Are you heading in the right direction?
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” This is a question we’re all asked as children and are expected to have a plan on how to get there. Of course, as children we had no idea what we’d be and our ideas for the future changed many times as we grew older. In the working world however, having a plan is much more important.
Creating a personal development plan (PDP) will help you organise your learning and development needs, tracking your progression and helping you to do your job better. A PDP can also help you define your career path, identifying areas where you may need to acquire new skills to take you where you want to go.
In the care industry, the Care Certificate is the starting point of the learning journey and for those just beginning in Social Care, should usually form part of your induction. This is also the start of developing your PDP.
Developing your PDP is a joint exercise with your employer contributing to the process. After all, they will be expecting certain things of you and will want to help you progress in the right direction. You will also have learning needs and desires and should agree with your employer the right path to take.
When planning your objectives, keep them SMART:
Specific – Agree your objectives
Measurable – Keep records of your progression. Can you track your progress?
Achievable – Can you achieve it in the time allocated? Breaking down into chunks can help
Relevant – Are the new skills appropriate for your career path?
Time-based – Agree completion dates
Questions you should be asking yourself are:
What do I want to achieve?
- What are the standards, skills and knowledge needed by my current role and do I have any gaps?
- What are the learning and development opportunities in my current role? What are my ambitions and goals?
- Am I making the right choices to get me there?
Regular reviewing of your PDP is very important and the majority of PDPs usually cover a 12-month period and should be reviewed and updated every year. If it’s been a lot longer than this since your last PDP review, you should approach your line manager for advice.
Your PDP is important. It contributes to your Continuing Professional Development which is a record of your training, learning and achievement. Continual learning is essential, especially in Social Care where regulations and directives change frequently and refresher or up-skill courses may be required to keep up to date.