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Skill development key to increasing productivity; JOHAN COETSEE.

THE importance of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) has long been recognised.

Changes and advances in areas such as biotechnology, growth of knowledge and service-based industries, and globalisation of economies, demand ongoing skill development. Professionals therefore need to constantly update their knowledge and skills in order to meet internal and external demands.

This can be regarded as important for personal, organisational and societal survival and success. Although there is agreement that continuous learning is important, in reality it plays out differently.

Some professionals actively seek and are motivated to develop their skills, while others are less inclined to embark on a continuous learning journey.

What is important is that real or perceived barriers to engage with CPD activities must be overcome. Setting time aside to engage with CPD activities can increase not only personal satisfaction but also add value in the workplace.

It seems, however, that those who actively seek CPD learning opportunities take responsibility for their own learning, ie they are self-directed in the learning process and have clearly articulated goals of what they want to achieve with engaging in CPD activities.

These goals may differ, and goals such as to increase their level of competence in their present job; enhance career development; to comply with statutory requirements; to build a professional network and to supplement gaps in prior education, serve as examples in this regard. Various opportunities such as learning from organised learning activities; learning from experience, learning from social interaction with colleagues and learning from consulting media exist. What is needed is for professionals to reflect on their own personal motivation, goals and aspirations and to have a structured and strategic approach towards professional development.

However, it is not only the responsibility of individual professionals. Organisations play an important role in empowering professionals in their development quest. Support from senior management, the creation of a positive learning culture and learning opportunities as well as inspiring employees are vital building blocks in assisting professionals to learn.

Service providers also have a responsibility to ensure formal learning activities are meaningful, learning is transferable and address personal learning needs.

It is this alliance and partnership between professionals, organisations and service providers that will help to establish the North as a real powerhouse.

If we as a region want to increase productivity and create a vibrant and growing economy, we need professionals who are willing to invest time and energy in skill development activities.

Newcastle Business School (Northumbria University) provides a range of CPD activities that help professionals to meet their personal goals.

Dr Johan Coetsee, director of CPD and Collaborative Programmes, Newcastle Business School

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Copyright 2016 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Mar 2, 2016
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