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Personal Development Plans – the benefits for you and your organisation

CMS Vocational Training Hadyn Luke posted this on Wednesday 29th of May 2019 Hadyn Luke 29/05/2019

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Personal Development Plans – the benefits for you and your organisation

At CMS, we ensure that every apprentice has a Personal Development Plan to follow. These are created by consulting both the employer and the apprentice at the start of the apprenticeship and are periodically reviewed to make sure that goals and targets are being met.

Whether or not you are following an apprenticeship, a Personal Development Plan can be a useful blueprint for your career and more generally in your life.

What is a Personal Development Plan?

A Personal Development Plan, or PDP, is a useful framework with which to list your skills, learning and achievements so far, identify your goals and work out the measures you need to put in place to progress.

Supporting the idea that learning can be a lifelong activity, PDPs can help people of any age, background or educational level. They don’t have to be restricted to your workplace activities but can relate to your wider life experiences – anything from saving money to improving your health and fitness.

What are the benefits of Personal Development Plans?

Employers often find that PDPs help with employee engagement, as they can support the apprentice or staff member in identifying and reaching their goals.

We all have ideas in our head, but they don’t always come to anything. A Personal Development Plan will give you the structured framework you need to achieve your goals.  It can be used to help you with your CV and job interviews, as well as workplace appraisals, promotions and CPD (continual professional development). It can be followed over time, shown to your employer and adjusted as you progress.

Writing a Personal Development Plan

Working with training providers such as CMS Vocational and/or your employer will help you to create a PDP that accurately reflects where you are now and identifies where you want to be in the future.

A PDP will include activities such as:

  1. Setting and meeting deadlines
  2. Planning and prioritising your activities
  3. Identifying your existing hard and soft skills and looking at how to acquire new ones
  4. Analysing your strengths and weaknesses
  5. Measuring your progress and setting new goals
  6. Working out how to boost your career prospects
  7. Thinking about how to improve your general wellbeing

There are many existing tools you can use within your PDP, for example:

  • SWOT analysis, which looks at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
  • 360 Degree Feedback, which involves feedback from multiple sources, such as your manager and colleagues, alongside self-assessment
  • SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timed

When creating a PDP, you will include both inward-looking information, such as an analysis of your skills, with outward-looking ideas, such as how you can make a positive impact in your workplace.

What skills will you need to have and develop?

Employers will require you to have both hard and soft skills to be successful in the workplace.

Hard skills are those you’ve learned, which can be measured, used and taught, for example:

  • Accountancy: analysing data, preparing budgets, completing tax returns
  • HR: interviewing staff, conducting appraisals, advising on strategic planning
  • Office admin: answering calls, organising appointments/schedules, data entry

Soft skills are usually interpersonal skills that you have a natural talent for, although you can improve these skills through training. Examples include:

Communication, dependability, motivation, problem-solving, teamwork

A PDP can help you to look at the skills you already have and work out which skills will help to take you forward. For example, if your goal is to become a team leader, you may already have good organisational skills, but you may need training to improve your communication style and management skills.

What next?

Once your PDP is in place, it will need revisiting on a regular basis to help you stay on course for personal and career success.