CPD: Lifelong Learning of Millions

PARN Global News Article - 24 August 2011

CPD: Lifelong Learning of Millions

CPD: Lifelong Learning of Millions

PARN Director Prof Andy Friedman’s new book titled Continuing Professional Development: Lifelong Learning of Millions offers the first comprehensive study on the subject of CPD.

A fundamental change in the nature of professionalism is taking place; a change in what it is to be a professional and to be recognised as one. In the past, to be a professional was to have a qualification. After years of study, and often an apprentice-like period of training, an individual would gain a certificate and a few letters after their name. Once achieved, the qualification was in effect good for life. The doctor or accountant or engineer was ‘qualified’ to practice until retirement.

This is changing. In today’s world, professionals are increasingly required to demonstrate a perpetual commitment to Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in order to be allowed to practice. CPD is the means by which professionals ensure that their knowledge and skills remain up to date and relevant to changing needs and environments.

The Professional Associations Research Network (PARN) found that 81% of professional bodies have a formal CPD policy. Compliance rates by individuals relate closely to the types of policies used by their professional bodies. For instance, 99% professionals under a compulsory policy meet their CPD requirements; 60% of professionals under an obligatory policy comply; and 38% under a voluntary policy meet their requirements. See chart below:

CPD has been significantly developing and shaping professionals over the past few decades, but the subject of CPD has yet to be noticed by mainstream media and the general public. Even though CPD is being carried out by 3.4 million professionals in the UK (26% of all professionals in the UK), it is rarely the subject of government policy and only a very minor subject of academic inquiry.

“I predict that in the coming decades, CPD will become more visible to the general public and more important for how professionals are viewed and scrutinised by potential clients and patients,” Prof Andy Friedman commented.

CPD is likely to attract more public policy attention as it comes to be regarded as an essential part of lifelong learning and is seen to add value to individual learners as well as to the reputation and effectiveness of the professions.

About the book

Starting with a discussion on what CPD is, this book analyzes how professional bodies govern CPD, what support they provide to individual professionals and how they measure or evaluate what individuals do under the provenance of CPD.

This book explains why up to now, CPD has been a relatively neglected subject, in spite of it being carried out by millions. It argues whether a variety of perspectives or visions of CPD has held back wider public appreciation of it and if greater co-ordination by professional bodies, or the introduction of new players to the field, will change this in the future.

This innovative book will be required reading for CPD professionals and researchers and is a fascinating read for all professionals, especially those involved with HR, management or leadership development.


'CPD is now a key element of ongoing trust in the professions - and it is here to stay. This book is an invaluable reference tool in relation to the history of CPD and ways in which it might evolve in the future.'

Helen Brand, Chief Executive
The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)

'CPD performs a pivotal role in ensuring that professionals maintain and develop their skills and knowledge throughout their careers and so maintain public confidence in the services that they provide. This book provides an invaluable analysis of the origins of, and rationale behind, the development of CPD together with an insightful look at the ways in which it may develop in the future.'

Desmond Hudson, Chief Executive
The Law Society

How to order

The 280 page hardback book is available for purchase from the PARN website – published by Routledge.

Order today!

  • £80 for non-members
  • £60 for PARN Members