a balance between business and core skills. What was mostly in person before Covid, and online during Covid has now settled into a more hybrid balance to reflect the changing working environment. But what does all of this mean for project managers?

Going online

The key trend that project managers will see in terms of CPD is that more and more workshops which would previously have been held in person are now going online. Conferences are still available in person, offering valuable opportunities for those who choose to attend to utilise the valuable networking opportunities that this has always provided, however a more hybrid approach is also creeping in with opportunities to attend conferences online. For some project managers this offers the opportunity to attend without having to spend time travelling; time that they could spend on their projects instead. This option can also offer financial savings as well, which in the current economic climate can be an important consideration.

Refocusing on core skills

With perhaps less attention having been given to core skills over recent years when it comes to CPD there is now more of a push to take a look at these . CPD itself is far more accessible and there are plenty of opportunities available which means that project managers will not be short of choice. Whether this is through additional qualifications like APM PPQ or through attending workshops,  working on those core project management skills is never a bad thing.

University graduates

There is another trend within the field of project management, and this is that a great many graduates are looking for roles within project management immediately after graduating. This is in direct contrast to those many professionals who have worked in the industry for years, worked their way up, taken the relevant courses for project managers and then finally risen to the top of their profession. This has meant that they have gained the relevant hard skills, and soft skills, along the way, better equipping themselves for the rigours of the role. 

These newer entrants to the role will not have had the opportunity to gain these appropriate skills within a workplace environment and CPD will play an essential role to them in providing opportunities to work on the skills that they do have.

One thing that can certainly help is workplace mentoring. This is a fantastic way in which more established project managers can pass on knowledge to those who are making their first moves within the role. Work placements also offer a valuable opportunity in this area and shouldn’t be overlooked. They can create valuable CPD opportunities for both parties.

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