As a marketer within a building product manufacturer, you’ve probably heard about or even developed a CPD presentation before. You might even be hosting CPD content on your website. Today, we want to show you how you can get even more out of this content.
What is CPD (Continual Professional Development)?
Continual Professional Development, or as it is more commonly known, CPD is the activity an individual completes which has a direct impact on their professional development and learning. CPD doesn’t just relate to formal courses and qualifications but can be any piece of learning that impacts an individual’s knowledge on a subject.
CPD UK outlines 3 types of CPD learning, which vary significantly in their approach, but can all be recognised as CPD learning.
Type 1: Structured / Active
This learning is proactive & interactive in its approach & is usually a participation-based study. Examples of this type of learning: Training courses, conferences, workshops, seminars and e-learning.
Type 2: Reflective / Passive
This learning is passive & involves no participant-based interactions. Examples of this type of learning: Podcasts, case studies & reading relevant news articles.
Type 3: Unstructured / Self-directed
This learning involves all unaccompanied CPD learning. Examples of this learning type: reading documents, articles & publications, books by leading experts, industry journals & trade magazines.
The most important part of CPD is that the individual records, reviews and identifies CPD certified learning opportunities to ensure their continual growth. Most people complete CPD within their day to day roles without even recognising that they are developing their skills.
Additionally, building product manufacturers are creating content that isn’t going through the certification process but should be. If you have content that isn’t certified, it’s worth knowing that this content could work much harder for you to create new leads.
How has the construction industry utilised CPD & why is it relevant?
In some areas of construction, the mention of CPD might get you a couple of eye rolls. That’s mainly because there has been a narrow approach to how CPD should be delivered to date.
The traditional approach has involved a building product manufacturer presenting a concept to specifiers in a face to face setting. It has been used as part of the sales process to gain an introduction with architects & specifiers. Usually, in a “lunch and learn” style seminar. What this has produced is a mundane PowerPoint presentation being shared with a room of unengaged architects, who are more excited about the food on offer.
Although it has been effective, there is an element of complacency towards the approach of delivering CPD content. The reason being is because there are a lot of membership organisations out there that require their members to complete CPD learning to keep their membership status. This is particularly apparent in the architect’s space.
For instance, RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) state that “maintaining competence and professional standards by doing CPD is a duty and an obligation.” They require their members to complete 35 hours of learning each year through a mixture of structured & unstructured learning.
The AIA (American Institute of Architects) say their members must “earn continuing education credits each year to fulfil their AIA membership requirements.”
CIOB (Chartered Institute of Builders) says their members have an obligation under Rule 13 of the CIOB Rules of Professional Competence and Conduct to maintain their knowledge and understanding. They suggest their members develop an annual CPD plan and record their activity.
As you can see, there are a LOT of construction professionals out there who have a CPD requirement. CIOB, RIBA, AIA, CIBSE, RICS have 335,000 members collectively, & there are many more organisations out there promoting the completion of CPD.
It’s a no brainer for a building product manufacturer to provide training to these construction professionals. It has provided an opportunity to promote new ideas & products. But, there is no place for complacency in the CPD space anymore.
The future of CPD for Building Product Manufacturers
Within the construction industry, CPD is becoming a necessity as Industry 4.0 arrives. Industry 4.0 represents the fourth revolution that has occurred in manufacturing and relates to digitisation through means of automation and machine learning.
Essentially, the technological era is upon us. From optimisation of the supply chain so information can be sent & updated quicker to allow for adjustments that save money, autonomous equipment and vehicles to speed up production, technology such as 3D printing or the Internet of Things & the cloud to improve communications – how we work is and already has changed.
If you are a senior-level executive in the UK manufacturing industry with an interest in developing your digital strategy, it’s worth checking out the Industry 4.0 Summit & Expo happening in March 2020.
But, the workforce needs to have the skills & knowledge to be able to keep up with these changes. When we mention the workforce, we aren’t just referring to the individuals who are part of those organisations that require CPD learning (RIBA, CIOB). This goes much wider than that. Every single industry professional needs to be proactive in their approach to learning to ensure they can keep up with this revolution.
This is where CPD becomes even more relevant, to ensure individuals are learning about new developments and putting those learnings into practice.
What are the benefits of CPD for construction companies & professionals?
CPD has an impact on the company & individual, so both can experience the benefits of promoting and taking part in CPD.
It’s worth recognising that your workforce is your most valuable asset, and if you invest in their development, you’re investing in the long-term health of your organisation.
Our client, Marley, effectively uses CPD accredited training for the benefit of their colleagues & customers. David Cassell, their Training Manager, provides a testament to their program saying “My long career with Marley began way back in the 1970s when the company sponsored me to study for a Business Studies degree. Back then I was one of around 100 students undertaking similar study through the Marley Student Apprenticeship scheme, which included valuable ‘work experience placements’ with the company, leading to full-time employment.” This shows that providing training & opportunities to your employees leads to their loyalty & advocacy.
Enabling & empowering your employees should be second nature right? But, most companies are so focussed on what their employees are achieving for the company, that they forget about the individual. Ultimately, resulting in lower engagement and productivity rates.
Using CPD-accredited learning can help to promote a company’s commitment to the development of their workforce. It gives employees something tangible, enables them to up-skill and ultimately, feel more engaged with the organisation they are working for.
Investing in your development will allow you to think about your goals and what you would like to achieve. Once you have a set of goals in mind, and a clear path of how to get there, your motivation will grow, you’ll enjoy your job more, and you’ll be improving and gaining a whole bunch of skills… Beneficial for your personal and professional life.
Completing CPD certified learning will allow you to proudly showcase your achievements for whatever means you see necessary. That pay rise, that promotion, that project you are itching to take on – you’ll have the evidence to show why you are the right person for the job.
Why should construction companies get CPD certification on their content?
It’s important to recognise that this learning would be useless to the individual if it didn’t have some credibility & trust attached to it, additionally, it needs to be current and up to date.
To ensure the learning content meets the right standards, it must be certified by CPD UK or an approved partner. This allows all parties, including the individual, any membership organisations or an employer, to recognise that the learning completed is of value.
The easiest way to find out if the content is certified is to look out for the icon below.
What constitutes CPD content?
We mentioned this earlier, but CPD has traditionally been delivered using a presentation format, in a classroom environment. But, you already know that CPD can be delivered in a variety of formats to meet the learning types.
Everything from video, presentations, written articles, case studies & e-learning modules can count towards an individual’s CPD learning. But, to have value you’ve got to make sure you gain certification. Make sure that your content is written by an accredited CPD writer.
Aside from the format, people with a requirement for CPD are demanding that content is in easily digestible formats (such as videos & e-learning modules), to meet their learning requirements. Additionally, it’s also proven that these formats increase learning retention rates by 25-60%
Of course, the seminar/lecture style still has huge value – but as a building product manufacturer, delivering a wider selection of formats will mean you can get even more out of your CPD content.
How can you use CPD as a marketing tool?
Producing CPD accredited content can have key benefits for construction companies. You are probably already producing content that is CPD ready but may not have it certified. We recommend getting it certified as CPD content produced to a high standard will add credibility to your brand and will be seen as trusted content by your audience.
CPD certified content provides you, as a Building Product Manufacturer, the opportunity to share training about any of your products, or provide learnings to your audience on industry developments (i.e. new building regulations). It can help to position you as a thought leader, a brand who is trustworthy and reliable, and allows you to sell your products directly to your target audience.
You should be hosting this content on your website, and be treating it as high-value. This content will draw people to your website as they have a requirement to learn, and you can use this as an opportunity to generate qualified leads for your business by using data capture forms.
Reaching your audience on a wider scale
After hosting your CPD content on your website, you’ll likely look on those membership organisation websites as a second source of traffic. RIBA, CIOB, RICS and many others all host CPD content for their members to use.
But, in reality, you are only reaching a portion of the potential audience (those who are registered members) & you will also be facing a cost from each of these sites to enable you to host your content.
To go even further, it’s worth considering hosting your CPD content on specific platforms such as Construction CPD which aims to bring a huge range of digestible CPD content to the full construction market (including surveyors, engineers, architects and specifiers).
Using CPD as a medium of training for your colleagues
CPD can be a great way of training your internal teams or subcontractor networks.
Whether you are looking to onboard new employees with the relevant training aids or want to keep your site’s safe through health and safety training, CPD can be used to help keep the messages consistent.
CPD has particular benefits on construction sites when used as part of the site induction process. In 2017/2018, over a quarter of all workplace fatalities happened in the construction industry, showing how important safety & training is when on-site.
Usually, site operatives are asked to read & sign pages of A4 documents – which usually results in operatives not taking in crucial information about health & safety procedures – the result of delivering important content in an un-engaging way.
Of course, risk will always be involved when working on a construction site. But, delivering content using innovative formats such as video, e-learning & virtual reality technology could help to improve health and safety knowledge on site.
It’s not surprising that construction companies are already exploring its use. The GRAHAM Group are extremely vocal about their use of AR/VR technologies to train their colleagues & sub-contractor networks before even entering a site.
What is a good example of CPD?
To truly understand how to build a powerful piece of CPD content, we spoke to our expert writers to determine just that, and their top tips included;
1. Interactive – webinars, videos, infographics, audio, presentations, PDFs
2. Stay true to the topic
3. Be informative and educational, not salesy
4. Don’t overload with information & keep it visual
If you wish to create new CPD content for your business or you want to revitalise your existing content we can help. We make the process as easy as possible for you.
1. We have accredited CPD writers which means we can produce CPD content in a variety of formats (video, presentation, written articles etc.)
2. We can certify it to the CPD UK standards (taking the auditing and cost obligations away from you)
3. We can promote your CPD content to drive leads to your business
4. We can provide a customised and white-label video platform to house your modules which can be made available to your audience or your internal teams