A common acronym in the corporate world, CPD is a huge, underleveraged benefit for both employers and employees in any industry. But what is it and how does it work in motorsport? Read on to find out how it can work for you, your career prospects or your business….
What is CPD?
Continuing Professional Development, or CPD, is a term used to describe learning activities carried out to improve your knowledge, skills and ability to perform your job function. Whether you are a 21-year-old graduate or 61-year-old wannabe retiree, none of you will know all there is to know about your job and nor should you. But without CPD you never will. This is how you get left behind in the career stakes, especially in motorsport which relies so heavily on innovation and progression.
CPD courses can be anything from a short online course to a full Master’s or PhD. Anything where you continue your learning and develop new skills relevant to your career.
CPD is critical to the motorsport industry’s future – in technological terms as well as for the advancement of governance, ethics and sustainability, all of which will futureproof the sport. Can any of us truly say that we know as much as we need to know to complete our job function to the absolute best of our capability? Chances are it’s a long time since you got your last qualification and despite what you learn on the job, changes in any business are inevitable. But are you keeping up? Are your skills going to stop the next generation from snapping at your heels and overtaking you on the career ladder? CPD helps you to keep your industry knowledge up-to-date and advance your skills without having to return to college or university full time. Continuing Professional Development courses are often small bite-sized chunks which allow you to hone the skills that you want to develop, rather than study a course which may end up going over things you’re already proficient at.
For some of us, there’s nothing worse than feeling out of our depth. For others, there’s an in-built need to stay ahead of the curve, to keep on learning. CPD is a sure-fire way to protect your future by learning something which helps you in the course of your day-to-day job or future career. If you’re lacking in any skills which you feel are holding you back you can almost guarantee that there’s a CPD course for it! Leadership, languages, applied maths, HR, PR – the list is endless!
Even if you’re not hunting that next promotion, there’s bound to be some way in which you can improve your understanding of the industry or learn something which will make your job easier. Perhaps you lack IT skills or learning another language would help you communicate with suppliers abroad? That would all be classed as CPD. It can also be classed as CPD if you decide to learn more about industry specific software, and most software development programmes have online tutorials to help you get to grips with the latest version and new applications.
CPD can help you learn more and earn more and most employers will let you have time out of your working day to complete it.
How Does CPD Work in Motorsport?
CPD is a way to update your knowledge and build new skills without having to return to the classroom full time. It’s like going back to school on your own terms. Imagine if you got to choose what and how you studied when you were 11. One day it would have been Pokémon, the next Meccano, perhaps a bit of sport thrown in for good measure. Forget all the boring lessons – you’d have studied what you wanted when you wanted. Well as an adult you get to choose how and what you learn – that’s CPD. Well, in motorsport anyway!
Say you’re a race technician who’s worked in BTCC most of your career. Last year, all of a sudden, it’s announced that BTCC is introducing hybrid technology. It’s years since you qualified, and you know your stuff but do you know enough? CPD allows you to upskill in emerging areas or develop skills which perhaps weren’t required when you first qualified. It allows you to master new technologies and quite often will be supported and funded, at least in part, by your employer.
Who Is Responsible for CPD?
Once you leave school it’s you who is ultimately responsible for continuing your education. If you want a better job or a higher salary, improve your skills. Often it’s that simple. But all employers have a moral obligation to help you do your job to the best of your ability. Many employers also offer workplace learning and CPD as part of a wider commitment to the development of their employees. And so they should! Investors in People is a UK initiative designed to set the benchmark for promoting training and development in the workplace. A study by Cranfield University showed that involvement in the IIP framework increased financial performance as well as improving levels of trust, cooperation and people engagement. The companies involved made more money by investing in their people. CPD courses can also be tax deductible if a company can prove that the training is improving the skills needed in the business. It’s a win-win!
When it comes to paying for your CPD, your employer will be able to tell you if they offer any incentives or employee benefits for training courses. More than often, your employer won’t realise any taxable benefit if they reimburse you for a training course so will be unlikely to help cover the cost. Check with your HR department before signing up for a CPD course as you may get some of the costs covered!
How Do You Find a Provider for CPD in Motorsport?
Workplace learning opportunities in motorsport are limited, especially if you want to learn skills which are industry specific. There are plenty of CPD courses out there to address skills gaps in IT, HR, even marketing but finding something industry specific can be tricky, especially in a niche business which spans so many different specialisms. You need to find a supplier who is embedded in your industry and knows the skills required to succeed in that industry.
Ever since we launched our online motorsport engineering degrees, we’ve been offering people the ability to study the course content as CPD modules. It’s always been our intention that our motorsport courses will help to improve the level of skills within the industry and train the next generation of motorsport professionals. The development of our Motorsport Business School enabled us to take this one step further and offer CPD modules for commercial motorsport skills such as marketing, governance and change management.
In short, find a CPD provider who offers CPD courses specific to your industry or the area in which you want to upskill. You’ll also want to consider what you get at the end of the course. Does it offer an accredited qualification or certificate or is it ‘just for fun’? Take time to weight up your options. You can find out more about CPD accredited courses below.
How Are CPD Courses Delivered?
The majority of CPD courses are now online. E-learning has been around a long time in the workplace, even before Covid forced us all onto Zoom and Teams so most CPD providers offer engaging interactive online content. Delivering CPD courses online means that you can complete your studies anywhere and at any time. So, if your employer doesn’t offer CPD support you can still improve your skills at home. Otherwise, most CPD courses are carried out during office hours using your normal office equipment. Aside from some of our engineering CPD modules where you’ll be required to use specific software, generally all you will need is a laptop and internet connection.
What Do You Get at the End of a CPD Course?
Whether you’re paying for your CPD course or your employer, you want to make sure it’s worth the investment in time and money. Lots of online courses offer no accreditation at the end. By that we mean that you don’t get a recognised qualification when you complete the course.
CPD courses can be accredited by various awarding bodies who are there to make sure that the qualifications meet the right standards. For example, our Business School offers CPD modules which are accredited by AIM Qualifications. At the end of the course you receive an NMA CPD Certificate and the Investing in your Future Award from AIM. Our Motorsport Engineering CPD modules are awarded university credits by our academic partner De Montfort University. Should you go on to study a full degree with the NMA within two years, these credits can be transferred to your degree and you’ll be credited with the fees.
A CPD qualification can be a great way to boost your career opportunities but only if your current or future employer values the paper it’s written on! Be sure to check the small print!