TPSO Edition 4 – Foreword by Mike O’Sullivan

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Does CPD really matter to you in your job? I would argue that CPD is relevant to everyone, and people probably do a lot more learning than they realise. Even if you consider that you are currently in a ‘dead end job’ with plans to move on, your skill set and learning journal will be important. In the world of work, all things being equal, a candidate that can demonstrate and quantify a commitment to learning and education will always have the edge over those who do not.

Anything you do that results in you learning more about security and related skills counts as CPD. That’s a broad canvas and does raise the issue of how to show that you have made the effort?

A major challenge in the security industry in general is failing to quantify what we do. A security officer can be very busy and productive, but on paper appears to do very little. It’s the same with CPD, if you don’t quantify it, you are missing a golden opportunity.

When we think CPD many people’s thoughts turn to cost. Training isn’t cheap, you may not be able to afford training if it isn’t provided via your employer. However, this is inside the box thinking!

If you read magazines, newsletters, articles, blogs, interviews, books, product reviews, watch videos, attend toolbox talks, help with meetings, read whitepapers, listen to podcasts, catch up on trends and generally keep yourself informed about things important to your profession and future, then you are doing CPD.

There are other activities that you can consider. For example, a store detective can attend their local magistrates court, sit in the public gallery and observe cases where shoplifters are brought to trial. Store detectives may learn about court procedures as part of their training but there’s nothing like going and sitting in on real cases to fully understand what goes on.

Shadowing someone for a few days, mentoring or being mentored are all CPD activities. Publishing material of your own is CPD on steroids! Provided of course that you do your research and present it properly!

How to quantify? The simplest way is to set up a spreadsheet with relevant headlines and categories. Date, Activity, Details, Purpose (very important) and any links and other information such as magazine and title of an article read are important information. One column should be set up to allow you to record approximately how much time you spent on each activity. At a glance you can sort through activities, such as 14 hours reading about access control systems in a month – the purpose for this exercise to learn more about access control!

Motivated individuals will be amazed at how quickly time spent on activities adds up. You can also add a comments column where you can jot your own notes.

So, we see that CPD doesn’t have to cost anything other than time. In edition 1 of TPSO Magazine the most popular article was; Is Online Learning for Me, by Dr Alison Wakefield FSyI. In the article Dr Wakefield introduced readers to free online training – there are thousands of courses to choose from. Edition one of TPSO Magazine, like all published editions, is and always will be available on our site free to all readers, no registration required!

There are other options, Edition 3 of TPSO newsletter, Your Career in Security!  (again, free from our website) discusses how to keep informed via google alerts and introduces another free google service, Google Scholar.

There are many other options, one I like and use myself is a video learning website udemy.com. Some of the training has been brilliant, some not so much. One advantage with Udemy is if you realise that the course you’ve just purchased isn’t what you were expecting you can get a refund if you request it within their published timeframe. Their terms change from time to time so check what the situation is when ready to enrol. Udemy runs constant promotions so you can get some otherwise very expensive training for anything between £10 to £20. Back to google, you can do searches for Udemy vouchers. I’m not on commission, it’s a site that I’m happy to recommend based on personal experience.

Another site that I have used and recommend is alison.com. The courses are free but if you want a certificate there is a charge so check any associated costs before enrolling. I found the material very comprehensive and relevant.

The Security Institute page on CPD at security-institute.org/cpd is worth reading. They offer a CPD validation service that is open to everyone, not just their own membership.

The explosive growth of the internet has removed many of the traditional barriers to education and training. Get stuck in and surprise yourself with what you can achieve!

Mike O’Sullivan