CPD is a type of development in which you make a proper tracked record of all of the skills and experience that you gain in your field beyond the studies you have completed. It doesn’t only have to be formal experience and skills either. It can be informal, as long as it has helped you to grow as a professional. It is basically a portfolio of your life. It is used by some companies as a way of training their new employees, and isn’t the actual definition of the term.
What is it?
CPD stands for continuing professional development and is a record of all of your professional learning and development over time. It is used to manage the development of your skills on a continuing basis (as the name so obviously suggests). It allows you to take a look back at what you have learned over time, and is definitely not a way for you to precisely document your achievements like a CV. It is of a far broader scale than that. A standard CPD program covers a whole lot more than this.
There is a big difference between the terms training and development. People usually think that they are the same, but there is a clear way to distinguish between the two. Training is generally a way to learn something in a formal manner, and it is a way to learn a very specialized skill or tactic. Examples of training include learning how to use word-processing software or something along those lines. Development, such as continuing professional development is far more informal. It is a broader range of applications, and allows you to gain certain tools that will allow you to grow as a professional and deal with a larger range of situations.
What does it require?
In order to be properly called a CPD program it needs to be well documented and recorded properly. It also needs to be handled by the person it is about, and be very focused on gaining more experience in your field or in the tools that you have chosen to take upon yourself. It shouldn’t simply be concentrating on formal learning processes, but on informal ones as well.
Sometimes, governing bodies for certification and accreditation ask that you have a CPD to show them so that they know you are serious about your own development. If you don’t have one already, it is highly recommended that you start one as soon as possible to make sure of your chances.