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Engineering News

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

How to build your professional development action plan

How to build your professional development action plan

Professional development is critical for success as a modern engineer. Here are some tips to help you create your own professional development action plan based around the skills most valued by industry leaders.

Rapid developments in technology and changes to the economy, environment, workforce and how we do business require engineers to upskill more frequently than ever before. This also means they need to become more agile by broadening their skill set.

Engineering Education Australia's Education Manager Jason Fletcher said professional development demonstrates your commitment to the engineering profession.

"Participating in continuous professional development not only builds your own career, but it strengthens the capability of the teams and organisations that you work for, leading to better outcomes for your clients and the communities they serve," Fletcher said.

As an industry leader, Boral's National GM of Engineering Domenic Saffioti FIEAust CPEng EngExec NER APEC Engineer IntPE(Aus) agreed that professional development ensures his team meets the changing needs and capabilities of the engineering profession.

"The benefits include keeping abreast of technological changes across design standards, materials and innovation, allowing us to deliver optimum solutions to the customer," Saffioti said.

"You would not engage a doctor that has not updated their skills, so why would you engage an engineer who does not remain current in their profession?"

Keeping up-to-date with industry best practice and extending skills development is best organised through a professional development action plan.

Fletcher said the start of the new year is a perfect time to plan your professional development activities for the next 12 months.

"By setting out your plan for the year ahead, you can target your learning activities to match your personal and professional goals, as well as schedule them to suit your availability," he said.

A professional development action plan can be created quite easily.

"Start by thinking about what areas you would like to improve your knowledge and skills," Fletcher said.

"Are there compliance requirements that need to be met? Consider how your professional development plan links to your broader career goals and your organisation's strategic and business plans.

"By starting with your goals in mind, you can then research what you need to do to achieve them.

"Options include reading professional publications and journals, finding a mentor, participating in discussion groups, online learning, qualifications and of course Engineering Education Australia's training courses.".

Knowledge and skills beyond technical ability are critical for engineers today. Engineers are expected to have the soft skills and business acumen to deliver projects end-to-end and engage with many different stakeholders.

Providing insight into the skills currently valued in industry, Saffioti named interpersonal and verbal reasoning skills as well as engineers who can think laterally and see problems as opportunities for improvement.

"Technical ability is often easier to obtain than interpersonal skills, with the latter being the conduit and facilitator of customer focused, fit-for-purpose solutions," he said.

Engineering Education Australia delivers a comprehensive range of technical, professional and personal development, and project management courses that are specifically designed for engineers and related professionals.

View our course calendar  to find out what training is on offer in 2019.