Continued professional development is a catalyst for wholesale growth

CPD is the workplace equivalent of ‘every day’s a school day’

Women in Business
There’s something inherently exciting in the possibility and potential that learning can bring (Nora Carol Photography/Getty Images)

What exactly is CPD? It’s not just a trendy new acronym or the latest industry buzzword, but rather a catch-all term for learning activities and experiences professional people engage with to enhance their own skillset.

Continuing professional development (CPD), to give it its full title, is the workplace equivalent of ‘every day’s a school day’ in that it recognises the fact that learning is an unending process… in the best way possible!

There’s something inherently exciting in the possibility and potential that learning can bring. In knowing there’s no age limit to acquiring new knowledge or skills – it certainly doesn’t stop with school.

CPD exists to ensure an individual maximises their potential once they have formally qualified, which is a mantra that lies at the very heart of Centre of Learning, the newly-launched business offering and fourth social enterprise to stand proudly on the shoulders of the WiB Group.

As a previous HR director with over 35 years’ experience, I am no stranger to the world of CPD and am delighted to now take up the mantle as Centre of Learning director.

Working closely with our partners at Spirit AeroSystems, Rathbane Group, Belfast Harbour Commission and Bazaarvoice, the Centre of Learning is here to take the concept of continual learning a step further as it aims to be the hub of choice in Northern Ireland, not only for impactful professional development but also personal development for all women and allies.

Learning and development are essential strategic imperatives for organisations seeking to attract, develop and retain their future leaders. While we have seen progress over the last number of years, we don’t yet have a fully inclusive work force driving the economy. In fact, a CMI report last year highlighted that fewer than half (41%) of management roles in the UK workplace are held by women.

The Centre of Learning is unique in that it offers a suite of programmes delivered by a wide range of industry leading experts that address the multiple demands of the working world.

The speed of design and forward thinking in our programme delivery means that to date, we have supported over 4,000 professionals on their personal and professional journeys.

Denise Black
Denise Black

On a big-picture scale, we are developing specific initiatives and programmes to help move that dial on gender equality.

Doing so will of course require close collaboration, which is exactly what we’re doing at the moment with the Labour Relations Agency to understand fully the challenges we still face. More to come on that front.

In Centre of Learning, we have launched a gateway to knowledge, development and economic growth. All our programmes, attract delegates from all sectors, so you have the opportunity to fully learn, connect and grow.

  • Denise Black is director at the Centre of Learning, part of the WiB Group