As we all settle back into work after the seasonal break, many of us will be re-evaluating our professional lives and setting new goals for the year ahead. What that looks like will vary widely, but I’m sure that we all set out with the best intentions.
As professionals, these periods of pause, reflection and refocus are critical in helping us progress and develop our skills and knowledge to deliver the best outcomes in our roles. More importantly, it allows us to ask ourselves the hard question ‘are we competent to do our role?’
For most, the immediate reaction will be an automatic ‘yes’. In many cases it will probably be true, but to be sure we should be asking ourselves some basic questions regardless of whether we have been in the industry for two years or 42!
What has changed recently? Have there been updates in the laws or regulations that we need to comply with? Has guidance been altered in the last year or new guidance produced? Our industry is changing, the way we do things and the technology available is changing rapidly. What was standard five years ago may now be redundant.
For those in leadership, management and supervisory roles, are we confident that our people are getting relevant information and acting on it? Recognizing professional competence is a core part of being an IQ member, but more important is recognizing the limits of our competency and knowing when we need to bring in others with expertise. Part of that process is not expecting ourselves to know everything but to know where we can access key information when we need it.
Within the industry there are many sources we can rely on – the HSE, QNJAC, MPA, BAA are amongst those that we can turn to. As members of the Institute, we all have access to the technical guidance provided through our books, factsheets, webinars, IQON programmes and, of course, our branches. We have signed up to the commitment in maintaining our competence and it is a responsibility we all need to live up to; it is one of the things that sets us apart as professionals.
The start of the year also coincides with the Institute’s call for CPD records as part of our responsibility to ensure members meet the standards laid out for each membership grade. It can be challenging to find the time to make sure we are able to keep our CPD up to date. It is tempting to delay updating our CPD as there is always something more pressing that needs attending to.
CPD and the recording of it is not just a tick-box exercise; used effectively it helps us to develop an understanding of where we need to focus our attention. That helps ensure we are both compliant and operating to our best in our role.
Again, for those not used to CPD, it can be daunting, but as an IQ member there is help and support available in recording CPD in a structured way. Our ‘CPD app’ is aligned to the IQ Skills Wheel and provides pointers on what activities can be included within your CPD.
As our industry evolves and our profession changes, it is our approach as individuals in recognizing the continual need to learn and understand that will ensure we create a sustainable industry able to meet the needs of society.