Defining CPD

01 June 2015 Charmaine Koch, IISA

Professional development is the advancement of skills or expertise to succeed in a particular profession, especially through continued education. To satisfy the definition, one must be able to demonstrate the advancement of skills or expertise.

The only measurable value thereof is in the form of reflection and documentation. This could be writing an article or an assessment, or even presenting the experience to an audience. It could lead to further research on a topic. Such research could help us understand a risk better in terms of risk behaviour, which then impacts on our response to that risk, through risk mitigation or underwriting conditions. Thus, we could develop the idea of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) as wide as the expertise of the Short-Term Insurance industry and beyond.

Think of the aspects of your job. Technical components, administrative aspects, systems you work with, soft skills you use regularly, managerial skills, where do you want to progress in the next year?

Searching for hidden gaps

Considering the vastness of learning, think for a moment about the activities you have experienced in the last week, month or year which have contributed to your learning experiences in your current position. How could you document or provide evidence of those and submit them for recognition? If there have not been that many, what resources are available for you to learn more about risks, or area in which you operate? Where is there room for improvement that will assist you in advancing your career?

Whilst CPD at this particular point in time is only a requirement for professional members of professional bodies, it is something that we all do. Recording these activities will become a requirement with the Financial Services Board (FSB) as part of the fit and proper requirements in due course. Who would you be able to partner with that can assist you in keeping record of these activities?

A broader scope

Many Professional Members have started becoming acquainted with the fact that recording CPD activities is a requirement that is here to stay. Most often these are activities we naturally do to remain up to date and relevant in our field and may relate to different aspects of our industry.

A CPD activity can be any activity relating to such advancement. It can be structured or unstructured, formal or informal. However, the one criteria that is critical is that the activity must be verifiable. Verifiable evidence can take many forms such as a signed attendance register, exam results, online assessments or certificates of attendance.

The Insurance Institute of South Africa’s (IISA) CPD capacity for recording CPD activities reaches 11 different types of activities with sub-categories in order to facilitate the rating and capturing of the various learning that takes place. The most important aspect of proving your learning is time spent and giving evidence of the event. This could include a signed log of hours, signed attendance registers, or peer or management sign off, an agenda and presentation, attendance certificates, published articles, and many more.

A journey to travel

In order to guide our members, IISA set up partnerships with those who offer activities and published those on a CPD calendar. Whilst there are still many more activities that can, and possibly should be rated for CPD purposes, the calendar of events is by no means prescriptive. The calendar only contains 20% of the activities the IISA recognise.

The FSB have also reopened their consultation process relating to CPD for Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services (FAIS) purposes, and the IISA are part of the consultation workgroup which includes professional bodies, industry associations, SAQA and compliance practices.

CPD is a road of learning that will not be static and has already gained rapid momentum. Getting on the road is the first step to being on the right track.

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