More often than not engineers do not realise when they are clocking up continuing professional development experience, says ICE professional development manager Niall O'Hea.
The ICE is pushing CPD hard a Civils - O'Hea will be making the case that 'CPD can be anything you want it to be' when he kicks off the show's seminar programme at 10.30 on Tuesday 11 June. 'It could even be art', he says, citing the example of Connell Mott MacDonald engineers who are using life drawing classes to hone their drafting skills.
Gaining chartered status is constantly in the thoughts of young engineers, but finding the time to undertake special courses causes a real headache. Fully understanding just how, when aned where extra CPD points can be earned can save graduate engineers years of scratching around at boring meetings, he says.
O'Hea emphasises that CPD does not come to a halt once engineers gain chartered status either. It is an integral part of career development - clocking up relevant experience is part and parcel of deciding on and achieving professional goals.
He is quick to point out that turning up to a meeting does not in itself merit CPD points: the experience needs to be useful to count. 'If it makes you a better engineer it's CPD; if it doesn't it is not.' O'Hea lists attending lectures, seminars or debates, visiting sites, surfing the net, and visiting exhibitions as relevant activities.
Structured reading - that is, taking notes as you go - counts. O'Hea awards himself 10 hours' worth of CPD whenever he prepares a 60 minute talk for the first time. And getting involved in organising activities is an excellent way of honing communication or managerial skills - it is CPD writ large.
Head along to hear O'Hea in action at Civils or visit the ICE stand to find out more on professional development. And earn yourself some valuable points by looking around the show while you are there. Civils will be crammed with more than 200 exhibitors, all eager to share information about new services, products and techniques.
Stand 12 D 150