Continued Professional Development (CPD) is really important. Many people assume that when you are in a role, or perhaps you feel you are already in your ‘’dream job’’, you become comfortable, that you no longer need to do anything further to better yourself, or do anything further to add value to your role and company.
In the security market, especially from what I have observed here in the GCC, many operators whom have been here for years and may have unfortunately been made redundant due to the CV19 pandemic, are still expecting the same salary they may have received 10 to 15 years ago, when the salaries would have been much higher, generally speaking.
But what CPD has been achieved? What studies have been completed since finishing University maybe over a decade ago? A lot has changed in this industry, in fact it changes daily, not only in regards to technology, legislation, equipment and practices, but global unrest which impacts security and the way in which security approaches have evolved to address such matters.
CPD is the term used to describe supplementary learning that is undertaken. CPD helps to enhance productivity in the workplace and of course, adds significant value both personally and professionally.
Rather than being reactive, CPD makes learning proactive, to enhance personal skills for application in the workplace, not only from a security standpoint, but a business standpoint. In addition, there are a variety of different options available, not only in classrooms, but since CV19, you can find a wide range of security related qualifications, refreshers delivered online, now more than ever, as companies have needed to adapt.
Organisations such as ISMI (CSMP), Perpetuity ARC Training, Frontier Risks (SRMC), ISACA (CISM) and others alike offer ‘’high level’’, meaningful, fit-for-purpose courses online, meaning you never need to attend a classroom and can study in your own time, from the comfort of your own home.
Do not get me started on ‘’I never have enough time’’, this is simply an excuse, I speak from experience of the sacrifices that need to be made when committing to CPD, to give you an example, when my son was born in 2020, I enrolled on the CSMP a month later, I was sent back to work (front-line) often working nights when the UAE was in total lockdown, I was balancing the CSMP, a full-time role and the excitement and challenges that fatherhood brings.
Since completing my CSMP in 2021, I have also completed my Level 5 Award in Crowd Safety Management and now I am studying for my CISM.
By engaging in CPD, you will ensure that your academic qualifications, such as the degree you studied 20 years ago do not become obsolete. CPD offers you the opportunity for upskilling, regardless of where you are in your career, your age, or even your level of education.
Not only does CPD help to enhance your skill set, but it also enables you to adapt to changes in the work environment too, this is really important, as change is often the hardest topic for people to embrace and manage.
In an ever-changing world, not only from a security standpoint, engaging in CPD can help you prepare for the jobs of the future and a role that offers more potential, within your current company, or a new employer, while also showing your commitment to self-development and professionalism within the industry and within the company.
With the events of 2020, working from home has now become the norm, not for everybody, especially if you are a front-line security operative, ask yourself, what did you do during this time whilst you may have been at home for 12 months, if not longer? Think about it, in 12 months you can complete some significantly meaningful qualification(s).
You can use your increased knowledge to demonstrate your leadership skills by sharing your knowledge with others, this is also really important, I myself have a mentor, but why not share your own knowledge with others? CPD will enable you to do this.
The majority of people assume CPD is down to the employer to offer and pay for, this is not the case, it is down to the individual to embark on. This can show that you have initiative and are looking to progress, two things that employers will notice. However, as issues with skills gaps are obvious in the security industry, more and more employers are starting to encourage their employees to engage in CPD.
There is also a common misunderstanding among many employers that learning at work and engaging in CPD, will take too much time and effort. In recent years, however, more flexible CPD options are on offer, as stated above, the combination of online learning, workshops and exhibitions can provide much-needed professional development as well as networking opportunities, which is vital in the security industry.
Take a moment to reflect on your career and the amount of CPD you might have embarked on in the past few years. Are you scratching your head because you are not getting job offers, or that promotion you have been after? or you are not getting the salary you think you deserve, because it was the same salary you were on previously?
In the security industry, more and more companies are looking for a business leader, rather than a security manager, focusing on guards, gates and guns is an old approach, businesses need a business leader and a manager, someone whom understands the overall business and its direction and needs, it’s all about stakeholder integration, value for money and impacts on profits, security after all needs to enable business.
It is important to think firstly as a leader and manager within the business, rather than a manager of security and security alone, some great courses are available which promote this approach and should be considered.
CPD cannot be overstated, it is vital to continuously develop, learn and progress, especially within the security industry.
By Adam WG Green MSyl CSMP
You can connect with Adam on LinkedIn here