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Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in Construction

Dissertation: Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in Construction

Abstract

The following dissertation focuses on a personal development technique called Continuing Professional Development(CPD). With the world of construction constantly changing, professionals in the industry need to keep up to speed with the changing elements of the industry nationally and internationally.

This dissertation assesses the CPD process that the industry's institutions provide for members and assesses how CPD is carried out. It also looks at how beneficial CPD is to the professionals who participate and the company they work for.

By the end of this dissertation the role of these institutions should be easily identifiable in professional development and how participation can give working professionals a competitive edge on-site and help them progress in their careers both in and outside their existing company.

This dissertation also encapsulates the opinions of some of the professional members of the industry involved in CPD. It will assess how CPD has influenced them in their career and will make recommendations on how to refine the process.

Introduction

This chapter explains the core elements of the study which includes a definition, hypothesis, aims and objectives, parameters of study and research methodology.

Definition of Topic

The definition of CPD in general is continual learning, regardless of age or seniority, which focuses on professional competency in a professional role. Its aim is to improve personal performance and enhance career progression.

Over recent years the benefits of structured CPD have been identified within the construction industry. To become a chartered professional under a construction based institution(e.g. the Chartered Institute of Building(CIOB)) professionals must show they have been involved in a structured CPD process. Records must be maintained to show this before professionals may transgress.

With the current economic climate, construction professionals need to keep their knowledge and skills to the optimum to ensure progression within their company and give them an advantage when looking for work elsewhere. CPD not only applies to the working professional but also to those unemployed who want to increase their chances when opportunities occur.

Hypothesis

CPD improves the performance and enhances the career progression of a professional in the construction industry.

Aim of Dissertation

The aim of this dissertation is to produce a piece of work that explains the process of CPD in relation to the construction industry. The dissertation will also assess the advantages of CPD; identify why it is important and how it can be improved.

Objectives

The objectives of this dissertation are to:

Parameter of Study

This study contains a general overview of CPD in terms of professionalism as a whole in any career path. It then focuses on CPD specifically in the construction industry and gives an in depth analysis of the role of professional institutes and its members who participate. It also identifies how important CPD is the construction industry today, both to the individual themselves and the company that employ them.

Research Methodology

There were a number of different methods of research used to complete this study including both primary and secondary research which are detailed below.

Secondary Research:

Books

Various books were sourced both in the GMIT library and the online library of the CIOB. These books and extracts from books were used as a reference and for background information and reading. Some books covered CPD overall and others covered CPD specifically in the construction industry.

Electronic Journals

Official Reports & Surveys

Many of the reports and surveys read were carried out within the last decade in regard to the construction industry as well as CPD in other professions across the UK and in Ireland. These gave a good insight into CPD in other professions, what elements of CPD are important and in what direction CPD in construction is heading.

Internet

There was a mass of information available on the internet which contained both up-to-date and older material. Not all sources found were reliable, but pockets of valid information was uncovered throughout my research on the internet. Much background information was found which was helpful in getting different party's opinions on CPD and how it should be carried out.

Many official websites were also useful in getting information on how CPD is provided to individuals by professional bodies both in construction and outside too. A lot of information was gathered through these sites to establish how CPD was made available to construction professionals.

Primary Research:

The four leading professional bodies in construction were chosen as the basis of my primary study. These include the Chartered Institute of Building(CIOB), the Society of Chartered Surveyors(SCS), Engineers Ireland(IEI) and the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland(RIAI). All four institutes have many members from various construction backgrounds and play a major role in the development of these professionals through CPD.

Information on their CPD policy and practice was gathered and semi-structured interviews were then carried out with the relevant staff members of each institute to consolidate the information collected. Interviews were also carried out with members of the different institutes to get the receiver's point of view.

Format of Study

This thesis will be carried out using the following chapter:

Introduction to CPD

In Chapter 2 CPD will be looked at in relation to the entire working world. CPD can be applied to any profession but also has similarities to the personal development of an individual. With the global economy rapidly evolving, new patterns of work and learning have emerged worldwide. Massive growth in sectors like information technology(IT) means that people working in that sector need to keep up with the changes or they will be left behind.

The main purpose of continuing development personally is to maximise enjoyment of work and life. Therefore we need to be continually responding to the changing world around us.

“Are you living to work or working to live?”(Megginson & Whitaker, 2007)

Continuing Professional Development(CPD) is based around the whole concept self-motivation and self management. It all depends on how motivated the participant is to learn about the career they are undertaking and can apply to any professional in the working world. It is particularly relevant to professions such as teaching, nursing and accountancy where ongoing learning is crucial.(Megginson & Whitaker 2007)

“The most precious asset any professional controls is knowledge of the discipline and the skill to apply it effectively. Over the long run it is more important to maintain the value of this asset than the office, the furniture, the computer hardware, or even the bank account.”(www.riai.ie/cpd - Accessed 19/02/2010)

History of CPD

CPD has been around in various different forms for a long time. It is only over the past 25 years that CPD has been formalised and endorsed by professional membership bodies. Its history is as follows:

What is CPD?

CPD is a process completed by the majority of professionals in the working world, either consciously or unconsciously. Its main purpose is to implement a system of continued learning and development separate to what they would learn through their daily work. Two definitions of CPD are as follows:

“Continuing Professional Development(CPD) is the process by which individuals take control of their own learning and development, by engaging in an on-going process of reflection and action.”(Megginson, Whitaker, 2007)

“The systematic maintenance, improvement and broadening of knowledge and skills and the development of personal qualities necessary for execution of professional and technical duties throughout the individual's working life.”(Construction Industry Council, UK, 1986)

CPD has many functions in the role of a professional. It ensures the professional maintains a high level of competence in their field and has the up-to-date skills and knowledge to provide a competent service to their client or employer. CPD also has a knock-on effect which encourages further development in many areas.

This process empowers the individual to achieve their goals and encourages them to look at their career progression from a wider perspective. Self-motivation is a key element in this process, where the individual is the main driving force behind this new learning. It is their own responsibility to develop themselves and is not up their manager or employer. If the individual has no desire to learn CPD is a pointless process.

Feedback from a CPD survey in 2008 indicates that members see two key benefits in undertaking CPD: It helps them maintain their knowledge and skills, and maintain professional and ethical standards.(PARN CPD survey 2008)

Need for CPD

CPD has evolved from the individual's thinking that career progression not only relates to secure job within an organisation but by the skills, knowledge and experiences obtained by the individual. CPD is also needed to ensure working professionals are providing an adequate service to their clients and employers. Services such as advice must be given so that changes to the environment associated with the decision are taken into account. This ensures the client gets the best service available for the fee paid.

Soon to be professionals also need to maintain an adequate amount of CPD to progress to the next stage towards becoming chartered in most organisations. This goes a long way to fulfilling their need towards becoming a competent professional.

Core Concepts of CPD

How is CPD different to other types of training and development?

Methods of Learning through CPD

CPD revolves around the whole learning process and the methods with which learning is provided is a very important part of the process. These methods ensure professionals can improve their skills and knowledge and gain relevant experience.

Formal, non-formal and informal methods of learning include any process relevant to a profession that improves skills, knowledge and the experiences of a professional. CPD activities can include in-house training, open learning, conferences, seminars, workshops, structured reading, self-study, presentations and being a coach or mentor.

Structured & Unstructured CPD:

All CPD comes under the heading of structured or unstructured CPD. Structured CPD is where the learning outcomes are identified in advance of learning. This CPD does not have to be provided or accredited by the participant's institution or professional body. Structured CPD covers any educational event or programme run by a recognised educational or professional institution. Structured CPD must also be accompanied by attendance records or a certificate to prove process has been successfully completed.

Unstructured CPD is an unplanned CPD activity that can be completed at any time or anywhere at the participant's discretion. Activities that qualify as unstructured CPD include personal study or development, peer review and other activities such as case studies that are not part of other course requirements. Reflection on both of these CPD learning methods is crucial before CPD can be recorded.

CPD methods of learning do not necessarily need to be provided by a professional body. They can be provided by an employer or other organisation which then can be accredited by the body as a worthwhile process.

Constant reading of up to date reports, journals, magazines, newspapers and reviews relevant to a specific profession is probably the most common method. Reading is a very easy way of learning if the reader has an interest in the subject and puts the effort in to focus and concentrate on what they are reading.

It is a very efficient method as it can be resumed over the space of a few minutes and it does not entail the use of another individual's time. Time management is a massive element in any professional's working life where they are always working to tight schedule. This means they may only have a few minutes a day to set aside for CPD of which reading is the perfect filler.

Conferences and the gathering of professionals at CPD events are a fixed way of delivering CPD to practicing professionals. These may take place every few months and give attendees a chance to catch up with fellow professionals and discuss relevant issues. They may exchange ideas or opinions and can get in touch with useful contacts which may be important in the future.

Seminars and lectures are also common where a leader of a profession may speak or organise a talk on issues that are changing the roles and lives of a professional or the industry they work in. Experts in the field may be asked to explain some new issue and give an opinion on what should be done. It is very important for professional bodies to hold these gatherings as it can influence and guide the way in which professionals across the world carry out there work.

With resources on the internet constantly being upgraded it has now become very beneficial to CPD. Information is now much more accessible to the professional in their workplace, this method of learning is commonly known as e-learning. Readable information does not necessarily need to be sent to the professional's workplace anymore as these sources are now regularly being uploaded on professional body websites which are available 24 hours a day. This means waiting times are virtually eliminated as most magazines, reports and other such information are now available on the internet.

Videos of seminars, conferences and podcasts can now be easily accessed which means information can be dispersed quickly and accurately straight to the professionals computer. This is a major time saving method as travelling times are eliminated and a much wider audience can be reached at one time. Assessments can also be uploaded onto a professional body's website immediately after learning has taken place or can be submitted by email at any time. Records are much more easily kept when communicating through the internet; most websites make records accessible to professional membership which makes reflection a lot easier too.

Professionals can be trained through workplace training which trains a small group of professionals within a company(s) on a specific topic. This method encourages participants to get more involved and can increase their understanding of the topic.

A full list of CPD activities may include:

Professional Bodies

CPD is crucial to the success of any working professional. One crucial factor that determines the effectiveness of CPD to a professional is the professional body that provides the platform for this new learning. The majority of professional bodies, such as the CIOB, are non-profit making organisations that are established to support their professional members.

They work to try and satisfy the needs of a specific group of people who work in the same field. Professional bodies simply started out as a group of professionals who got together to discuss relevant issues in their field and share ideas. There are hundreds of these bodies and institutes set up all over the world dealing in a multitude of different professions and even ordinary jobs, from secretaries to project managers.

Professional organisations aim to assist and direct their members on the road to success. This is achieved by providing the tools to sharpen the professional's skills and knowledge. Being a member means you have unlimited access to all the educational resources and services needed to continue your professional development. They provide members with information, training, education, tips, advice and strategies to assist them in reaching the height of their professional career.

It gives many opportunities to mingle with fellow professionals and employers in their specific field which could be of benefit when seeking career opportunities. This is one major reason why professionals join these organisations, to be recognised by the body and their codes of practice. Membership indicates to the existing or future employers that the individual is dedicated and has ambition to succeed in their profession.

Professional bodies are also there to promote professionalism in their industry and help push members to achieve the standards of excellence associated with their profession. They are committed to developing and maintaining standards and policies for education within their profession and can also push for social awareness and debate. Some organisations can even influence government and industrial policy decisions.(www.nightcourses.com)

CPD within Professional Bodies

CPD was originally developed as part of the main objectives set out by these organisations, to educate their members. This process evolved and continual learning was identified as a pivotal part of the education process. This identifies clearly with the last three decades or so where the world of business has changed dramatically in every aspect. Professionals can no longer be content with sufficient skills and knowledge at a point in time, but have to be continually updating them to have a chance of survival. Professional bodies can now satisfy these needs through the use of CPD.

The following figures from a survey carried out in the UK by the Professions Associations Research Network(PARN) show how widely CPD is used.

85% of professional bodies have CPD Policies in place

(PARN survey for the International Accounting Education Standards Board(IAESB))

Recording & Assessing CPD

There are a number of different ways in which CPD can be recorded and assessed. This a crucial part of the process which is being implemented more and more. Recording what is learned is beneficial to both the participant and the body who assess them.

Input based CPD is the most commonly used system where CPD is measured by recording the amount of time put into the process by the participant through the amount of hours they put in. Most professional bodies regulate the number of hours a professional needs to put in to progress within the organisation. This system is not as accurate as some other methods as the effort put in by the participant cannot be assessed. Smaller bodies tend to have more input-based CPD than the larger bodies as fewer resources are needed to run the programme compared to other systems. Input-based schemes are most commonly used in health, finance, law, business and management, with professional bodies with regulatory responsibilities currently favouring input-based schemes.

Output-based CPD is another common system where the participant is assessed on what they have learned through CPD over a period of time. A regular peer review is a common method of assessment where experienced members of the profession review what has been learned. CPD can be self assessed also where participants reflect on what they have learned and how this can be applied to their daily working lives. Professional bodies may also require their members to complete an assessment or report directly after learning and send it to their body so it can be assessed and recorded. Engineering, construction and media bodies use mostly output-based schemes to assess their member's progress.

66% of professional bodies measure CPD

CPD Cycle

The CPD cycle is similar to most other management cycles and contains four key elements planning, action, evaluation and reflection on action. The cycle can be entered at two points, reflection on practice and action, but always ends at evaluation no matter which starting point is chosen.

CPD in Construction

Introduction

The need for CPD is widely acknowledged in the construction industry. There are three main parties that need to co-operate fully in order to extract the most from CPD, the professional themselves, their employer and the professional body they are a member of. All three have responsibilities to uphold to carry out successful CPD which will be discussed later in the chapter. Other parties that also play a part include the government and independent CPD providers.

The Individual Professional

Whatever CPD is being undertaken the individual professional is central and has full control over what is learned and how much development occurs. Motivation is key in this aspect, no motivation means minimal learning and development takes place. Professionals may be self-motivated through their own drive or ambition to achieve; this can also be linked to the personality of the professional. Their working environment and the people around them can have significant affect also on a professional's motivation or will to achieve.

Construction like many other industries forces the professionals working within it to constantly improve and is never at a stand still. From the day a professional graduates their skills and knowledge is gradually being out-dated and need to be improved to keep up to scratch.

Most professional bodies set up a framework for their members to work from but it is the individuals own responsibility to implement this framework appropriately. This framework sets out various techniques to plan, implement, review and evaluate CPD.

The Employer

The employer can be very influential on how effective CPD is on the professionals they employ. The employer's mind set and understanding of CPD is crucial in facilitating professionals with an adequate environment to carry out CPD. There are many benefits to the employer who invests time and money into the CPD needs of their employees which are explained below.

To have the optimum effect employer must encourage their professionals to part take in CPD both at the workplace and with other CPD providers. This may be achieved by allowing professionals time off during working on an ongoing basis to complete external training courses, in-house training and other CPD events. Employers co-funding of CPD is also important to show the professional that they are being backed by their employer and that there is no financial downside on the professional by completing CPD.

The employees of a good company are one of its most important assets. Supporting professional's CPD reaps many benefits for the company as a whole in the long run. Professionals become more competent in their jobs, increasing job satisfaction, and have a wider knowledge of the overall construction industry. They can also boost the knowledge and skills they have in a specific field and learn more about other areas in which they have an interest in. This may give them an extra dimension when opportunities in that area occur.

Through allowing professionals to be trained and advised outside of the company, a stead stream of fresh knowledge and techniques is constantly flowing into the company. These techniques and knowledge can then be passed down to other employees and used throughout the company.

CPD Costs

The cost of attending seminars can be offset, by certain practices and self-employed professionals, against tax as a business expense.

Professional Bodies in Construction

Professional bodies are the key to the advancement of any professional in construction. Without them there would be no base for the continual learning and development of professionals outside their workplace. They provide a suitable environment and many useful resources for professionals to increase their knowledge and sharpen their skills.

Each institution's definition of CPD varies to some extent and their policies tend to go in line with their interpretation of what CPD is. However the majority agree that CPD is essential. CPD was applied to the construction area in the 1980's and has become a crucial part of all professions involved in construction.

The affects CPD has on a body's members depends on how well their CPD policy is structured and how well the policy is implemented. Both are vital factors and need to be assessed before and during implementation to ensure they impact successfully on members.

The core group of four professional bodies, studied later, within the construction industry are all old and established institutes, but they are the professional bodies of a large percentage of Irish professionals in the industry today. They are all well over 100 years old, whether they were established in Ireland or established in Britain and an Irish branch formed. These four institutes cater for managers, engineers, surveyors of every kind and architects in construction, but may also accept various other professionals whose work relates to construction but are not necessarily linked to construction as a whole profession, lawyers or legal professionals are a prime example.

Some professionals can interlink between institutes and become a member in both if the specific area they are working in is better covered by another institute. Over the last century, especially the latter part, many smaller bodies were founded to benefit more specific professions in construction ranging from consulting engineers to arbitrators.

Two basic models of CPD provisions can be identified both in older, well established bodies and smaller bodies which were founded more recently for specific professions and are still developing.

The ‘sanctions model' is typically used in the older bodies where CPD policies are mandatory and members are threatened with certain sanction if requirements of the CPD policy are not met. These CPD policies are normally instigated to demonstrate standards of professional competence and focus on updating the skills and knowledge of the professional. The effectiveness of these policies are measured in terms of how well members comply with the requirements rather than how much is learned.

Other professional bodies who have introduced CPD more recently have adopted the ‘benefits model' which is a voluntary CPD policy. The aim of a voluntary CPD policy is for members to gain or improve their professional standing so they can compete better with more established professions in their field. Participants are rewarded by an academic or competence based qualifications for complying with the policy and are encouraged to implement learning into practice.

Chartered Institute of Building(CIOB)

CIOB in Ireland

The CIOB was established in Ireland in the 1960's and has a growing membership of over 2,750 members. The CIOB in Ireland is a branch off of its English counter part which includes five centres around the country and currently employs four staff members. The five centres are situated in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Belfast and Derry.

There are five different levels of CIOB membership and are as follows:

CPD within the CIOB

CPD underpins the value of a professional qualification and is a vital part of professional life for any CIOB member. Each member is obliged to maintain CPD on their route to becoming a professional member and throughout their professional career.

The CIOB Rule 13 of the Rules of Professional Competence and Conduct states:

“Members shall keep themselves informed of current thinking and developments appropriate to the type and level of their responsibility. They should be able to provide evidence that they have undertaken sufficient study and personal development to fulfil their professional obligations in accordance with current guidelines for Continuing Professional Development(CPD)”.(http://www.cbcschemes.org.uk-Accessed 26/10/2009)

All professional members must undertake CPD and show the Fellowship Committee that sufficient study and personal development has taken place so that professional obligations are fulfilled.

The CIOB has incorporated an online member's area on the CIOB website where all CPD activities can be recorded. All members do not have to record CPD online but may be asked to submit their records to be checked at random by the CPD monitoring programme. It is the responsibility of each member to develop their own CPD plan, keep record of all activities and evaluate these activities on an annual basis.

A set number of hours are not required to comply with CPD regulations. The amount of CPD expected depends on each individual's circumstances but must be appropriate to their responsibilities and ongoing development.

The CIOB provides a wide range of resources to assist members in their CPD programmes. CPD guidelines, forms and templates are made available to participants to give them a good idea of what is required of them. Many local and regional events are organised to meet members CPD needs and relevant training and CPD providers are also recommended by the CIOB. Online resources have become hugely beneficial to continual learning. Members can now access and order books from the CIOB library and view any recent publications which saves both money and time for the institute and the professional.

The Society of Chartered Surveyors(SCS)

The SCS is a professional body for chartered surveyors set up in the Republic of Ireland and dates back to 1895 and the foundation of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors(RICS) in Britain. The SCS is a registered charity and operated as the Irish branch of the RICS until 1993 when it became fully independent. The organisation now has a membership of over 2200 with 1,000 more undergoing their assessment of professional competence(APC). The SCS caters for a wide range of professionals: building surveyors, general practitioners, geomatics and land surveying, planning and development, quantity surveyors, mineral surveyors and rural practice surveyors.

A key role of the society is protecting the public interest, as well as their professional members. Society members operate to a very strict code of conduct for the protection of the public and consumers, which is very important in terms of credibility and the reputation for integrity of their members.

Among the society's key functions is the maintenance of the highest educational and professional standards. To become a chartered member, applicants must have the relevant experience and qualifications required to deliver a top quality service. Education is another area in which the SCS has an active role through accrediting various undergraduate courses and providing a wide range of CPD options as well as more intensive training. Other activities include the publishing of a quarterly magazine - the SCS Review-and lobbying activities, from making submissions on legislation, such as pre-Budget submissions, with both the profession and the public's interest in mind.

Chartered status is not awarded to any applicant until two years of structured work is complete, of which learning on the job is central. An Assessment of Professional Competence(APC) also has to be completed through the assessment of an individual over a two year period, which includes an interview at the end of the two years. This assessment measures business, communication, law, technical skills, environmental awareness and ethics. The surveyor is then eligible to become a member of the RICS, the SCS's British counterpart, which is recognised worldwide.

CPD within the SCS

CPD is a vital part of any professional's career and is highly rated by the SCS to keep professionals well informed on the latest developments in the construction and property industry in Ireland. In their professional life, surveyors of every kind will witness many legislative changes, technological advances and market fluctuations, falling behind is simply not an option. From the first day of college through to the last day of retirement, education is a key part of a surveyor's life.

CPD is free to all member but all members have an obligation to achieve 60 hours of CPD in each three-year period. The SCS provides regular lectures for an hour a week in various locations and also holds some half-day seminars which are very beneficial for members. The SCS now has an auditing and tracking system in place so that monitor their CPD hours. In the current economic climate, the SCS is now aiming to assist members with ongoing employability due to increase of unemployed worker in the profession. CPD is very important in this regard, just because someone is out of a job doesn't mean they have left the profession. Continuing education is always a viable option in order to maintain and improve their knowledge and skills.

Engineers Ireland(IEI)

The IEI is one of the oldest and largest professional bodies in Ireland, representing the engineering profession since 1835. With over 24,000 members from every discipline of engineering, ranging from students to fellows of the profession, the IEI is the primary representative of engineers in Ireland. After 1969 the Institution of Civil Engineers and Cumann na nInnealtoiri merged to form the Institution of Engineers of Ireland and was later renamed Engineers Ireland.

Engineers Ireland provides a community for engineers where the standards of professional engineering are established and maintained and knowledge of engineering is promoted. Engineers Ireland maintains standards of professional ethics and conduct that covers the organisation and its members. As a representative of engineers in Ireland, it is Engineers Ireland's job to influence Government decisions and ensure that engineer's contribution to the economy and the nation is recognised.

Members of Engineers Ireland receive instant recognition of their professional skills and qualifications both nationally and internationally. Members have access to a range of resources such as advice and practical assistance to help members develop professionally and improve their career prospects. Engineers Ireland organises events around the country and provides an online profession network for their members. The IEI has a number of professional and educational initiatives in place including CPD, programme accreditation and corporate affiliate membership.

Professional titles are awarded to IEI members according to their qualification. These titles include:

CPD within Engineers Ireland

Engineers Ireland has a range of CPD development services to help their members stay ahead in a dynamic construction industry. These include a comprehensive range of training courses and events open to members and a CPD Accredited Employer scheme. These CPD events are the cornerstone for the development of all professional engineers today.

The aim of this CPD programme is to address the main development needs of professional engineers today. This programme promotes, organises and delivers a wide range of training courses, seminars and workshops and is available as a public course and within a company course. They are set up in such a way as to ensure members are up-to-date in their respective disciplines with the latest developments, trends and best practice.

Some Engineers Ireland's most popular courses include:

The more popular courses may be carried out through an in-company training option. Training is carried out at the company's own location which can cut down on staff travel expenses and reduce the time staff spent away from work. Specific company requirements can also be incorporated into the course to increase the benefits to staff.

Another key component of Engineers Ireland's CPD programme is The Register of Training Providers. Training providers are endorsed by the institution and placed on the register once they have met the criteria of adequate quality assurance procedures. This register allows both companies and individuals to easily identify relevant and high standard learning opportunities and ensures courses and events are of a high quality and are consistently presented. These providers come from various backgrounds from education, construction and manufacturing to information and communication technology(ICT).

Engineer Ireland's CPD Accredited Employer Standard

This standard highlights organisations that have systems in place to help engineering staff to grow and develop throughout their professional career. It aims to assist employers in facilitating their engineers to become and remain:

To be considered for CPD Accredited Employer status, certain criteria must be fulfilled, 8 mandatory and 4 advisory.

Mandatory criteria for accreditation must include the following good CPD systems and practices:

Under the advisory criteria, employers of more than 100 engineers and technicians will be asked to address:

Under the CPD Accredited Employer Standard companies can take advantage of a range of other tools including employee mentoring and NuThink. NuThink concerns the use of customer focused innovation tools and techniques to identify areas of opportunity and develop concepts for potential business advantage.

Two prestigious CPD related events are organised by the IEI every year, the Company of the Year Award and the Accredited Employer Symposium. The CPD Company of the Year recognises and rewards the employers of engineering professionals who incorporate CPD and demonstrate its benefits. The CPD Symposium is a high level learning and networking event exclusively for CPD Accredited employers which shares best practice case studies and introduces new concepts of CPD for all sizes of organisations.

Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland(RIAI)

The RIAI was established in 1839. It is a support and regulatory body for architects and technicians in Ireland. The RIAI's statutory function as Registration Body and Competent Authority for Architects in Ireland is completely self-funded and receives no state aid or government funding. The aim of the RIAI is to uphold the highest standards in architecture provide impartial and authorative advice and information on issues affecting architects, society and the built environment.

“RIAI works to maintain and develop an environment in which good architecture and a quality built environment can be delivered by architects to the social, cultural, economic and environmental benefit of Ireland.”(www.riai.ie-Accessed 10/02/2010)

The RIAI maintains a high standard of professional competence through examination prior to membership, a policy of CPD and a large resource of information and advice for all members.

RIAI represents the views of its members on architectural and built environment issues to the media, through liaison with Government, Local Authorities, State Agencies and EU and International organisations. RIAI are represented in a number of industry bodies including Construction Industry Council(CIC), Irish Aggregate Board and the National Construction and Demolition Waste Council.

RIAI hosts a range of different architectural awards each year. The premier award for architecture in Ireland is the RIAI Gold Medal for buildings completed within a defined three year period. These building may be evaluated some years later to ensure it is evaluated in a mature state. Other awards include the Silver Medal of Housing and for Restoration and Conservation. These awards recognise and celebrate architectural achievements each year and are exhibited nationwide.

RIAI publishes a number of magazines throughout the year. The Official Journal of the RIAI is Architecture Ireland which concentrates on keeping architects up-to-date and giving coverage to Irish architecture and architects. Other publications include House which gives future house owners advice on working with architects and New Housing 2 Better Built Communities.

CPD within the RIAI

One of the RIAI's most important roles is to provide members with the technical and intellectual support needed to continue delivering an effective service to society. CPD is crucial for continued employment and career advancement of all architects in today's competitive world of construction. The RIAI's first formal policy regarding CPD was introduced in 1998. This was then strengthened by the drafting up of a new policy to give the consumer more protection, to promote high quality architecture and to support the overall profession.

CPD learning is measured on an outcome basis where the participant is expected to know, understand and be able to apply what has been learned on successful completion of the activity. The RIAI requires its members to maintain a minimum level of CPD involvement. Each member must accumulate at least 40 hours of CPD activity, 20 hours structured and 20 hours unstructured CPD per annum. One hour of learning time represents one CPD point. Every member of the RIAI must also undertake at least one part of the RIAI CPD refresher course every year, this can take the form of an online seminar and addresses changes in the areas of statutes and regulations, building contracts and any other matters that the RIAI thinks should be brought to the attention of their members.

A range of CPD courses are on-going to inform members on external events such as new legislation, the needs of member's and recommendations by the RIAI's CPD Advisory Committee. All RIAI events are assessed by the institute to help members identify their CPD content. Each event is assigned CPD hours and learning outcomes which are then circulated to members through publications and on the RIAI website.

The RIAI supports an Online CPD System to help members in their CPD programmes. There are many resources available on this system. Basic RIAI documentation such as practice notes, lists of relevant legislation and useful reference publications are all included. The institute has also established a ‘Standard of Knowledge, Skill and Competence' for each grade of membership through the Online CPD System. These standards are the backbone of the CPD system and allow members to easily assess their level of expertise and plan their future learning.

The RIAI has a CPD record system in place called RIAI CPD Engage of which all members must use to record their CPD. This system enables regular recording of CPD and encourages its members to plan and undertake CPD effectively through providing key information and tools. Each professional member is advised to assess their own CPD needs to identify how much learning is needed and what learning is relevant to the area they specialise in.

The RIAI also runs a CPD Network system whereby manufacturers and suppliers to the construction industry can get their literature approved, so their material can be published under the ‘RIAI CPD Network' logo. This material or event can be used by RIAI members to boost their CPD hours once the logo is present.

A CPD Advisory Committee has also been set up by the RIAI. Its role is identify the professions CPD needs, satisfy these needs as necessary, accredit CPD events or material and review the performance of the CPD policy in action.

Interview Analysis

Introduction

This chapter analyses the responses to the interviews carried out to get the expert knowledge and opinion of people involved in CPD within the construction industry.

These responses were then analysed so the aims and objectives of this dissertation could be met.

Two sets of four interviews were carried out, one set for CPD staff within the four main professional bodies in the construction industry and the other set for four professional members of each institute who take part in CPD. All interviewees were asked to give details of their work and membership as part of the interview. The responses to all interviews carried out can be seen in Appendix A and Appendix B.

Interview(Institute Members)

Introduction

Four professional members of each institute, involved in the academic area, who carry out CPD regularly were interviewed for the purposes of this study. Four lectures from GMIT were interviewed in person and asked 17 questions on CPD within their profession and institute.

These four members were chosen as they are all involved with one of the institutes for a good period of time and have good knowledge of how the institute is run and how CPD works within their institute. They also have regular contact with professionals in the working field and know how important learning is for progression and how best practice teaching and learning can be achieved. Interviews took approximately half an hour to complete, where interviewees were given the list of questions and was then recorded in writing.

Interview Response Analysis

  1. How does CPD benefit your everyday working life?
  2. Response Analysis: “Keeps me up to date” and “more information can be passed on to students” were the main points highlighted. “Keeps me up to date” would be the most common response when highlighting the benefits of CPD.

  3. What methods of CPD would you participate in on a regular basis? Meetings, seminars, etc?
  4. Response Analysis: All participants attend lectures and seminars run by their institute and outside their institute and read publications such monthly magazines or issues published through their institute. Two lecturers considered research for classes and lectures as CPD and two coach students in their specific studies.

  5. Which methods do find to be most beneficial? Why?
  6. Response Analysis: Two lecturers responded saying formal courses that focus on relevant issues and the others said varied activities and specific article of interest are better. One commented that seminars and lectures can be too vague and not cover exactly what the individual wants to learn.

  7. When would you most likely carry out CPD? Lunch time? Out of working hours? During working hours?
  8. Response Analysis: Two carry out their CPD normally at home as time is an issue when preparing lectures in work and two carry out CPD both at home and at work, saying that researching for lectures was a CPD activity.

  9. How is your CPD measured? Hours/Assessment? How accurate do you think this method of measurement is for assessing learning through CPD?
  10. Response Analysis: All institutes tend to measure their members CPD on an hours basis, which is monitored at random by the institute. CPD hours per annum range from 20 to 40 hours with the RIAI splitting hours required into 20 structured and 20 unstructured.

  11. What methods do you use to record CPD? Online?
  12. Response Analysis: All institutes now have an online recoding system available to members but none of the professionals interviewed used the facility to record their CPD. This is due to complications online or they record it themselves through a diary. Some interviewees had the opinion that CPD for older members was not monitored as much, as older professional especially in the academic area carried out more than enough CPD.

  13. What resources are available to members of your institute that would benefit CPD? Publications? Library access?
  14. Response Analysis: Most responses rated magazines published by their institute very high as good way of learning and an accurate way of providing information and time effective. E-mail correspondence and facilities on institute's website such as web casts were also said to be beneficial. Timeliness of correspondence and receiving magazine in the post was also highlighted as an issue that needs to be addressed in some bodies.

  15. Does your professional body have a structured CPD system in place for its members?(Planning, action, evaluation and reflection) Explain?
  16. Response Analysis: The members of the SCS and IEI were not aware of a structured CPD system being in place for members or its implementation. The CIOB and RIAI do encourage structured CPD and the CIOB may also request proof of structure CPD and imply sanctions if they are not satisfied.

  17. Do you think CPD events are a good networking opportunity for professionals? Why?
  18. Response Analysis: All members agreed adamantly that such events are a good method of networking with working professionals around the region so issues in the industry can be discussed. Tomas Murphy even suggested that since time to socialise was incorporated in one of their events attendance at the event has grown significantly.

  19. In your opinion should students in construction related courses in college be made more aware of CPD and its benefits?
  20. Response Analysis: All candidates definitely responded that students should be made more aware of CPD at college and that learning should not stop after they have finished college. One response said that students should be encourage to attend CPD events and one described how by moving some of their events from a nearby hotel to GMIT that cost were cut and nearly 200 students attended as it was easily accessible.

  21. How can construction companies encourage professional employees in relation to CPD?
  22. Response Analysis: It is evident from these answers that companies should promote the benefits of CPD to their professionals and facilitate them both in relation to time and financially. Through doing this companies will also benefit through having a work force that is at the cutting edge in their own particular area.

  23. Why is it important to encourage professionals to continue learning and development at an early stage in their career even if they have just finished college?
  24. Response Analysis: All members identified that college is only the start of learning if a professional and CPD is vital to ensure professionals are competent and not negligent especially in relation to new legislation and regulations. It was also pointed out that professionals may loose incentive to continue CPD after they become a chartered member as regulations are not as stringent.

  25. In what way do you think CPD can benefit a professional's performance especially in relation to new legislation and regulations coming into the construction industry?
  26. Response Analysis: All participants agreed that CPD can benefit professionals by making them aware of what changes are happening that might affect their performance.

  27. Do you think the benefits of carrying out CPD are proportionate to the effort put in by the individual? Why?
  28. Response Analysis: All members agreed that the benefits are proportionate to effort but that depends on the type of activity, the attitude of the professional and the presentation by the institute. Professionals must be motivated to learn during CPD activities and not just doing it to build up CPD hours.

  29. How does CPD boost a professional's chances of career progression in construction?
  30. Response Analysis: Being a chartered member of a professional body is crucial for a professional to progress to the highest level in any industry. All professional bodies require their members to complete a certain amount of CPD before they are assessed.

    CPD is not seen to be very significant for professional seeking promotion within a company. It was also highlighted that larger companies tend to rate CPD higher than smaller companies as their systems in place are more structured. Some employer though, may see that through successfully completing CPD professionals have more interest in their work and are highly motivated.

  31. Through carrying out CPD would you think a need for continual learning is instilled into a professional's way of thinking, regardless of their level of academic achievement and the level of experience they have?
  32. Response Analysis: Most members thought that this was the case but some said CPD needs to be promoted and regulated more across all professions. Concern was also expressed for unemployed professionals and graduates leaving college who will cease to develop if CPD is not provided in some way.

  33. What recommendations if any would you suggest to improve CPD within your institute?
  34. Response Analysis: Many different suggestions were made about CPD in the various institutes. Tomas Murphy of the SCS suggested that CPD presented by professionals may be the way forward to irradiate shortfalls in the presentation techniques of professionals who provide CPD to fellow professionals. Other suggestions were made about how CPD activities could be more effective, by making events more workshop orientated and providing assistance to members on the internet.

    Three comments were also made about how location in the country can be a disadvantage to members as the majority of events are based in the Dublin and it is not worthwhile for western members as travel complications must be considered. Martin Taggart of the CIOB suggested collaborating the events of different institutes to reduce cost provide a greater range of topics for members. John Hanahoe of the IEI and CIOB also identified that timing of information being passed down to members is a significant that needs to be addressed in some institutions. The cost of CPD events were also highlighted which are additional to membership fees in some institutions.

Conclusion

This section of the primary research is seen as a crucial element of the study as it goes a long way towards satisfying the initial objectives set out. The interview questions were set out in such a way to encourage the interviewee to give information that helps answer some of the questions raised at the preliminary stage of the study regarding the benefits of CPD and CPD within their professional body.

A number of the aims and objectives set out at the start of this dissertation were met through carrying these interviews with relevant members of professional bodies who participate in CPD. Through carrying out these interviews a number of the advantages to CPD were identified which highlight the importance of CPD to professionals. Some of the feedback received on the performance of the professional bodies studied identifies how much each CPD system differs to another and where they fall short.

Other objectives satisfied through this element of the study are as follows:

  1. Establish how important CPD is to each participant's professional performance, development and career progression.
  2. Establish how important effective CPD is to a professional's performance and the company that employ them.
  3. Gather together the opinion of working professional in the construction industry on the benefits of CPD.

Overall institute members considered CPD as an essential element in a professions journey to become and remain competent within their field. One point that stands out is the differences that exist between the institute's CPD provisions even though they provide for similar professions. Their whole methods of providing, recording, measuring and monitoring CPD vary considerably. The regulation of their members CPD is slack in some areas depending on the age and area of work ie education.

Interview(Institute's CPD Staff)

Introduction

Members of staff from the four main professional bodies within the industry in Ireland, which are detailed in the previous chapter, were selected to be interviewed for the purposes of this study. These bodies include the CIOB, the SCS, Engineers Ireland and the RIAI. All of the staff chosen for interview are involved directly in providing CPD for the members of the institute and have a good knowledge of how CPD within their institute.

CPD staff from the relevant institutes were chosen for interview to get up to date and detailed information on the CPD system that each institute has in place for their members. These interviews were carried out over the phone as it was more convenient for interviewees and it saved time and hassle regarding travel arrangements. A list of questions were sent to interviewees via email before interview took place to ensure no misunderstandings occurred and responses were recorded in writing by the author.

Interview Responses

  1. Has the institute a voluntary or compulsory CPD system in place? Why is this method used and what are its advantages?
  2. What sanctions if any are in place for members who do not comply with CPD regulations?
  3. What CPD material and services are made available to members by the institute?
  4. Which CPD activities do you think are most beneficial to members? Why?
  5. How are the benefits of CPD activities promoted by the institute to members?
  6. On what basis are the topics to be covered in CPD events chosen?(New legislation or regulations?)
  7. Is there a CPD policy in place? What are the aims of this policy?
  8. Is the CPD policy periodically reviewed and assessed with a view to improving the effectiveness of the policy in place?
  9. How does the institute aid members in relation to their individual CPD and compliance with the CPD programme?
  10. Is measurement of CPD input based, output based or outcome based? Why is this method of measurement used?
  11. Is feedback from members encouraged regarding CPD activities?
  12. How do members record CPD and are these records monitored?
  13. How are the majority of CPD events financed?
  14. Does the institute collaborate with any other professional bodies, CPD providers or employers in relation to providing CPD for members?
  15. Why is it important to encourage professionals to continue learning and development at an early stage in their career even if they have just finished college?

Conclusions & Recommendations


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