A learning curve

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Electrotechnical has always been a fast-evolving sector, with home automation and smart technology coming onto the scene in recent years. With regulations frequently updated, Nick Pollard, product manager at JTL discusses how individuals, employers and the industry as a whole can stay ahead of the curve through continuing professional development (CPD).

You are probably familiar with the 18th Edition IET Wiring Regulations, an essential publication for industry professionals. You may also be aware that they were recently updated in line with European and international standards, as well as new technology and methodology. 

Of course, changes in the electrical industry do not stop there. As an industry, we are now facilitating new ways that customers can interact with and equip their homes. Just a couple of decades ago, electricians were installing light management systems which, at the time, were expensive and seen as high-end technology. Fast-forward to the present day and these are now a lot more readily available for consumers and, in turn, in higher demand. There are now systems that can be quickly and easily controlled via smartphones and tablets. With the touch of an app, homeowners can control everything from heating to individual lights and home appliances.

While these advancements give customers a greater level of flexibility and control, they also present the danger of industry professionals being ‘left behind’. There is nothing worse than a customer asking about a system or technology that the professional knows nothing or very little about. This is why undertaking CPD makes all the difference. 

The purpose of CPD

CPD exists to ensure that employees enhance their skills and abilities once they have formally qualified. It involves ongoing upskilling to ensure that further learning is progressed in a practical and relevant way. CPD allows individuals to regularly focus on important areas of development and reduce any shortfalls in knowledge that they may have.

There are so many ways to get the best possible experience from CPD. It could be through structured learning like training programmes, workshops and seminars and professional exams. Alternatively, many employees benefit from self-directed learning which can involve studying publications written by experts, listening to industry-specific podcasts and following the latest industry news. 

Creating a learning culture

According to CPD UK, as more individuals gain similar professional qualifications, CPD becomes more important as a way for employees to remain competitive and separate themselves from the pack, while giving contractors the ability to diversify the services that they offer.

Creating a learning-focused culture that values internal progression has huge benefits for companies. An article by London School of Business and Finance found that CPD helps employees to feel more motivated to succeed, resulting in a more driven workforce and an increase in staff retention.

In addition, CPD gives industry professionals the knowledge and confidence to deal with new technologies coming into the sector. It allows them to offer sustainable alternative ideas to the customer and ensure they make a well-advised purchase decision.

When it comes to employee development or future proofing your business, CPD is certainly an option. It can be thought of as upskilling and keeping up with the requirements of your customers and industry. Regulations are getting tighter and an evidence of attained CPD is a great way to demonstrate knowledge in the areas that may be required.