Many outdoor National Governing Bodies require us to undertake compulsory CPD.

As well as updating technical skills, CPD activity for outdoor professionals often also explores additional topics such as the mountain environment, leadership and reviewing. As well as keeping us up to date, CPD can expand our tool box; with learning becoming conscious and proactive, rather than passive and reactive. One could argue that these subsidiary topics are helping outdoor delivery professionals to better fulfil their roles; inspiring and informing those they work with….. I’m sure you can think of plenty of people who have been stuck in a rut for years.

What does good CPD look like?

Is it something we can achieve on our own or are there additional benefits to be gained from attending CPD workshops and conferences? It is fair to say that some people are great at what can broadly be described as self-directed learning and as a result question why they should have to gain CPD points, attend workshops etc. They can make a good argument that books, industry specific articles, newsletters and publications keep them current.

Personally, I feel there is real value in undertaking CPD together, as other people can have differing views and opinions that influence what I learn and take away. It is really very difficult to achieve the same level of insight and apply that learning if you have only read a book. High quality CPD can be experienced at Lindley’s Festival of Outdoor Learning.

So, is compulsory CPD necessary?

To maintain qualifications and awards we often have to attend accredited CPD activity. This means the learning activity has reached the required Continuing Professional Development standards and benchmarks. The learning design and delivery has been scrutinised to ensure integrity and quality. Luckily in the outdoor world, organisations such as Mountain Training have a rich and diverse selection of CPD opportunities.

For organisations it is increasingly important that they have evidence of the robust management and development of their staff. Recording attendance at CPD workshops and revalidating procedures for NGB qualifications, makes proving that staff are current and knowledgeable quite simple. The Institute for Outdoor Learning’s CPD mapping resource enables a clear link between performance management and planning for CPD activity.

I would also argue that it is good when networking and sharing ideas for outdoor professionals to mix at all levels (the young instructor can learn from the Head of Centre and vice versa). If everyone develops their delivery, standards are raised, outcomes are better and the profile of outdoor learning grows and grows.

Author: Mark Williams