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Continuing Professional Development guidance for members

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Continuing professional development (CPD) is the term used to describe a person’s commitment to lifelong learning and is an essential part of any quality or audit professional’s career.

CPD is defined as any activity that helps you develop your expertise, achieve your career goals and engage with your colleagues in new and effective ways. CPD is also recognised by employers as evidence of a proactive approach to professional development. 

Should I be recording my CPD?

The CQI/IRCA encourages all its members to undertake CPD activity to support their development needs. Members at the following grades are required to undertake and record CPD and may be requested to submit their CPD log for review at any time.

Should you fail to submit CPD on request this may result in you being downgraded or withdrawal of your membership.

Brands Grades


IRCA All grades

How much time should I spend on my CPD?

The CQI/IRCA does not have a points or hours based CPD system. Our approach is output-based, focusing on the impact of the CPD, rather than measuring how long was spent on the activity.

However, for guidance purposes, we recommend that you complete 3-4 development objectives every 12 months comprising 25-35 hours of activities.

How do I record my CPD?

You can record and manage your CPD in the Members' Area of under the ‘My Records’ section. In order to make the most out of the CPD process, we suggest that you follow a plan, do, check, act (PDCA) approach.*

*We can accept CPD records submitted on forms from other bodies, provided that you can demonstrate you are identifying your own development needs and completing appropriate development activities. Please contact us to check that your method of recording CPD is appropriate.

How to approach your CPD?

Step 1 – Plan

Planning your learning objectives is a really important stage of CPD because it helps you use your time effectively and tailor activities to suit your needs. It’s vital you consider both your short-term and long-term career aspirations, and assess your current knowledge and skills, in order to identify what you want to learn over the next 12 months.

What you need to do?Things to considerHow the CQI can help?
  • List three to four achievable objectives
  • Set a start date and target end date
  • List potential activities you may complete in order to achieve your objective

When considering what objectives to set yourself, you may wish to consider:

  • your career aspirations
  • recent work appraisals, to help you understand your strengths and weaknesses
  • changes in standards, industry, your profession, regulations and legislation
  • feedback you have received from colleagues, employers and clients
  • organisation and client plans and requirements
  • Use our online CPD log to plan and record your CPD
  • Use The Profession Map to identify new skills within the scope of the profession
  • Review our membership grade criteria to find out what you need to progress through our grades

Step 2 – Do

You can record any professional activity that helps you achieve your objectives but it should be proportionate and relevant to your role. The amount of CPD that you record can be proportionate to your role and circumstances – i.e. if you work part-time, on a voluntary basis, or are retired. Also, the CQI/IRCA does not require CPD to be undertaken in a set amount of time.

What you need to do?What counts as a valid CPD activity?How the CQI can help?
  • Set aside 45 minutes in your diary every three months to update your CPD record
  • Record all activities you have completed which are relevant to your objectives
  • If someone is helping you with one of your activities, encourage them to meet with you to discuss your approach. Be specific about what you need from them.
  • Work experience (particularly new projects or initiatives)
  • Volunteering in a professional capacity

  • On-the-job training (either given or received)

  • Completion of qualifications

  • Short courses and workshops

  • Private study, such as reading or research

  • Mentoring and coaching

  • Attending events and conferences

  • e-learning via webinars or distance learning

This list isn’t exhaustive. If you have done something that has helped you to develop your competence and achieve your objectives, go ahead and record it.

  • Log in to the members’ area to access resources such as:
  • technical papers

  • Quality World magazine

  •  e-library

  • Mentoring platform

  • Videos & webinars

  • Quality Careers hub

Make sure we have your correct email address so you can receive our monthly Knowledge email, packed full of information for your CPD.

Step 3 – Check

The essence of CPD is planning and reflection. People who reflect are able to retain more information and are more efficient at applying it to improve their performance. However, if an activity doesn’t go as expected you still need to reflect on what happened, taking note of what you need to do differently in order to achieve that learning objective.

What you need to do?Things to considerHow the CQI can help?
  • Reflect on your activities and achievements and how they helped you to develop, and don’t forget to ensure that you put these skills into practice
  • At the end of the year look at the objectives you haven’t achieved and what further work is required to achieve them
  • Start your CPD plan for the next year,
    using your current log to help inform your new objectives.

Thinking about the following questions could help you:

  • What have you learned from these activities?
  • What difference has this made to you?
  • What will you change as a result of this?
  • Has the objective been met (fully or partially)?
  • If it has been partially met, what gaps remain?
  • Visit your local CQI branch where you can discuss ideas and solutions with other quality professionals
  • Join our LinkedIn group for further networking opportunities
  • Share your new knowledge with others by contributing to CQI publications (Quality World and the Knowledge email), just send
    your ideas to: [email protected]

Step 4 – Act

If the objective has been met, write it here. Then create a new objective. Consider if you need to revise or extend the scope of the objective.

What you need to do 

If your objective has been fully met, record it as such and create a new objective to replace it.

If you need to change or extend the objective based on what you have learned, write it here and then go back to the plan stage to make sure you have a clear outline of how you will attempt to meet the revised objective.

Most importantly, you need to put into practice what you have learned through achieving this objective.


Start recording your CPD

You can record and manage your CPD in the Members' Area.