Branching out - the Championing CPD project

CSP fieldwork officer Sophie Wickins outlines the achievements of the Championing CPD project and what comes next

The Championing CPD project was a great success

The CSP’s current Championing CPD (continuing professional development) Project, started in 2012, has come to a close. But its legacy will continue in the form of a new project funded by the CSP Charitable Trust.

This new project will be called Championing CPD: supporting members to optimise the quality of patient care in the context of the post-Francis agenda. It will continue to develop key elements of the previous project.

The Championing CPD Project ‘Achieving CPD Excellence in Changing Workplace Contexts’ ran from April 2012 to 2014. It was funded by the TUC’s Union Learning Fund with the aim of helping members engage more effectively in workplace learning and CPD.

The project was a great success. It engaged with members from across the CSP, recruited a network of learning champions and produced a selection of resources to help with CPD.

This article highlights four of the main aspects of the original project which members have been involved in: learning champions, the CPD habits series, CPD health check workshops and case studies.

Learning champions

A key part of the 2012-14  project, and arguably its most important element, has been the development of a dedicated network of learning champions. These are members from across the CSP who volunteer to help promote, support and engage their peers in learning and CPD.

There are 110 registered learning champions, who have supported more than 6,000 members across England with their CPD. As the number of learning champions grows, so too will the number of members being supported.

Next steps:Take a look at your region.Are you lagging behind the South West in numbers of learning champions? Let’s get Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland on the map too. Sign up today!

What do learning champions do?

The learning champion role is really flexible. You can do as much, or as little, as you are able in whatever way suits you best.

There are learning champions who are support workers, students, academics and clinicians. There are those who undertake the role in their workplace, at regional networks, within professional networks and with groups of like-minded peers, such as private practitioners.

Some learning champions organise formal learning events, others offer one-to-one guidance and support (‘virtually’ and in person), and others provide information to their peers through newsletters or emails.

The list of activities is continually growing, with new ideas and innovative ways to engage and support learning and CPD. For example, one learning champion hosts clinical debates with members of the multidisciplinary team.

Another organised a portfolio and pizza night in her department. Another facilitates a group of private practitioners to meet in a local pub to provide peer supervision. The possibilities of the role are endless.

We have developed a series of added value documents to help make the case for having a learning champion in your area.

These are available as PDF downloads or as hard copies.

Next steps: if you are interested in becoming a learning champion, take a look at the frequently asked questions  on the sign up.

CPD habits

When the project started, a message we received loud and clear from members was that they wanted a simple, easy to access, quick reference guide to CPD. In response, we developed the CPD habits series. To date more than 800 sets have been requested by members.

The series contains information on:

  • CPD essentials – an overview
  • critical thinking – helping you to think more critically about your learning
  • critical reading – applying critical thinking principles to what you read
  • looking backwards – reflective practice
  • looking forwards – planning your learning
  • collecting and using evidence – how to demonstrate learning with evidence
  • keeping a portfolio – ideas for storing and organising your portfolio

The series is available for members either as a PDF download, an interactive online version or as a hard copy set.

Next steps:

  • Request your copy of the CPD habits series today.
  • How does your approach to learning and CPD compare?
  • Could you be doing things differently?

In addition to the CPD habits, we developed a number of other materials, including the applied CPD topics.

These are interactive resources covering topical issues from a CPD perspective, such as scope of practice, professionalism and independent prescribing.

For access to all the other Championing CPD materials, log on to the eportfolio and visit the CPD resources workspace, where you can find these and all other CPD resources from the CSP.

CPD health check workshops

Throughout the project, Jo Etherton and I (the fieldwork officers) met as many members as possible. You may have seen us at Physiotherapy UK in 2013,  or at the Annual Representative Conference and regional network meetings.

We also visited a number of workplaces to undertake ‘CPD health check’ workshops.  We ran sessions in 26 venues, reaching 436 members, including those in the NHS, university, military and private healthcare settings.

Feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Being able to meet you, listen and understand your needs in relation to CPD has enabled us to be responsive within our work and inform wider CSP activity.

We hope that the network of learning champions will continue to support their peers in delivering similar workshops in their own areas of work. fl

Case studies

Through our fieldwork activities we met with more than 1,200 CSP members and they all had a story to tell in relation to CPD. So we wanted to try and capture and share some of these.

We have developed a collection of 10 CPD stories or case studies, which we feel showcase the variety of ways in which members experience learning and CPD within the course of their day to day lives.

We have supported these stories with a narrative to encourage critical thinking and discussion, sources of further information, and a CPD activity.

You might like to read about Nicola, who moved from a job in the NHS to work in a charity-run care home, or Stuart, who successfully made the case for funding for CPD even in these challenging times.

We also profiled Piotr, a Polish physio who works as an assistant while working towards his professional registration. There is something for everyone.

These narratives can be accessed as online PDF versions or via the website.

We are extremely grateful to all the participants for their contribution and willingness to share their experiences and hope you find their stories interesting and helpful.

What’s next?

  • The focus of the next 12 months will be on the post-Francis agenda.
  • The aim will be to support members to navigate, understand and implement learning from key topical reports, like the Francis report, by supporting  them to  see CPD as an integral part of professionalism, skills development and service improvement.
  • The network of learning champions will continue, and we hope it will continue to grow and develop especially in the other three countries, as well as England.
  • There will be continued support for learning champions through one-to-one support and via the iCSP network.

and finally ...    

Thanks to all the members who have signed up as learning champions and continue to support the learning and development of their peers ... keep up the good work!

  • To find out more or to access the resources discussed in this article, visit Championing CPD :


Sophie Wickins

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