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Flexible professional development

This post is sponsored by Trotman


Keeping up to date with what is happening in professional practice is always a challenge. We all struggle to find time as we try to juggle the competing commitments we have on a day to day basis. Ironically those of us who work helping others to develop and plan their careers are often the worst! We can always find time to help students think about what their next step will be, but we are less good at doing this for ourselves.

It is important, however, that we maintain our professional practice and keep up to date with what is happening in our field; it is an ethical imperative. Finance and resources are always a challenge, and working overseas may place an additional challenge, as you may be aware of conferences, training, seminars, lectures etc that may be geographically prohibitive. In our book, ‘CPD for the Career Development Professional’, Claire Johnson and I consider the challenges and make some suggestions as to how you can still contribute, even from a distance.

There are many online tools and resources which can be used. Some of them will be formal learning activities and others may be informal. We think it is important to be able to invest in CPD in manageable chunks. This allows you to fit activities in where you may have a 20-30-minute window. Below is a list of our favourite ones. 

  • TED talks. These are video recordings of speakers from various disciplines talking about a range of topics from science to business. They are usually quite short 15-20 minutes but really useful for training and thinking about ideas in different ways. Information on these can be found at There are a number of talks about career, careers advice, finding the right job etc.
  • Moocs. This stands for multiple open online courses. These are bite-sized courses that anyone can sign up for. They are delivered by universities across the world and provide the opportunity to engage in a broad range of topic areas on career and personal development. They are usually not accredited. Information on courses can be found at
  • Open learning. Other free online learning is available from the Open University  They again offer a range of short courses or extracts from some of their other programmes as a taster. The iTunes U also offers educational audio and video files on a range of topic areas. You can download an app that provides access to these:
  • Twitter feeds. Twitter is a really good way to stay in touch with what is happening in policy, research and new ideas. Increasingly conferences will have a dedicated Twitter feed which gives people who can’t attend online access to the discussions points and often presentations and documents. Check out the recent #icegs20 hashtag which documents an international conference at the University in Derby in May 2018 focusing on new perspectives in work.
  • Online newsletters. Many organisations produce weekly or monthly newsletters. Some, such as the CDI, contain information about a range of topics others are more thematically focused. Some are specifically for members, such as the newsletter for the Career Development Institute, and others are more general. These are a useful way of accessing useful data quickly.  Ones that are worth a look include Ceric and Cegnet

These are a selection of ways that you can develop your professional knowledge as well as developing yourself.

For more information see CPD for the Career Development Professional or sign up to Trotman’s Career Leaders e-newsletter.


Dr Siobhan Neary is Head of the International Centre for Guidance Studies at the University of Derby. She has an extensive background in teaching and learning in relation to guidance and career management and have developed several programmes to support practitioners, including career management courses, careers education and guidance studies at both undergraduate and post graduate levels. She teaches on the MA in Career Education and Coaching, the University's Doctor of Education programme and Research Supervision programme for academic staff.