Chapter One: Theories And Strategies Within CPD

The following paper will highlight and discuss the main issues surrounding Continuous Professional Development and its place within the authors own working environment. The paper will adopt the following framework. Chapter One will look at some of the theories and strategies surrounding CPD. In Chapter Two the author will discuss elements around the organisation and CPD Chapter Three will discuss organisational change and development.

In Chapter Four the author will identify CPD at a team level, and one which is applicable to the authors environment. In Chapter Five the essay analyses CPD evaluation and how the organisation judges its effectiveness. Finally the author will give his conclusions on the subject of CPD and look at areas of improvement. During the last decade vocational education in the UK has received an even higher profile with the recognition of the central importance of lifelong learning.

This has been acknowledged by all stakeholders in the vocational education process and has led to many professional bodies requiring their members to undertake continuing professional development (CPD) on a regular basis, as a requirement for continuing membership and for moving to higher grades of membership. The Institute of Personnel and Development (IPD), the professional Human Resources body, has required all members qualified since 1991 to provide evidence of having undertaken regular CPD. Monitoring began in 1994 with regular surveys.

In 1998, 75% of all those upgrading their membership were asked to provide evidence of CPD (IPD, 1999). Continuing professional development requires individuals, not only to take ownership of their own learning but also to take ownership of the planning management and recording of their development (Cannon, Wiltana & Edwards, 1996). Translating the concepts of personal and interpersonal development into a practical reality inevitably involves making arbitrary decisions about how complex skills will be presented to facilitate learning, with all the problems of reintegration that this brings (Burgoyne, 1989).

This was achieved by making explicit the linkages between the differentiated personal and interpersonal skills and their contribution as the foundation for professional skills. Ensuring the relevance of content to future professional practice, the importance of transferable skills, was ensured by basing content on past research into the skills and attributes valued by organisations and present in their own competency frameworks (Hirsh & Bevan, 1988; Evers & Rush, 1996).

At the same time they had to reflect current thinking on HR specific competencies (Carig, 1996; Yeung, 1996; Warner Burke, 1997; Losey, 1999; Gibb Dyer, 1999). There are two approaches to the philosophy of learning. The ‘Classical School’ (Hirst 1974) argues that knowledge is per se valid, and can be analysed into distinct forms: mathematics, science, ethics, aesthetics etc. To be a complete, balanced individual you need to acquire (and presumably continuously update) knowledge in all the categories.

The ‘Rationalist School’ exemplified by (Ball 1990) argues that knowledge is only valid when applied. Thus, as an example, the management skill of knowing how to calculate a P/E ratio is only valid if use is made of the knowledge in some way. The dichotomy between the two approaches is evident in the current debate surrounding assessment of training and development, particularly the assessment of NVQs at higher levels.

The proposition that competence should be measured as the application of knowledge and skills in a workplace context conforms with the rationalist understanding of knowledge. Against this, the practice of professional bodies is to require assessment of knowledge and understanding in their own right, and to complement this assessment with evidence of sound professional practice (Eraut 1994) Moreover, a growing number of companies have adopted broadly based HRD strategies to enhance personal development in the “Classical School” mode.

Examples include the Ford EDAP scheme, and the Rover Learning Business programme. Despite these initiatives it remains true that most employers prefer training and development to be relevant to specific jobs and tasks for example, (Wicken’s 1991) description of Nissan’s training and development strategy. Moreover, training and development is not always so carefully planned as in the case of Nissan, as the quote below illustrates: Employees ask us if they can go on courses, and we pay the fees provided the course will benefit the company.

So, if someone wants to do an MBA, we might pay the fees. Whether there is a planned strategic view of training and development, or a more ad hoc approach, the principle of relevance to the company’s operations, and to job profiles is generally maintained. Issues of personal development take second place to improved job and task performance. The author has argued previously that experiential learning is derived from interaction with the working environment, and that this may often be a more powerful influence than off-line training can provide.

Secondly, there is at worst a strong suspicion that an under-trained workforce is a contributory factor to poor economic performance, and that the priority should be to target the workforce in employment to redress this situation both for demographic reasons and to create a learning culture in the work environment (Collins 1991). From a theoretical perspective, the development of work-based learning therefore offers substantial potential. There are, however, a number of as yet unanswered questions regarding practical implementation of work-based learning.

The first of these concerns the type of organisation, which will most readily adopt work-based learning. The literature on organisation development and its relationship with HRD is somewhat unhelpful. A typology of organisational approaches to HRD, and based on personal experience, suggests four categories described in (Porter 1990): (i)pre-historic: either predators solving skills shortages through recruitment, or simply ignoring the need to develop staff and thus doomed to extinction (ii)opportunist: reacting to HRD needs on an ad hoc basis iii)juggernauts: have an established pattern of HRD which is represented most evidently by the annual training budget, and by a parcel of courses offered each year (iv)strategic:

HRD is planned and accords with business, market, and technology aims. Following this typology, target organisations to develop work-based learning would be those which have a strategic orientation to HRD, linked to other aspects of organisation development. In the main it is larger organisations which possess the resources to plan in this integrated way. The second unanswered question concerns current changes to workplace organisation.

The process of downsizing in large organisations has meant fewer people are in permanent full-time employment. This is a formula to describe, if anecdotally, the new working reality V half the people are paid twice as much and produces three times the output. This formula, inevitably, means less time available for training and development. On the one hand, the prospect that work-based learning involves less time away from the workplace is an advantage; against this, the extent to which resources are available or can be developed for planning learning programmes, mentoring, and assessment remains unanswered. Dixon 1994) Finally, the area of assessment raises questions in its own right.

A measure of the attainment of the workforce is desirable at national policy level. Individuals also see benefit in acquiring recognised qualifications. Employers, however, may be rather more sanguine about financing qualifications for staff in employment. Additionally, where competence is to be measured, there needs to be an allocation of resource to carry out assessment in the workplace.

The final proposition for work-based learning is that it will successfully develop in organisations which already possess sophisticated HRD strategies, can offer facilitative HRD resources, and (for purposes of national measurement) will encourage employees to gain recognised qualifications. (Brooks, Watkins 1994) Within the authors own business environment the need for CPD to help the company achieve truly World Class Levels Of productivity is seen as a major influence. Although of great complexity, new technologies may be easily transferred from one country to another.

The speed and simplicity of this technology transfer means that further competition between manufacturing nations will not be a competition of technologies but of people. TKA therefore recognise that its ability to maintain and increase the competitive advantage, and hence guarantee future economic prosperity, depends more upon the quality of its education and training than any other single factor. TKA are committed in developing and expanding the contributions of all staff by enhancing education and training, also encouraging personal development, therefore expanding everyones capabilities.

All staff have a valued contribution to make as individuals but in addition TKA believe that this contribution can be most effective within a team-working environment. It is against this environment that the companies education and training strategies have been formulated. Adequate resources have been devoted to the implementation and execution of these strategies including the construction of a purpose built Employee Development/Open Learning and Skill Centre . It is intended that the investment will concentrate on the following areas; Identification And Elimination Of Any Weakness.

Maintenance And Improvement Of Existing Strengths. Meeting Future Threats And Opportunities. As the company enforces corporate policy and must work to standardised practices which conform to the ISO Quality standards the author has highlight the Engineers CPD Format which is applicable to his area of practice. All Engineers development will be identified via the Employee Development Scheme (EDS) with programmes developed to enable the individual to become extremely broad based and capable of undertaking any engineering activity relevant to the needs of the business.

Programmes may include The Integrated Graduate Development Scheme (IGDS), or membership of working groups such as the Technology Transfer Partnership with the University Of Durham and any other relevant mediums. This strategy can be linked to (Belbins 1972 ) theories on adult education and training, which have been followed through the years to great effect. The Improvement Engineering Department, which the author is supervisor over, consists of five engineers who sole responsibility is to evaluate and eliminate all wastes within the production system and improve productivity.

On average the team have worked together for four years and all have been seconded from other departments to form a highly proactive group of people. To analyse the CPD requirements of the department two procedures have be adopted, Individual CPD Mapping . (Appendix 2) From this analysis individual interviews are planned to discuss the training identified, this methodology has close links to research conducted by Belbin (1981) The company tries to link individual variances with group/team role behaviour and relate both to output performance.

As can be seen in Appendix 3 TKA has a very clear Training And Development policy, which is, evaluated through the EDS criteria at the end of every budget year. Evaluation is seen as a important element of the criteria at all stages of development. (Kolb 1984) The training department require feedback forms on all types of training/seminars employees have taken part on with clear areas of evaluation (Appendix 4) Evaluation will enable the effectiveness of an investment in CPD to be appraised and provides data, which can justify expenditure on training.

It will also provide feedback for both the employee and training provider about their performance and methods used, if evaluation is ongoing, it can assist learning during the entire programme of events. The evaluation will also be used to improve any subsequent programmes, although situations are seldom alike, but it will indicate the extent to which the objectives have been met and therefore whether any further training needs remain. One strategic and operational method of evaluation to company CPD, which the company recently achieved re-assessment in 1999 is through IIP.

Here evidence is submitted to meet all required performance indicators and is used to benchmark the company during global competitiveness TKA see themselves as a Learning Organisation and one, which endeavours to develop its human resources to achieve their full potential, and uses learning and CPD as a means of improving business performance. Staff are often the largest item in the cost base of an organisation, and therefore it makes good commercial management to try and achieve the maximum return on this investment in human resource. For this reason opportunities within the organisation are plentiful for continuous personnel development.

This essay has discussed CPD at organisational level and personal level within the authors own career background within the automotive sector. The essay has shown the methodology of Training and CPD within TKA highlighting; Successful continuing development requires that responsibilities are understood by everyone; that priority operational needs are communicated quickly and effectively; that each learner can feel they share ownership of any collective learning plans; that they feel confident of their ability to create some personal learning plans; and that appropriate facilities and resources are available as part of normal working life.

Continual professional development concentrates on learning within an organisation setting and requires corporate commitment and the creation of an appropriate climate. This will only arise when every manager, trainer, supervisor, and experienced worker has a responsibility for guiding and helping others to learn from everyday experiences.


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