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Planning your CPD

​Planning your CPD

When planning your continuing professional development (CPD) focus on the relevance of the course or activity to you, your circumstances and your business. If you undertake CPD just for the sake of it, without considering its relevance to you, you might waste your time and the opportunity to develop new skills and knowledge.

Your CPD should be relevant to you in your specific practice or work circumstances. You should take into account a number of factors:

  • your age and seniority
  • your job description
  • what you need and want to know
  • personal and professional circumstances
  • the level of detail you need
  • the amount of expertise you require
  • your position and responsibility in the practice
  • your career and business aspirations
  • the needs of your business and the time and money you can afford to spend

Keep this in mind: your CPD obligations are individual. Practices will provide training and development opportunities. However, any practice-supported CPD should link to the business’s plans, strategies and objectives and to your role in the practice. Any CPD that is particular to you, and is not relevant to the needs of the business you work for, is something you may have to do in your own time.

CPD should be beneficial. Planned, managed, and carried out in the right way, CPD can help you take charge of your learning needs and your career trajectory. It can be used to strengthen your business, to pick up lucrative new skills and to acquire new specialisms.

Getting the best return out of your CPD - the CPD cycle

A CPD cycle encourages you to continually plan, consider and evaluate your development and embed it into improved practise - helping you to undertake CPD that's right for you and your business and ensuring you get the best return on the time and money you invest.

  • Assess your needs – this can work for individuals, teams and businesses
  • Identify the appropriate CPD activities and learning levels for those needs eg formal and structured, informal and self-directed, etc
  • Plan those activities
  • Carry out the learning
  • Record the CPD activities you have undertaken
  • Evaluate how well they have helped your development
  • Reflect on what you have learned, what you will do differently, and what other CPD you might need
  • Implement the knowledge in practice
  • Continue to review, reflect and revise
  • Assess your needs again

Planning CPD in exceptional circumstances

Some people will find it challenging to undertake or pay for structured, face-to-face CPD; such as members who are:

  • On maternity, paternity, adoption or care leave
  • Unemployed
  • On sick leave
  • Caring for family members
  • In the Armed Forces, Territorial Army or reserves

If you are unable to undertake structured, face-to-face CPD, you can keep up to date through more informal learning options, such as:

Try to meet and network with other professionals when you are able; this is not only great informal learning, it also offers support. Your local RIBA Branch or International Chapter is a good place to start, for your nearest branch, contact your RIBA regional office.

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your options. We are always able to provide help, advice and further information or suggestions, particularly on how to keep up to date, and how to return to practice if you have been away. Contact us at cpd@riba.org

Resources for women

A selection of external websites which provide case studies of women returning to work after extended leave, celebrate women in the built environment and offer advice on furthering and developing your career in construction.

Planning CPD when working or living overseas

All Chartered Members are required to do CPD. However, your CPD should reflect your personal needs and circumstances. Therefore, as an international member, your CPD should be about where you practice; It should reflect the local statutory requirements and cultural background. You are therefore not expected to undertake UK-related CPD.

Any CPD or continuing education gained from other professional bodies in the country you are based in is allowable. That means that you can get your CPD from the RIBA’s local equivalent(s). Most of our sister institutes globally are now requiring and offering CPD. Members in countries in the rest of Europe, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Singapore, South Africa and the USA, for example, can access local CPD. In Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain and the USA you can also look at the offer from the provincial, state, or regional associations.

The Architects Council of Europe has initiated a list of quality European CPD systems for architects, endorsed by ACE member organisations in various EU member states (including the UK). While they are all very different in content and emphasis, these CPD systems all meet the minimum agreed European quality standards. In all cases, one learning hour equals one international CPD credit.

International support and CPD from the RIBA are available from our International Chapters: RIBA Gulf, RIBA Hong Kong and RIBA USA

A CPD accord was negotiated by RIBA USA and signed by RIBA and American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 1997. This allows CPD from either to count on a one for one basis, worldwide.

You can find local bodies, and CPD events, from the individual countries listed in these global and regional bodies, or, in the case of Arcasia and AUA, from the organisations themselves:

Many practices link training with their yearly performance reviews and appraisals, and business plans. CPD need not be additional to this other training that you are receiving; it can be one and the same. If you are already attending courses, seminars or conferences, then be sure to record these as CPD.

When you are unable to find structured CPD or training, then think of open/distance learning, web-based learning, videos, reading, writing/research and networking. Any learning that you do that enhances your role as an architect, your career, future development or business is valid CPD.

Other places to look locally for your CPD (although it might not be called 'CPD', it still counts):

  • national, local or regional architecture or design organisations
  • commercial training companies
  • conferences, trade shows and exhibitions such as The Big 5 in the Gulf and Middle East
  • schools of architecture or engineering
  • other university or college programmes, such as adult education
  • museum education and lecture programmes
  • other professional bodies - both construction and business-related

Useful websites that feature international architecture and design events listings:

If you are an international member and require further advice on CPD, please contact us: cpd@riba.org

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