Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

What is CPD?

Let’s start by decoding the acronym. CPD is Continuing Professional Development and it’s how we make sure our skills and capabilities keep pace as our careers grow.

The key word is ‘continuing’. CPD shouldn’t be something we just pick up when we are wanting a promotion or applying for professional registration. It should be something that we do as part of our working lives.

Leading companies and managers recognize this and provide plenty of support for their employees, but ultimately it’s down to you.

The CPD Cycle

CPD is much more effective if you do it as part of a cycle – with some planning before and reflection afterwards.

There’s also an opportunity to use what you’ve learnt to help others.


A good place to begin is by setting aside some time to think about the direction you’d like your career to go – use the classic interview question “Where do you see yourself in five or ten years’ time?”


Then consider what skills you already have to get you there – are there any things you might need to work on? Are there any things missing altogether?

That’s probably the hardest part. Once you’ve got this you’ve made a start.


You can now identify activities that are going to meet your needs.


It doesn’t all have to be done at once and you will probably need to prioritise. Remember: quality beats quantity every time!


Make sure that you record what you’ve done plus what you got out of it and what else you might need to do to meet your goal.


This reflection stage is often neglected but it’s really helpful as it means that your CPD will continually evolve to meet your needs as your career develops.


Don’t forget to share what you learn – both by coaching others and by putting what you’ve learned into practice.

Top tips

If you are just getting started or finding yourself struggling with your current CPD, Matt Bower, Operations Team Leader at DWQR for Scotland and Institute of Water CPD Champion has some top tips to help with your approach to CPD.


Useful guides and documents

CPD Cycle
It is advised that CPD is seen as a cycle and we have developed this handy guide to help you.

CPD Guidance: Early, Mid and Later Career
We don’t just do CPD at the start of our careers so we have developed some guidance to help you with your approach to CPD depending on what stage you are:

CPD Code
The Institute of Water is committed to ensuring that its members are actively involved in CPD and assisting them in this.  Our CPD Code sets out our commitment and expectations of members.

Institute of Water Online CPD Portal

Institute of Water members can record their Continuing Professional Development (CPD) online using our exclusive online CPD portal. Simply log in to your online membership portal and select ‘My CPD’.

This unique feature allows members to:

  • Set and prioritise CPD goals online
  • Add activities for each goal, including notes and attachments
  • Complete evaluations for each activity, reflecting on learning outcomes
  • Print or save your CPD record in a read friendly format


We recommend the portal as the best way of recording CPD and making sure that you include all the necessary elements, but we recognise that some members prefer to use other methods. Your employer may specify how you record CPD, but as an alternative, this spreadsheet has been designed to include all the elements we expect to see in member’s CPD records.


Annual CPD Monitoring Exercise and the CPD Awards

To award the professional registrations we offer, the registration authorities (Engineering Council, Science Council and Society for the Environment) expect the Institute of Water to sample CPD from a cross section of our members who hold a professional registration. We also select some of our Corporate Members who aren’t on a register, demonstrating the importance we place on CPD.

The best CPD records we receive are put forward for the Institute of Water’s annual CPD Award, which is presented at the President’s Dinner and Awards.