Many of you undertaking CPD have questions regarding what is involved. Below are some of the answers to the most common questions. If you have any other queries feel free to email your enquiries to cpdev@ifm.org.uk

Frequently Asked Questions

What is CPD? Continuing Professional Development is the way in which IFM members maintain, improve and broaden their knowledge and skills, and develop their personal qualities. Such activities demonstrate commitment to professional competence and development, and the maintenance of high standards. Why CPD? One of the Institute’s main roles, in common with most other professional bodies, is to develop, promote, monitor and control the quality and standards of practice of its membership. As well as setting educational standards for the relevant professional qualifications, the Institute has an obligation to ensure that its members are up to date, and developing on a continuous basis. The Institute believes that it can best satisfy that obligation with a scheme of CPD. The Basis for the Scheme Full professional members of the Institute (i.e. Registered Members and Fellows) are encouraged to follow a programme of CPD. All Institute members who are Chartered Environmentalists, or wish to become so will need to follow a programme of CPD. Do other professions have CPD schemes? Yes most professional bodies have CPD schemes. What do I have to do? CPD is measured by credits. Credits are awarded for activities or attendance at events. For a detailed breakdown of events and number of credits awarded refer to the CPD Credit Table enclosed or on the web-site. Credits for IFM functions will appear in FISH magazine. Members who take part in CPD should complete, and record, at least 80 credits of CPD activity over a two year period. The minimum is 20 credits and the maximum is 60 credits per year. What sort of activities counts towards CPD? The Institute believes that the scheme should be as flexible as possible and therefore a wide variety of activities can be included. Research activities, attending seminars, courses or conferences, whether arranged in-house or externally, working on study groups, distance or open learning, structured reading or private study and taking part in training events can all be recorded for CPD purposes. Providing these activities are relevant either directly or indirectly, to fisheries management work, environmental management and sustainable development, or developing personal skills and competencies. Why should I do CPD? Firstly the Institute’s own research has shown (Source: – Membership survey April 2001 – Anne Bowden Research Associates) that most of its members agree with the principle of CPD, and the vast majority are also probably achieving significant credits already. The advantages of undertaking CPD are that it demonstrates the professional commitment of the individual, which is of assistance in career progression, and it strengthens the case for access to training and development on a structured and professional basis. Will CPD cost me anything? It should be quite possible to fulfil the CPD recommendation without incurring excessive personal cost, except perhaps for the expense of travelling to branch or national IFM activities. But as there are considerable personal, career and professional benefits to CPD, most members would regard any such costs as incidental. What if I cannot get the time off for CPD, or if my employer's training budget is not large enough? Employers are encouraged to support CPD activities as it is to their benefit for employee's skills and knowledge to be continually updated and developed. However, CPD is not just about attending courses and seminars – the wide range of CPD opportunities should ensure flexibility for the individual who finds access to, or support for, conventional activities restricted. Only senior colleagues ever get sent to conferences, so it is easier for them to comply than it is for me! Whilst this may be true, CPD provides a good argument for such nominations to be more selective and varied. Of course, anyone who has attended such an event should be encouraged to provide a briefing session for colleagues. This would provide CPD time for both the 'presenter' and all those attending the briefing session. I read FISH magazine regularly. Does this count for CPD? Such reading, which is largely unstructured and a normal professional activity, does not count towards CPD, but certain structured reading linked to a specific project could be recorded. For example, if you are researching for a project which involved a structured literature search through journals. My local IFM branch never organises any good events, how am I expected to get my CPD credits! Some branches are more active than others are. This need not be a problem. What about organising an event through the branch yourself. Taking a more active role in your branch will stimulate events and organising events will also count towards your CPD. There are also plenty of other ways of obtaining points CPD schemes seem to be paper exercises, and it is possible to record 'credits' for attending a poor event, which achieves nothing! It is very rare for the time spent at such events to be totally wasted, and in any case the value of the event can depend to a large extent on the individual's experience and knowledge. The most important thing is to recognise such poor quality events and to feed back your comments to colleagues and organisers in order to encourage improvements. Certainly there is nothing wrong in being selective in your choice of CPD, so that it either assists you in your current work, or expands your knowledge and skill base for possible career development. How do I record CPD, and will there be any checks on what I am doing? You should detail your activities using the CPD record sheet or online via the IFM web-site. You are advised to try and obtain some independent proof of CPD, such as an attendance certificate. Reviews may be carried out to verify the scheme and members may occasionally be asked to make their CPD records available to the training committee. As part of the regular monitoring of the scheme, members will be asked to help in the review of the extent and nature of CPD being undertaken, and make suggestions for changes. These reviews will also look at the best way of recording CPD that is convenient and acceptable to the membership. What happens if I do not achieve the required number of credits? CPD is a voluntary scheme. However the Society for the Environment expects those who qualify for Chartered Environmentalist to undertake CPD as it is available through the IFM. Members who register for CPD but do not achieve the standard required will be asked to provide an explanation. If unresolved, they will be referred to the Committee. Members who do not complete CPD could be transferred to a less senior class of membership with the possible consequential loss of 'Chartered Environmentalist' title. A prospective employer is more likely to look favourably on an applicant for a job who has complied with the CPD scheme than one who has not. What does the Institute provide to help me achieve CPD? Attendance at many of the meetings and events organised by the Institute at both regional and national levels will form part of your CPD. Many of these, particularly local branch meetings only make a charge to cover costs of refreshments.