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
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
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:
- Setting and meeting deadlines
- Planning and prioritising your
- Identifying your existing hard and
soft skills and looking at how to acquire new ones
- Analysing your strengths and
- Measuring your progress and setting
- Working out how to boost your career
- Thinking about how to improve your
There are many existing tools you can use
within your PDP, for example:
- SWOT analysis, which looks at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and
- 360 Degree Feedback, which involves
feedback from multiple sources, such as your manager and colleagues, alongside
- 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
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:
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.
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.