Following our previous announcement of the EEESafe Qualification, we decided to take a look at Continuing Professional Development. The reasons for doing so were that we had realised that some providers in the Appliance Repair Training Sector, seem to place a high value on CPD and could be confused on it's value, within a Safe Appliance Repair or Refurbishment standard.
So first, lets ask what is Continuing Professional Development?
One of the best descriptions we've seen comes from the Academic Jobs Recruitment Site which we thought worth a full citation.
“CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development. It refers to the process of tracking and documenting the skills, knowledge and experience that you gain both formally and informally as you work, beyond any initial training. It's a record of what you experience, learn and then apply. The term is generally used to mean a physical folder or portfolio documenting your development as a professional. Some organisations use it to mean a training or development plan, which I would argue is not strictly accurate. This article is about CPD as a process of recording and reflecting on learning and development.”
Clearly from such a defined description there is no reference to relating it to a Standard within any sector, nor to a CPD being accredited to an organisation itself, if any organisation would appear to be using it in that way. Equally it's clearly not for accrediting the skills relevant to the competence of a person or a qualification relevant to any sector and organisation. From further research and enquiries to some of the companies that offer their own CPD accreditation or offer CPD accreditation services (including a logo), we found agreement in every case.
We know that many public sector and professional bodies mandate in their qualifications, that CPD is a requirement as it is also with many of the employers of corporate organisations with a large employee count.
To the best of our knowledge, it also isn't mandated by the majority of SME's either, as a method of selling their brand based on the skills of their employees. Where it is used, you should expect to see a thorough explanation of how they use it to meet their own CPD requirements. It could be attractive to an employee, applying for their job and an employer would have to allow time for their employees, to fulfill their own requirements. This would of course come at a cost to the Employer, and it would therefore demonstrate commitment to their staff. As an example, they could allowing them to attend events or updates relevant to their skills or to broaden them, perhaps attaining management skills or filling a skills or knowledge gap in their current employment.
So we can agree that many may use it this way as a Branding Exercise to attract entrants into their organisations. Of course this too can apply to Sole Traders as well, of which there are many within the independent Appliance repair sector, a sector where EEESafe operates. However no company in Appliance Repair that we know of is responsible for the personal development of that person, because in CPD as we can see, it's the person themselves that maintain their record. An employer of a Repairer, may allow them to expand their skills and accordingly the employee would update their evidence, but CPD of an organisation does nothing more in our view, except that it accredits that their committed to such the companies process and how they achieve their outcomes. Clearly it's not accrediting the quality of the training, as any accreditor of that training would need to themselves, hold a recognised depth of knowledge in that discipline, if they were to accredit internally and/or externally the training itself. In short, if this isn't done, then they are just giving training that meets nothing else other that what it believes to be good training.
CPD can apply to a simple process like using a Keyboard, driving a car or to something more complex such as having the ability to fix the whole car electrically or mechanically. Therefore it must be taken in context and not be confused with any accreditation of a certification or qualification, least not as a Competence Measure such as offered by EEESafe.
It's at this point you read why it was important that we clarified the differences between CPD and a Qualification. We would like to make it clear to any reader that EEESafe is a White Goods Repair & Refurbishing Standard of Large domestic appliances. The process of being Certified or Qualified, has been defined in advance and EEESafe sits as the regulator of the EEESafe Standard and it's Training has carefully and proudly contracted out to Dixons Training to deliver.
Admittedly, it's our own Standard but the Qualification has been designed and based on meeting the National Occupational Standards within 6 units, that will be Externally Verified by an Accreditor who has instructions and training on how to Verify the Qualification. Currently that Verification process is being finalised, so that we can also be assured that any 3rd Party Organisation who chooses to also deliver the EEESafe Qualification or Certification, will be required to follow a set standard and process and be assessed as competent to do so, by EEESafe. Equally, any other Training organisation will be welcome to submit their training materials and methods, if they too wish to be recognised as an official route to becoming EEESafe Qualified. This allows us to recognise the value of their existing work from previous training, and potentially reduces their investment on becoming recognised by us, and equally can potentially lower costs for existing Appliance Repairers or Workshop Refurbishers.
EEESafe does not deliver the course, and for individuals who become EEESafe Domestic Appliance Technicians (DATs) or Refurbishers, (DARs) the process for remaining Certified or Qualified is an ongoing one that must be followed. Within that process, through continual monitoring that you are following the standard, EEESafe will manage the process throughout the year and therefore itself, is a type of CPD process ensuring you are operating to a standard not only that the consumers can trust but is already proven to be, safer than a British Standard.