CPD – Shared Experiences, Problems and Solutions Report

22 December 2021

The afternoon of Wednesday 15th December 2021 saw technical colleagues from 44 Higher Education Institutions come together to hear talks, network and discuss experiences, problems and solutions on Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

CPD can be accessed through varying methods. Each of our speakers talked about different ways to access CPD and shared best practices around these approaches. A brief summary can be found on each session below as well as results from the event survey.

Session 1

We heard how Jan Brett and Matt Davis, from The University of Liverpool Organisational Development team, have created a new role to support the engagement of technicians accessing and understanding what development opportunities are available to them through a structured faculty approach in line with their overarching university approach to encourage 10 days per year for development.

“A worthwhile afternoon learning about how other people do things in other organisations – a great way to share good practice and network.”

– Maria Simon, University of Bedfordshire.

Session 2

We heard from Andrew Brook, Technical Manager at The University of Southampton, in regards to peer learning and shadowing opportunities undertaken by himself and colleagues. This approach can result in learning at a much reduced cost vs typical structured course learning. This breakout session question posed, “what peer learning opportunities might you consider applicable to your areas”? Following the event we have been contacted by various members advising that peer learning opportunities are already underway (off the back of the event). In addition to this, there were comments and ideas around a “peer learning connection service” to be considered as a HEaTED member benefit. This will be scoped out in early 2022.

“I was able to provide a useful networking lead to another technician working in a similar discipline”

– Pete Dargie, The University of Southampton

Session 3

We also heard from Henry Rae from The University of St Andrews who talked through examples of where he had seen an opportunity to be able to develop his own skills while assisting the institution in achieving better customer service levels and downstream cost savings. In his first example, Henry used the HEaTED programme to identify a training company to deliver onsite microscope maintenance training. He and fellow colleagues from other faculties undertook this training, resulting in the University saving on expensive external companies being brought in to undertake the work. The speed that issues could be dealt with increased, therefore resulting in higher student customer service satisfaction vs waiting longer times for equipment to become available again. Henry gave further examples of where he was able to identify CPD opportunities which in turn benefitted himself, students, colleagues and the University by searching out external training, to then bring the skills back in house.

“I personally engaged as a person who seeks to take control of my own CPD (not a team), so it was great to find out how these discussions take place at a higher level.”

– Artur Grigals, AMRC, The University of Sheffield.

Session 4

The final session of the day was held by Suhel Miah, HEaTED facilitator. In this session the main focus was on accessing funds in and around CPD, the common problems faced and common solutions. This session ended with each breakout group giving their top three problems / solutions. These findings will form part of a second article specifically looking at financing CPD opportunities. This new article will be released in January 2022 as a continuation of the original “How To Secure Funding Approval For Attending CPD Courses” article, published on 3rd November 2021.

“Good use of speaker topics to generate questions and highlight common issues. Created a community where you don’t feel isolated with the same issues and have the ability to seek advice.” 

– Richard Collins, Coventry University

We took over 100 bookings for the event. It was fantastic to welcome friends and colleagues from Europe for the first time, something HEaTED is focussed on increasing as we head into 2022. University College Cork were well represented at 7.4% of the overall attendance and we were delighted to welcome The University of Amsterdam and The University of Barcelona representatives too. Members from our partners at Institute for Science and Technology, National Technician Development Centre and Royal Society of Chemistry were also in attendance.

Feedback was gained following the event and the below is all responses analysed on 21.12.2021 4.00pm.

Q1) How would you rate the overall quality of the event?

Excellent: 61.5%
Very good 38.5%

Pie chart for Q1

Q2) How relevant were the topics covered by the speakers?

Excellent: 38.5%
Very good 61.5%

Pie chart for Q2

Q3) How would you rate the online networking experience at this event?

Excellent: 38.6%
Very good: 53.8%
Good: 7.7%

Pie chart for Q3

Q4) Have you made note of someone to connect with after the event?

No: 38.5%

Pie chart for Q4

Q5) Following this event, would you be inclined to recommend relevant online HEaTED networking to colleagues?

Yes: 100%

Pie chart for Q5

Q6) Taking the booking process, the speakers, the delivery and your overall experience from the day, what would you score us out of 10? 10 being Excellent and 1 being Below standard.

10: 69.2%
9: 15.4%
8: 15.4%

Pie chart for Q6

Further Feedback

“Good pace to cover a broad range of speakers in a short time.”

“More relevant than I anticipated, probably so because many of the points made matched with my experience. However the event highlighted that not all institutions are the same and have greater challenges to get CPD funding.”

“All the speakers were interesting and engaging.”

“Well organised, on time, with friendly and knowledgeable hosts and participants.”

“Useful points across a range of institutions, giving issues and how they solved them. Generating relevant questions and answers too.”

“We will collate our feedback to the university technician commitment working group for issues we consider relevant and that should be taken forward.”

Networking remains a fundamental part of HEaTED programme. During these more challenging times, with constraints around larger gatherings, we will continue to plan more online networking events. As we move into 2022 we are also looking to host our first dedicated networking event for technical professionals in the arts.

To everyone who made the event what it was, thank you.

We hope to see you at the next one soon.

Sarah Baggley is the Operations and Engagement Manager at HEaTED. 

Sarah is your first port of call for any HEaTED enquiries and is always happy to hear from you whether enquiring about membership, booking a course, guidance on services or questions on finance.

Get in touch today and Sarah and the HEaTED team will be happy to help with your enquiries.