19 January 2021

Parent Point of View: Student CPD Days

What exactly is a CPD Day?

USP College recently organised a virtual Continuous Professional Development Day (CPD). Held on Wednesday 16 December it offered students the opportunity to hear from current industry experts and employers across a wide range of sectors.

The College typically organises three each year across the autumn term and spring terms. Attendance is mandatory but as there are no timetabled lessons on these days, students are free to choose the sessions they feel would benefit or interest them the most.

Each department will have organised their own programme with many outside facilitators giving talks on specific jobs or careers. Some presentations were delivered in-house by teachers, but the majority were by external specialists from both local and national businesses, universities, and organisations. Students gain real insight into employer expectations and this is invaluable in helping ensure they follow the most beneficial route to achieve their career goals.

The range was extensive and diverse and incorporated medical experts explaining the importance of infection control, learning which pathway could lead to a career as a doctor, nurse or social worker. Financial, legal and political professions were covered along with inspiring presentations and activities from Bletchley Park, the Prince's Trust and The FA amongst many others.

If I am honest, had I not joined the College as a member of support staff this autumn, I would not have fully understood exactly what these days entailed nor would I have appreciated the opportunities they offered. This is what inspired me to write this blog as I am so impressed at the variety of industries covered and the impressive list of external speakers all with real life industry experience to share with our students.   

My hope in writing this is that it will offer some insight so that you can talk with your teenagers more knowledgeably about future CPD Days and importantly provide some common ground to enable you to encourage them to really grasp this opportunity and use it wisely. We know from student feedback that many gained a clearer idea of whether a specific job was for them and for others it clarified the best degree course to study or highlighted a potential role or pathway that they had not previously thought of.     

Knowing that every academic department and within those departments every course level is covered, you can see what a huge task this is with planning starting months in advance.

Some sessions were delivered by previous students and this is really useful for current students to know that the person they are listening to was them a few years ago. If they are unsure what job would suit them, choosing a good mix of presentations may just offer that 'Eureka' moment to a whole new career.

The subjects covered are relevant to the courses offered at USP College and whilst always age appropriate, and professionally delivered they gave true insight into some of the difficult and challenging roles that students could enter.

I listened to an inspirational talk from a Domestic Violence Practitioner. She spoke so eloquently about the things she dealt with on a typical day. Responsible for around 25 clients, some with very complex needs, she explained her own educational background, her work history and what led her to this role. As I listened to her, I felt how privileged the students were to hear about such an unknown but vital role that they could aspire to.

Local Conservative MP Rebecca Harris spoke about aspects of her role as a politician and I was very impressed to hear students ask really well researched and quite difficult questions. The session was run by The Politics Project and provided an invaluable opportunity for several students who hope to pursue a political career.  

The date of future CPD Days will be sent via email or newsletter to parents and carers. Make sure you pop it on your calendar and once the full list of presentations has been sent to students, usually the week before, you will have plenty of time to chat over what sessions they may like to attend, and which may benefit them the most for their chosen pathway.