CPD Planning

The Engineering Council CPD Code states that those of us who are registered should "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.".

For many of us this means starting the year by putting together some goals for our development that year. To put together those goals, I have often used a SWOT analysis. However, I find this a little disjointed and easy to find myself thinking about my role within the organisation rather then myself as the product. I find that  it is challenging to turn this analysis into potential CPD as sometimes its a strength you want to develop and sometimes a weakness. Choosing which should be the priority often feels like a coin toss.

I've come across a discussion outlining a few other potential methods of performing that analysis, including PESTLE (which I've come across froma business management perspective), SOAR, NOISE and SCORE. There are no doubt other methodologies as well.

My question - has anyone used any of these other techniques as part of CPD planning. if so, is there any reflective learning that can be shared from the experience?

Many Thanks,


  • Hi Mark,

    Well that was met with resounding silence! I must say I've never met anyone (thinking of staff and mentees I've had over the years) who's thought about it in that much structure - it's tended to be much more basic of "what would I like to develop to get a promotion / more interesting job", "what do I need to develop because I think I'll be out of a job if I don't" and similar prompts from my side from the employer's perspective. 

    But that said, I'm aware that I've been lucky enough to generally work with people in relatively unstable environments where circumstances force these types of thoughts anyway. Whereas occasionally in the day job (particularly when I was associated with manufacturing), and relatively often in my PRA role, I come across engineers who've been doing the same role for many years and probably do need a bit of structure to give them a kick to think "am I really as ok as I think I am?" I see you're working in the rail industry too now Mark, so I expect you know exactly what I mean!

    Doesn't really answer your question, but might take it somewhere,



  • Thanks Andy.

    Yes, I could easily visualise the tumbleweeds on this thread.

    My question came from that I was looking at what advice would I give someone who had received feedback on their CPD submission that it was not adequate. So, as a requirements engineer, I dug into what the Engineering Council expects. The Engineering Council has a fairly concise set of expectation which including planning, variety and reflection.

    My own submission is very biased to volunteering and my plan is equally biased to this, but that is in part because my work/employment plan lives on that system and I don't mirror it across. But even that plan is really about what my employer expects me to do this year, not necessarily what I want.

    I find the business planning tools a little disjointed.bMaybe we need questions that are a little more open and reflective in nature?

    Who are you?

    What do you what?

    Why are you here?

    Where are you going?

    Best Regards,


  • Yes, I think that's a good approach - again thinking back to how I've handled formal performance review meetings when I had staff. The "where would you like to be in 2/5 years time question?" is a good one to prompt what might be appropriate CPD. Even if the answer's "still doing what I'm doing now", for them to (as you suggest with the SWOT approach) think about what might change around them which means they need to run to stand still.

    So I think there is another question, which is really core to CPD for professional registrants, which is "Where might you fall behind if you don't learn to keep up to date?" In my case, irrespective of new stuff I'm doing, I need to keep up to dates as standards and regulations get updated, for others (and myself back when I was doing proper engineering Wink) it will be keeping up with the technology.

    I'll admit I'm not actually a great one for planned CPD, yes there will be bits of it that we plan, but I tend to feel that for most practicing engineers most of their CPD arises from life in the day job. John Lennon's CPD guidance: "life is what happens when you're busy making other plans"!  In the last 6 years since I moved into consultancy I can only off hand think of two bits of CPD I actually planned to do, and indeed did do - one 4 years later and one 6 years later. But by gum I did an awful lot of other CPD in the meantime just because of stuff that come up in the work. So I really hope an EC assessment takes account of the CPD engineers are actually doing, and doesn't get too obsessed with an academic "plan-do-reflect" cycle.

    But even that plan is really about what my employer expects me to do this year, not necessarily what I want.

    Ouch. There's good point there, I've probably advised on these forums (I've certainly advised privately) that the performance review process from a decent employer should be able to form the basis of a CPD submission. But it does depend on it being genuinely reflective of the employees interests and achievements, it may well be that I've always been lucky with my managers that across several organisations mine has always been based on what I wanted to do. (Okay, there was the brief time when my manager's manager got obsessed with us all needing to become six sigma trained, which may have got onto my performance review file, but I ignored it and eventually the senior guy either got promoted or fired - can't remember which!) But I can imagine you're right, there probably are many engineers where their manager's view doesn't reflect their actual personal development plans and achievements and they would need for EC purposes to develop a completely separate CPD plan. (Bed time so I'd better not start an off topic micro-rant about how managers should be co-operatively discussing performance development with their staff if they want to retain their staff and improve their business...)