Tim Sainty, Membership Director at the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE), shares how to make the most of online training resources and Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

Learning on the go or from home is an invaluable way of keeping your skills up to date, especially if you are busy and can’t always find the time to attend a training course. 

Recently, online learning has become even more important as installers have been practicing social distancing to protect themselves and others. With this in mind, using digital CPD resources to refresh the skills you already have is a great way to use your time, and will ensure that your knowledge does not become outdated. 

Making CPD a priority

This year, research by Eureka!, in collaboration with the CIPHE and other industry relevant associations and brands, revealed that 23% of over 1,000 professionals in the plumbing and heating sector are using their time to undertake training online. While this is encouraging, there’s still room for even more tradespeople to take advantage of online CPD – particularly with increasing amounts of it being made available. 

As a Professional Engineering Institution, the CIPHE supports the CPD Code adopted by the Engineering Council, which focuses on the outputs of CPD activity for the maintenance and enhancement of professional competence appropriate for individuals and their role. CPD requirements vary according to an individual’s job and the stage of their career. 

Tips for making the most of CPD include:

  • Identify goals and needs, and make a plan
  • Try to have as broad a range of development activities as possible, targeted at the plan, taking advantage of opportunities that arise
  • Maintain a CPD record
  • Reflect upon what you learn and record your thoughts
  • Upon completion, consider the quality of the CPD and measure it against your initial expectations of it 
  • Review your plan periodically and be prepared to change it if you feel you would benefit
  • Discuss with others and be prepared to help them with their own CPD plan.

Online opportunity 

For those who haven’t attained CPD for a while, it is important to recognise that it is more than learning from a textbook. In fact, modern resources make it increasingly accessible. 

As stated, the best approach to CPD contains a variety of ways to learn and, among many examples, can include attending online training webinars, reading plumbing and heating engineering-related publications, completing CPD articles in the CIPHE’s P&H Engineering magazine, studying our electronic newsletters, and other forms of independent online research and learning. 

For CIPHE members, a certificate is issued for completion of CPD articles. Where applicable, evidence can be provided by noting the source, date, and documentation of the relevance of the information obtained.

To ensure that CPD is accessible, the CIPHE provides members with a simple way to record and track their progress online. This acts as a central area to complete records all in one place, so that CPD performance can be easily passed on to employers or to prospective clients. The beauty of online CPD is that you can stop and start throughout the year, to work around your schedule too.

At the CIPHE it is our aim to help members at every level achieve their career goals, and CPD is firmly part of this support package.