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How-To: Organise an Effective CPD Programme

41% of workers agree that ‘working from home means I miss out on learning and development opportunities’, according to Nespresso Professional’s Workplace of the Future 2021 Report.

A man works from home by viewing an instructional CPD video on a laptop

To retain your workers, you need to provide effective learning and development for them. So, if you’re a CPD coordinator responsible for the learning and development of your people, read the below article. We’ve listed some tips on organising a continuing professional development program that’s structured for optimal learning. We’ll be talking about CPD in general, and discussing when it differs for various professions and industries, so don’t worry about the article not applying for your industry.

How Much CPD Should Be Allocated in 1 Year?

Professionals are required to complete a certain amount of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) every year. This can be measured by the number of CPD points that should be obtained, or the number of hours that should be completed.

According to The CPD Certification Service, it’s estimated that 95% of all professional bodies use CPD hours as their measurement, and that 1 CPD hour usually equals 1 CPD point/unit/credit when the latter measurement is used.

The minimum number of CPD hours required alters for each specialism. The table below lists hourly requirements for some main industries, according to professional institutions they may be from (let us know in the comments if we should add other specific ones):


Amount of CPD Hours Required Annually

Legal Professionals

6-16, depending upon role and professional organisation

​Counsellors and Therapists

At least 20-30




At least 30, or however much is necessary according to relevant developments needed


Doctors, Surgeons and Physicians

Sometimes, CPD isn’t regulated on an annual basis but over a few years. For instance, Chartered Members of the Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE) are required to either undertake 35 CPD hours a year, or 105 hours over 3 years to average out to this. Dental nursesare required to undertake a minimum of 50 hours of CPD every 5 years, with a minimum of 10 hours every 2 years. Doctors, surgeons and physicians should complete an average of 50 hours a year, but this needs to add up to at least 250 hours over 5 years.

Therefore, if appropriate, CPD managers can adjust your CPD schedule to allow one year to have, on average, more CPD hours where its consecutive year can’t, in case of lockdowns or other disturbances which may affect your industry. The past 2 years have shown how unpredictable the world can be, so this is necessary.

However, overall, you must think long-term to ensure that the average number of CPD hours by the end of the next 2-3 years is sufficient.

This is why, before setting out CPD activities, you must ensure that these align with your employees’ professional development goals for the current year and the medium-long term, i.e. 2-3 years into the future at least.

A woman presents a line graph on a whiteboard, showing profits increasing year-on-year from 2000 to 2008

CPD Outcomes

As we’ve stated before, you must ensure that the CPD activities you design are relevant to your employees’ development goals, especially those relevant to your company’s objectives. Collate a list of your company’s objectives, and survey your employees. If possible, give them a specific list of training and events that you’re considering carrying out, and ask for their opinions.

These must also relate to changes in standards, legislation, and processes in your industry. The point of CPD is to keep your learners up-to-date in these, so take note of them and incorporate them into your CPD plan.

In other words, don’t create a packed schedule full of events that your people may not appreciate, just because it’s been a while since they did some training. Instead, spread enough relevant training events over the course of 2 or more years at a time. Your CPD needs to facilitate output-focused recordings (i.e. what your people understand are the benefits of learning), as opposed to input-focused, with a long list of lesson dates and class titles.

Acorns on leaves to connote Autumn

What is the Best Time of Year for CPD Activities?

As we’re in the Christmas season, it’s worth mentioning that Christmas vacation days are quite handy to be used as CPD days. As the office is quiet, WBT Systems state that it’s a great time for people to concentrate on professional development. It’s also a great time of year to start working on professional development goals, to get into the swing of keeping with New Year’s resolutions.

But this won’t work for everyone, as many workers will prefer to rest at this time. What other times of year are best for CPD activities to be held?

In terms of conferences and other big training events, many event planning professionals agree that early Autumn is the best time for these to be held. This is because, as Reinventing Events point out, after a few months of Summer vacation, people are getting back into the swing of a new “semester” of working, training or learning. This is also practical; professionals will have just sent their children back to school. Therefore, they’ll have more availability to attend conferences. There are also likely to be no travel plans conflicting with their attendance, once peak Summer time is over. However, Reinventing Events also state that this shouldn’t be too late into Autumn, e.g. November, as venues tend to increase their prices for the festive season. Therefore, conferences should ideally take place between September and October. Additionally, venues should be booked up to a year in advance to avoid competing with other event organisers who’ve had the same idea.

In terms of smaller events like seminars/workshops, such pre-planning and strict scheduling may not be quite as necessary. However, we still advise avoiding Summer, as learners find it extremely hard to concentrate on training sessions in a seminar room/classroom in the heat, if they’ve not already booked it off.

More specifically, the day of the week that your CPD event should happen, will ideally be in the middle or the end of the week, depending upon whether the event is in-person or online. A survey conducted by Censuswide for PromoLeaf found that Wednesday is the preferred day of the week to attend virtual conferences. The survey also found that in-person respondents tend to prefer attending on Thursday or Friday.

This is most likely because Wednesday, being the middle of the week, is a great day to break up the working week with a conference and make the second half drag less. In terms of in-person conferences, people prefer not to travel back to work the day after being at a big scale in-person event, hence being on Thursday or Friday is best as it’ll allow them to end the week.

To ensure that your colleagues don’t miss your CPD events no matter what time of the day, week of year they’re held, hire CPD Online by contacting us using this form – we’ll provide a free quote for producing a bespoke recording of your next event.

A clock next to a mug and a pair of glasses in front of a computer

How Long Should a CPD Event Be?

When organising a CPD timetable, you need to know how long the individual CPD events should be.

The aforementioned Censuswide/PromoLeaf survey stated that this also depends on whether your sessions are in-person or not: 59% of virtual attendees prefer events that are 2 hours long, whereas 41% of in-person attendees prefer events that are slightly shorter; 1-2 hours.

A man delivers a CPD event in a seminar room


To sum up:

• You should provide enough CPD to be confident that your workers can complete around 30 hours a year, give or take depending on their profession and what industry bodies they’re a part of.

• Look into the mid-long-term i.e. the next 2-3 years.

• Discuss with your employees about their goals and objectives over this time period.

• Schedule your larger CPD events for September-October, around the middle or end of the week.

• Events with important knowledge content should be up to 2 hours long, to keep the focus of employees and allow maximum knowledge retention.

If you’re an events or CPD manager and you need your CPD programme to be livestreamed and/or recorded to reach more colleagues, allowing them to fulfil their annual CPD requirements, request a quote from CPD Online using this form.

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