Over the past year, with everyone working from home and online, the dark underbelly of the internet has become more prevalent, with an increase in dubious accreditation services and scams. These are exploiting unsuspecting, and vulnerable businesses.
Don’t be Duped!
Free accreditation services are now attempting to enter the training and coaching industries; but are being delivered by those who have no real understanding of the CPD field, and are not officially recognised by Government and professional bodies. Similar to fake news, and misinformation, it is important not to be duped by the offer of free CPD accreditation services.
The risks attached to choosing cheap, free and easy accreditation options, over the rigorous and comprehensive assessment path have a short and long term impact on your business. Your reputation is at risk, as at some point, the lack of quality standards in the cheap or fake accreditation services will become obvious.
For example, the recent BBC documentary ‘Under the Skin: The Botched Beauty Business’ is a clear example of a training business who are displaying a free CPD accreditation, yet are offering pernicious training courses. Unsuspecting individuals are falling foul of paying a substantial amount for an unregulated beauty aesthetics course that has potentially dangerous consequences.
See the BBC website here – https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p09kyrtk
Reassuringly Robust & Exclusive
If you are pondering your membership with the CPD Standards Office, it’s important to remember that we are a world leading, independent CPD accreditation body. Highly respected by Government and Industry, including The Cabinet Office, Rolls Royce, NHS and the Open University, our accreditation is based on scientific research and developed by experts.
We work exclusively with the official CPD Institute, and our robust assessment process ensures that genuine and authentic providers are given the recognised CPDSO seal of quality approval.
You Can’t Afford to Look Cheap…
The training and coaching industries are becoming increasingly busy and competitive. Learners want to be reassured that they are sourcing high quality and relevant training courses. By associating your business with a worthless and free accreditation service, you cheapen your brand and devalue your expertise.
Talk to Us
If you are being approached by a free CPD accreditation provider, and would really understand the impact on your business, do not hesitate to contact your CPDSO account manager or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trainers and coaches spend an awful lot of time thinking about others, and sometimes not enough time on themselves. Self-care is important for everyone and should be a priority for all.
With the challenges over the last 18 months, it has highlighted how important self-care actually is. The challenges of COVID19 and adapting businesses to the new way of working have put huge pressure on all business owners, without taking time to look after themselves in the process. Creating this balance can be hard but it’s vital everyone has time out in their diaries to think about themselves for a moment.
Here we have collated our top 5 tips to think about when scheduling some self-care for yourself:
Make Time For Yourself
Make time for yourself every single day. Open your calendar, and schedule some time to fit a bit of self-care into your day. This could be 10 minutes to yourself which can make a HUGE difference.
We are all guilty of spending too much time at the desk and not taking enough breaks to go outside. So on your break, get yourself outside for a walk in the fresh air to clear your mind before getting back to the desk. Another tip is to schedule 15 minutes out of your calendar in the morning and afternoon to give yourself some time to have a cup of coffee outside. (or tea if you prefer!)
Do Something Creative
If you are starting to feel burned out at work, take the time to do something creative. Dig out those art projects you have been putting off doing, or read that book you haven’t got round to starting. Get those creative juices flowing and allow yourself to enjoy some me-time doing something you love. By doing these things, you are boosting your happiness and therefore your serotonin levels which is always a good thing!
Starting the day positively can really boost your mood and make you have a more productive day. Each morning recite your 3 favourite affirmations to yourself with gusto and you will find that you can help break unhealthy thought patterns and create a new positive belief system. You can place them around your home and work area as mini-reminders to motivate, inspire, and centre you throughout the day…
(affirmations are positive statements that affirm how you want to feel or show up in the world.)
Prioritise Your Mental Health
It is the single most important thing you can do for yourself and your health. When your mental health is treated and cared for, you can focus on doing what you love most— delivering training. After a busy day of training, take the time to relax and destress from the day and clear your mind using techniques like meditation, take a bath or simply read a book.
Last week CPDSO ran a webinar in collaboration with Marion Hewitt, a positive psychology practitioner, and award-winning coach. We discussed prioritising self-care and considered ideas and options to build our personal self-care/wellbeing plan that is realistic, beneficial, and enjoyable.
Watch the full webinar here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-t2r5X6y0w
It can be easy to get stuck in the same cycle of delivering training online that you have always delivered. So how can you mix it up?
Here we have put together five thinking points to help you make your online training more relevant and attractive to clients surfing the web:
Re-structure Your Courses
Instead of running a 3-day course over consecutive days, allow/encourage delegates to split up the course so that they do 1 day a week, or once a month for example. It provides them with options and can be easier as a trainer to do when delivering online courses as you can make parts of your courses Evergreen.
Put in place collaborative tools so that delegates can get support from you as the trainer and other delegates between training sessions. Your courses will be far more attractive to those thinking about buying as they can be totally tailored around them.
Offer Courses As Different Lengths & Formats
Face-to-face courses are traditionally offered as a one-day course. Mixing up the length of the course by going online gives you many possibilities, it can work well for those delegates who find it hard to get time off work, or are unable to get to the training course location.
A distanced learning version can replace or go alongside your F2F course for blended delivery. You can also write an eBook, which will be available with the online course as another collaborative tool.
Offer Free Taster Webinars in the Evening
Your prospect delegates will always want an insight into your course, so why not offer a one-hour overview of the course that runs in the evening as a webinar. Lots of people do not have the time during the day due to work commitments and their personal lives, so making the short taster session available once they are at home will work for a lot of people.
ADDITIONAL TIPS: Include email and phone breaks into your training. Build specific breaks into your training to allow delegates to go off-screen and make/take calls and check their email. You’ll get more relaxed delegates, knowing they have dealt with the important stuff at the office.
Build In Networking Into Your Training
If one of your delegates comes away from your training with a business opportunity from one of the other delegates, you get the credit. Take time to understand who is attending each training course and who they may find it useful to meet.
Also, use social media to your advantage. Set up a LinkedIn group for delegates attending this course (along with past delegates) where they can learn from each other and network after the training has finished. Connecting past delegates with current delegates is a very powerful way to re-engage previous clients and give new clients great value. You can also encourage your delegates to share what they have learned on their social media accounts and tag you.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) has a huge variety of benefits to a business or an individual. In today’s working world, there is a lot more competition than there used to be 10 years ago, so if you want to succeed you need to stand out from the crowd.
For businesses operating in highly competitive markets, standing out is the utmost importance to gain market share and be number one against competitors. All businesses compete in different ways, for example one may compete on price or others may compete on unique value propositions.
One way to do this is to take advantage of becoming a CPD Accredited provider. There are over 2000+ professional bodies, institutes and regulators who have individual CPD policies for members to undertake to stay registered and be able to practice, which therefore brings up a need for CPD accredited courses.
There are huge benefits to becoming a CPD accredited organisation, these include:
- Distinguishes your business from other competitors in the market
- Ensures standards remain high in the workplace
- Keeps employees knowledge and skills up to date
- Helps to achieve business objectives
- A high level of professionalism
- Creates greater work engagement/retention from employees who can see you are investing time in their careers
CPD accreditation can be a major benefit to your business in many ways but it firstly, puts you on top of your competition. Learners looking for CPD accreditation are always going to choose your accredited courses over ones that aren’t. It looks great that you have been independently assessed and undergone a rigorous assessment of your training courses to ensure excellence in the content you are delivering. Many regulated sectors such as finance, law, medicine and construction have mandatory CPD policies so professionals within this sector have CPD requirements to meet, and are always going to choose a course where they can receive CPD points over ones that cannot.
Undergoing CPD accreditation for your business ensures that you are delivering high quality training that meets expectations for all learners. It indicates that you have reached standards and benchmarks to offer your training into mandated CPD sectors that professionals are able to gain CPD points from. Accredited training demonstrates the highest standards of educational quality as well as a commitment to delivering great learning experiences.
A CPD accredited business inspires trust in prospective customers as it displays its commitment to the highest standards of professional development for its employees. The potentially huge, positive impact of this upfront investment on the long term profitability of a business should not be underestimated.
The Dawn of Continuous Learning
The process of undergoing continuous professional learning is encouraged and attested by professional bodies and associations of which the Royal Medical Colleges (established in the 16th century) were the first.
It was only towards the end of the 18th century, however, that the demand for reskilling within the lifetime of a professional’s career exploded – with many professional bodies being founded during the first industrial revolution. And for good reason: the increasing specialisation of labour, coupled with the manufacturing boom which demanded frequent changes in production processes, meant that factory workers and their superiors needed to learn new skills continuously and in short spaces of time.
The rate of professional growth thus became more dynamic as society transformed, highlighted by the following two Industrial revolutions which spanned the 19th and 20th centuries.
From that point onwards, the rate of sector growth has sped up across the board (unless the profession became obsolete). The innovation of new sub fields for professionals to explore during their career lifetime has now gone so far as to introduce the possibility of an individual needing to be a part of multiple professional bodies or associations.
Today, there are currently over 1000 provisional bodies across the UK alone. A number that is expected to increase over the next 4th industrial revolution.
For this reason, professional bodies are now expecting more than ever that their members stay upskilled by ongoing Continued Professional Development (CPD).
The term CPD was born out of professional bodies who continue to regulate standards of practicing professionals in their fields. This occurred in parallel with many professional bodies moving from a more relaxed reskilling model, in which they allow their members to complete self directed CPD and only put forward a suggested amount of hours for the professional to complete, to a more demanding one where all CPD undertaken must be industry specific and many now have a mandatory minimum amount of hours.
This trend further reflects the speed at which society and the many professional sectors that make it up are evolving. So fast, in fact, that the lines between academia and professional application are blurring. CPD is the solution that naturally merges these two worlds.
CPD in The Age of The Degree
Let’s consider some of the ways in which CPD facilitates the growing need for efficient reskilling of an expanding workforce:
- Course length – Courses are short and, more often than not, can be taken alongside work commitments
- Relevance to current field demands – the training is written and led by practitioners rather than people that only know the theory
- Flexibility of course creation – the course can be created and implemented in a streamlined way – with no need for red tape
- Accreditation – Training providers can opt to get their training quality checked by a third party accreditation company to assure the delegates of the high standard of training they offer. Find out more
- Ascribed worth – This is the worth that the delegates place on having completed the training
The last point is perhaps the only one in which a university degree has a clear inferred advantage. As mentioned in the definition this is not necessarily the worth an employer places on it but the worth ascribed by the delegate/professional themselves.
Degrees are converted accolades of life, known and respected ubiquitously for centuries. However, CPD training is much shorter and mainly undergone to gain applicable knowledge rather than a status. For this reason people are more interested in completing CPD training fast to gain the knowledge to apply to their role.
Fair enough, people do not want a stack of certificates in a drawer they rarely open. And the walls of professionals are usually filled with tools that help them outline the future, such as planning charts and visualisation boards. So not much space for the hundreds of CPD certificates one would amass over a lifetime of professional training upgrades.
Despite this, the relevance of CPD training remains and will continue to grow as a need for employees to perform and subsequently a demand for employers to supply.
Future-Proofing CPD in the Digital Age
Being in the digital age, this is of course a possibility that has been explored, created and one that the CPD Standards Office is supporting to establish as a systematic way to demonstrate skill growth to current and future employees.
In particular, we are looking to shift from today’s paper-based CPD certification model (which suffers from the problems highlighted above as well as a significant rate of document loss/damage) to a hybrid model, which combines paper certificates with their “digital twins”: secure, tamper-proof and always-available CPD certificates which can be instantly verified on-demand by employers and regulators. In this way, we are able to make the most of the advantages of paper-based certificates (more tangible and robust certifications) whilst also addressing the demands of a digital society which enables and favours greater efficiency.
The digital certificates we are offering all our members can be issued with ease thanks to an easy-to-use web application that accepts Excel spreadsheets. When a CPD provider issues their digital certificates in this way, each learner receives an email containing a QR code. This QR code can be easily shared on CVs, business cards, social media or on any other medium required. A simple scan of a given QR code will reveal the details of the matching certificate in a matter of seconds. No need to scan, hand over or present paper certificates any longer. Moreover:
- Thanks to our use of Blockchain technology, the data in the certificate cannot be tampered with. Any attempt to alter its details will result in a mismatch with the genuine certificate fingerprint on the Blockchain and therefore a failed verification.
- CPD verifiers can always be sure that the verification of the certificate is genuine, thanks to our use of public-key cryptographic methods when signing the certificate as well as a clear indication of the patronage of the platform by CPDSO.
In rolling out digital-twin certificates, we have thought carefully about the needs of learners too, especially the fact that CPD certificates are likely to fall in and out of relevance at different stages of their careers. As a result, loss or damage to a paper CPD certificate can result in significant hardship when proving suitability for a given job. Our “Portfolio” feature goes a long way in mitigating this risk: each digitally issued CPD certificate can be added by its recipient to their so-called “digital portfolio” on the platform as it is received. In doing so, the learner can build a digital record of their CPD certificates and points accrued over the course of their career. Each certificate can be downloaded on demand and even an entire CPD portfolio can be shared with just one QR code or link.
As this article has shown, professional attestation has undergone fundamental shifts over the course of the centuries, and this decade is no different. Paper-based certifications possess unique advantages which should not be lost. However, in an ever more decentralised and digital world of work, made even more so by the pandemic, a new, parallel certification paradigm is needed to cater for both the large volumes of highly-valuable CPD qualifications and the renewed needs of employers. The CPD Standards Office, together with its technical partner, Gradbase (https://cpdso.gradba.se) has made a fundamental move in this direction, by deploying a “hybrid” certification model which so far has provided value to many of its members and which we hope will continue to evolve and become the de-facto standard for CPD.
This article was written by Kirstie Walker of The CPD Standards Office in conjunction with Alberto De Capitani at Gradbase. CPDSO are working with Gradbase, a startup based in London, UK that aims to digitise and tamper-proof all forms of personal certification using Blockchain technology. In so doing, hiring processes are made more efficient and fraud is minimised. If you would like to sign up to use Gradbase for free as part of your CPDSO membership please contact your designated account manager. If you wish to know more about Gradbase and its technology please contact Alberto De Capitani at email@example.com .
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a mandatory requirement for over half a million individual members of construction professional bodies and member institutions. CPD has been long-established within the construction sector, and many professional bodies have had long standing CPD requirements in place.
The construction industry needs to ensure that the knowledge and skills of construction professionals are maintained to ensure they remain professional individuals and stay up to date. This could mean improving on current skills, developing them to a new level, or it could mean learning new ones that will allow that professional’s job role to expand or prepare them for potential promotion.
For many years, the construction industry has increased its commitment to ongoing development. Many professional bodies and institutions have introduced mandatory CPD requirements and different methodologies for doing CPD.
For example, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) requires all chartered members to undertake at least 35 hours of CPD per year. The RIBA regularly audits member records to check compliance.
The CPD undertaken could include:
- Online and F2F training courses
- Reading reports, magazine, websites or other publications
- Attending conferences, seminars or workshops
- Supervising apprentices/students
- Training other members of staff
Technology is continuously developing so there are new methods of construction always being introduced and therefore a need for training and development of these skills is necessary. CPD gives professionals the opportunity to increase their understanding of the industry and keep up to date with latest changes and product developments. Lifelong learning is the new normal with so many updates and new developments happening all the time, thus why CPD is so important to a career in the construction industry.
With advances in technology, changes in regulation, and increasing specialisation in various fields, CPD is becoming the normal for many construction professionals looking to get ahead in their careers, and also for many employers who are hoping to meet their business objectives.
Construction being a fast paced industry, it needs to keep the profession up to date on workplace changes and education for all professionals aligned to building and construction. CPD is a widely recognised and successful method of education which highlights the importance of undertaking CPD requirements aligned to each professional body. This requires companies who provide training to be able to issue CPD points so that learners can put this to their CPD record, thus why having your training activities is more important than ever.
What is a trust mark?
Trust marks are a way for organisations to demonstrate their legitimacy and visual aids that indicate trust, quality and reliability.
They were first developed by the British Standards Institute (BSI) 100 years ago, by a chap who was disgruntled by the level and variants of the quality of manufacturing. BSI has evolved over time and has grown into one of Britain’s most important and most recognised consumer quality marks.
Investors in People then came along and trust marks started to become something that people put on plaques and buildings. With the introduction of the internet in the 90’s, the first trust marks were then used online. These were either ones that verified payment such as Paypal, to show your transaction was safe and the second, being technology security, such as McAfee and other virus protection software.
These were the first few symbols adopted and now training providers and the coaching industry not only have to display these trustmarks to reassure their customers, but also have external third party verification through trust marks is now critically important.
This third party certification and quality marks show which companies can be trusted as they have already been through rigorous standards testing, audited and earned accreditation on merit and performance.
So why do we need them and why are they important?
In today’s world there has been a surge of online learning, and we know that all of our CPDSO providers have achieved a rigorous third party assessment, however, we know there are other scrupulous providers out there.
Since the start of the COVID19 pandemic, there has been a surge in online learning, and the web has become flooded with new training and coaching providers. As with every industry, there is always a black market. Sadly online learning has a dark underbelly, and we know that all of our CPDSO providers have achieved a rigorous third party assessment, however, we know there are other scrupulous providers out there.
Read more in our article published on This World News here – https://twnews.co.uk/uk-news/rise-in-fraudsters-selling-fake-courses-we-reveal-the-top-five-online-training-scams
It’s now more important than ever to show that your training has been verified and that you are a trusted training/coaching provider. You need to differentiate yourself from others on the web to stand out in a crowded market, perceived trust is a key element when customers are deciding whether to purchase a course or learning activity online.
Accreditation inspires trust, influences buying decisions and provides a visual symbol to set you apart from the competition. Our accreditations open the door to set apart your portfolio and signifies “training you can trust”
Squared was originally developed by Google in 2012 as a 6 week face to face immersive learning experience to help combat some of the challenges the media industry was facing around hiring, developing and retaining great digital talent.
Squared was designed to develop the digital leaders of the future by giving them a strategic overview of the digital landscape whilst simultaneously building their collaborative leadership skills. It has been incredibly successful and has since been launched in multiple markets globally with the biggest scale now being achieved via its online version Squared Online.
Google partnered with Home Learning College to develop and deliver this 5-month part-time version, taught fully online by leading industry experts to increase confidence and know-how in digital strategy, leadership and collaboration.
Since its launch in 2013, Squared Online has already helped 1000s of digital marketers and companies across the world develop their digital and leadership capabilities. Endorsed by the IPA, the IAB and NABS, students graduate with the Squared Online certificate in digital marketing.
Mark Howe, Managing Director, EMEA Agencies, Google confirms: “Google has had individual certifications and courses in its products before, but Squared represents a
significant development beyond that; one that has the potential to transform an entire industry.”
Why have you sought CPD Standards Accreditation?
It is important for Squared to gain accreditation from a recognised professional body that prospective students and corporate clients valued, not only to attract more students, but to continue its expansion into new markets.
Many of Squared students are members of professional bodies who want to use the
time they spend studying Squared Online as part of their professional development.
CPD Standard Accreditation provides that badge of quality, enabling them to
participate in a course that meets formal CPD requirements.
In 2015, Squared Online launched in Singapore, and CPD Standards Accreditation was highlighted as a critical factor for its success.
Claire Whittingham, Managing Director, Squared Online says: “We’re delighted to have collaborated with The CPD Standards Office on the adaptation and localisation
of the Squared Online APAC programme, and that their endorsement is held in the
highest regard by our future students.”
What was accredited and how?
Both the UK and APAC versions of Squared Online have been accredited.
How do you use your accreditation?
Square promote its CPD accreditation on its website as well as across its marketing
See the Squared Online website here: https://www.wearesquared.com/about-us
Pitman Training is the UK’s leading independent training provider, helping the nation
transform careers and change lives through self-paced vocational training.
Revolutionising office skills since 1837, Pitman Training has a wealth of heritage
which underpins the foundations of its premium products. Specialists in PA, Microsoft Office, Business, Finance and IT skills training, Pitman Training offers a flexible approach to training for employment and has been trusted for generations which has enabled the provision of exceptional centre-based training for thousands of people every year throughout the UK and overseas
Why have you sought CPD Standards Accreditation?
Pitman Training is aimed at students, young professionals, mums returning to work, career switchers and career developers.
Pitman Training’s ethos is delivering training programmes that help to develop individual’s careers – long term. In this respect there is clear synergy with Pitman Training and CPD.
Claire Lister, Managing Director of Pitman Training Group commented:
- “We sought out CPD Standards accreditation to add value to prospects and
employers, as CPD is a hot topic, and we feel it should be inbuilt into the
fundamentals of all companies in any sector of industry.”
What was accredited and how?
All of Pitman’s training products are CPD accredited – this includes courses, diplomas, awards and seminars. As a result we currently have a course badge which confirms all of our training programmes are fully accredited, and also a centre badge which authorises our centres.
“We have received ongoing support and advice throughout our assessment.
It was a pleasure working with the team at The CPD Standards Office whilst
being assessed, and we look forward to continue working with them
throughout our accreditation, and gaining more information on the CPD
landscape and how to successfully operate within it.”
How do you use your accreditation?
Being accredited by The CPD Standards Office gives us a great talking point with our
prospects, as it is a sought after ‘stamp of approval’ which works in harmony with the kudos of the Pitman Training brand.
Pitman Training has a CPD Standard logo on all of its marketing material and has
introduced a section on the main website, which gives more information on CPD and
Specialist Language Courses (SLC) designs and facilitates complex technical – and business focused language programmes to an international market, focusing on courses where language skills make a critical difference to organisational and individual effectiveness.
As a consultancy SLC offers a ‘best of breed’ approach, working with specialist schools, inhouse training organisations and online language experts. We work with Business, Aviation, Oil & Gas, Maritime, Medicine, Law, Finance, and the Military sectors among others.
SLC works increasingly in online language training. This year, the company is releasing a suite of online Medical English courses for Nurses, Doctors, Health Care Assistants and Carers, and another focusing on the English for Health & Safety in the Oil & Gas industry. Courses will be both self-study and blended, using both online and classroom tuition
Why have you sought CPD Standards Accreditation?
SLC sought CPD Standards Accreditation for its recently launched course, Online English for Nurses: Getting the Essentials Right.
- “We wanted to have the course externally and independently verified in order to
demonstrate the quality of the course to potential learners and organisational
purchasers, such as NHS Trusts, healthcare recruitment companies, private
healthcare groups and medical universities.”
SLC also believed the accreditation would strengthen the marketability of its course as online technical English courses are not part of mainstream training as they are difficult to
create and relatively ‘niche’ in their appeal. They commented:
- “Given the irregular shifts of healthcare professionals and how busy most are, we
believe that an online training is the best way for international nurses to learn the
English to communicate effectively in an English-speaking environment. We felt that
having CPD Standards accreditation would give us greater authority when
presenting the concept to individuals and organisations.”
SLC delegates are international nurses who are preparing to work, or who have recently
started to work in an English-speaking environment, including NHS Trusts, private hospitals,
primary care practices, and care homes. SLC commented on how they benefit from a CPD
- “Nurses need to show that they have undertaken CPD-accredited activities as part of their re-validation process. For international nurses, taking our course shows a
commitment to improving their communication skills in interactions with patients
and other healthcare professionals.”
What was accredited and how?
SLC its first online Medical English course, ‘Online English for Nurses: Getting the Essentials
Right’ accredited. They commented:
- “We are hoping to have our upcoming online Medical English courses for Health Care
Assistants & Carers and for doctors accredited when they are launched this year.”
SLC benefitted from the assessment process through the advice to improve their course to a higher standard. They commented:
- “We received some good advice, especially around course follow up and feedback,
which we will integrate into the second iteration of the course. We are also
developing a blended version of the course which we will make sure addresses the
points raised around tutor support for online learning.”
How do you use your accreditation?
SLC promote the CPD Standards accreditation on their website and have a dedicated course page where the logo is found. The course is also promoted on marketing collateral used for networking opportunities. They commented:
- “We have recently entered a series of partnerships with healthcare recruitment
companies who are giving or offering the course to their international nursing
candidates. In all cases, the fact that the course is CPD-accredited is a definite
What effect has the CPD Standards Office accreditation had on your business?
SLC believes the CPD Standards accreditation has given them stronger credibility in the
marketplace. They commented:
- “For a new product in a relatively unchartered space, it has helped in forming partnerships
and in opening up conversations with potential customers.