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Applying a Return on Investment to CPD benefits everyone. Here’s why.

Earlier this year I received my recertification as a Certified Environmental Practitioner (CEnvP).  As part of the process, I submitted a continued professional development (CPD) log to demonstrate I had met the minimum 100 points of CPD activities over the previous two years.  While completing the log and setting my CPD goals for next two years, I began thinking about the direction of my professional development, how to maximise the benefit of this ongoing training, and what actually constitutes “CPD”.  This article presents some of my findings and my personal insights from this recent experience.

 

Generally, CPD must be in line with your current practice.  For example, the Certified Environmental Practitioner CPD Guidelines1 state that “if a practitioner attends a seminar, conference or short course or undertakes a formal training course (degree, diploma, certificate or similar), then the subjects must have a direct connection to the environmental or sustainability practice of the CEnvP. That is, the CPD activity must contribute to enhancing the skills and knowledge in a practitioner’s area(s) of professional practice”.

 

CPD is standard across all professional fields and involves maintaining and extending your knowledge, expertise and competence. It can include:

–      keeping up-to-date with technical developments in your area(s) of specialisation via short courses, conferences and seminars;

–      extending your knowledge into other related fields, including formal education and training, private study or relevant academia;

–      sharing your knowledge and skill by means of presentations, publications, research papers, guest lectures, etc; or

–      mentorship under a suitable program

 

Just like Total Quality Management (TQM) of continuous improvement and the Plan-Do-Act-Check cycle developed by W. Edwards Demming2, the Continuous Professional Development Cycle (Refer to Figure 1.1) shows that professional development is best thought of as a circular series of activities, where a continuous cycle of planning and evaluation should be undertaken.  At Easterly Point, we encourage all staff to not only keep a log of their CPD (whether it’s a requirement of their accreditation or not), but to actively plan for their upcoming CPD.  This encourages employees to look beyond discrete courses and seminars of interest, and supports a culture where people are encouraged to evaluate their interests and create a strategy of how to achieve their long-term learning goals. When done collaboratively, this not only fulfills personal interests, but broadens the overall technical expertise of the company.

 

Figure 1.1:  The Continuous Professional Development Cycle

(Source:  pnz.org.nz)

 

I believe that investing in CPD should be viewed by both the employee and employer as just that – an investment.  An investment by the employee in their career, and an investment in the development as a professional by your employer.  In this context, both parties  contribute to the investment in the knowledge that each  will benefit.  For example, the employee contributes time and effort, and the employer can choose to provide support in a range of ways, including accessing CPD/study leave, and covering or sharing the cost of any CPD activities.

 

As an employee, applying a ‘return on investment’ mindset to planning CPD focuses your thinking on the potential return in terms of career benefits from an investment of your time, effort and possibly funding. When your employer is contributing by way of footing the bill or allowing you study time, they expect a return on their investment – for example, that you are able to take on more responsibility.  Professionals Australia3 state that “To apply a ‘return on investment’ approach to CPD, it helps to ask yourself the following questions about the potential value of each CPD activity you consider:

  1. What are the intended learning outcomes from this activity?
  2. What is the relevance of this particular activity to my current work role?
  3. How will my employer benefit when I achieve the intended learning outcomes?
  4. How will others benefit from my learning, e.g. clients?
  5. What are the longer-term benefits?”

 

Now, more than ever, online webinars are an option that makes it easy to obtain and maintain your CPD points. However, I believe the value in attending seminars goes beyond the technical learnings.  While the technical information is still being shared via the screen, the chance to network and mingle with like-minded peers, meet associates face-to face and bond over a glass of wine or beer is lost.  These invaluable offerings help professionals connect on both a professional and personal level.  I know I have personally met many colleagues that I would now call friends through these face-to-face learning opportunities, and am now able call on them for direction, advice and support.

 

While professional certification bodies have traditionally required all CPD points to be aligned with the skills of the profession they govern, extending these boundaries may be more beneficial in the long run for personal and professional development.  Most employees know that while technical knowledge can be learnt; critical thinking, social skills, personal engagement and an inquisitive mind are highly valued skills that go beyond learning in a straight line.

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts and experience in managing your own CPD.

 

 

Hailey Spry

Senior Environmental Scientist

MEIANZ, CEnvP

Easterly Point Environmental Pty Ltd

 

  1. Certified Environmental Practitioner,CPD Guidelines, https://www.cenvp.org/cpd-2/
  2. Out of the Crisis, published in 1982 and credited with launching the total quality management (TQM) movement, W. Edwards Deming offers a theory of management based on 14 Points for Management; key principles for management to follow for significantly improving the effectiveness of a business or organization.
  3. Professionals Australia, The Importance of Professional Developmenthttp://www.professionalsaustralia.org.au/australian-government/blog/the-importance-of-continuing-professional-development/

 

Easterly Point Environmental – Asbestos Capability Statement

With a Licensed Asbestos Assessor (LAA) on the team, Easterly Point Environmental is proud to offer a variety of occupational hygiene services relating to the assessment and management of asbestos.  These services include:

  • Asbestos Clearance Certificates for Class A and Class B removals Airborne asbestos monitoring;
  • Asbestos material sampling and testing;
  • Asbestos Building Material Surveys;
  • Structural and soil-based inspections for asbestos risk assessments;
  • Site-specific Asbestos Management Plans (AMP); and
  • AMP compliance supervision for asbestos-contaminated soil remediation.

To find out more details regarding our services, download a copy of our Asbestos Capability Statement:

EPBD-CS01 Abestos Capability Statementtions

Contaminated Land and the NSW Planning Process

Planners and developers are often thrown into the world of contaminated land when they are working with a property that is known to be, or is potentially, contaminated.  An environmental site assessment report is often required to be submitted to council as part of the development application process.  The report is used by the council to determine if the site is suitable for the proposed land use or if remediation works will be required.    While contamination is usually thought to be associated with heavy industry such as gasworks, fuel storage sites and power stations, the urban-sprawl coupled with the pervasive nature of contamination means contaminated land is being encountered with increasing frequency.

If not appropriately characterised and managed, contaminated sites can result in large development delays and cost overruns including delays throughout the planning process.  Regardless of the stage of the project, it is essential to get advice from suitably experienced and qualified consultants, including those who employ accredited auditors, i.e. those who the regulators recognise as being appropriately experienced and competent.

To find out more about how contaminated land is incorporated into the NSW planning framework, follow the link below to download a copy of the full article.

Easterly Point – Contaminated land and the NSW planning process 1020

 

Contaminated Land and Property Transactions

Contaminated land is usually thought to be associated with heavy industry such as gasworks, refineries, power stations, and the like. While this is justified stereotyping, the ubiquitous and pervasive nature of contaminants means that any piece of land has the potential to be “contaminated”. Our latest article looks at Contaminated Land and Property Transactions, in particular, in the Northern Rivers region, which has a long and varied industrial history, resulting in various types of contaminated sites.

A local misconception is that the Northern Rivers is fairly contaminant free, all natural and healthy based on the absence of apparent heavy industry.  Contrary to these two perceptions, the Northern Rivers has a long and varied industrial history, with the following being five common resultant sites of concern:

To continue reading, download a copy of the full article below:

Contaminated Land and Property Transactions

Radiological assessment, Byron Bay

Easterly Point has recently completed a radiological assessment of a former mineral sands processing facility in Byron Bay.  The radiological assessment was a requirement of the DA for the redevelopment of the site, and was carried out by Easterly Point during the demolition and excavation stages to assess if any potentially radioactive mineral sands residues were uncovered during these works.  Investigations were carried out using both field screening and laboratory analysis.  Easterly Point worked in conjunction with the developer and construction teams to ensure that the investigations were completed with minimal disturbances to the project deadlines and in accordance with the NSW regulatory framework.

New Queensland Auditor Handbook for Contaminated Land

In July 2018, the Department of Environment and Science (DES) released the updated Queensland Auditor Handbook for Contaminated Land, Modules 1 – 6 (DES, July 2018).  While there were some significant changes to the modules, overall, the content remains the same, articulating the requirements of the National Environmental Protection Measure 2013 (NEPM) and the Environmental Protection (EP) Act 1994 in relation to the submission of a contaminated land information document (CLID).  The main changes to the modules include:

  • Explicit instructions regarding land use certification, and that the site suitability statement only includes the choice of one of four “Outcomes”. These outcomes only allow certification against the specific criteria described on the site suitability statement, including Land use A, B, C or D.  While the land uses generally align with the land uses and criteria described in the NEPM, there are some specific land uses on the suitability statement that need to be assessed irrespective of the NEPM.
  • The removal of the “Module 5” table requirements.
  • Where there is radiation impact on the site, the audit certification requires a specific expert support statement addressing the radiation assessment.
  • All environmental values that derive from Queensland’s environmental protection policies cannot be subsequently disregarded or diminished by applying the contaminated land NEPM’s risk-based process, i.e. the environmental values described in the Environmental Protection (Water) Policy 2009 (EPP(Water)) must be applied.

Marc Salmon of Easterly Point is a certificated contaminated land auditor (NSW and Qld) and radiation specialist, and can provide expert support to auditors, and consultants alike in the area of radiation assessments, amongst others.

PFAS for councils

With Councils increasingly faced with the impacts of PFAS contamination in their communities, and with the potential for PFAS contamination to arise on their own land (e.g. Rural Fire Service facilities, STPs and landfills), Easterly Point published an article aimed at the local councils within the Northern Rivers region.  The article included information on PFAS, the latest regulatory guidance and invited feedback regarding a Northern Rivers PFAS Forum.

View article here.

Marc wins EIANZ Environmental Practitioner of the Year Award

Marc Salmon of Easterly Point Environmental was awarded the Environmental Practitioner of the Year Award, 2017, by the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand (EIANZ) following his tireless efforts and contribution to establish the certified practitioners scheme.

The award recognises the outstanding contributions to environmental practice by certified environmental practitioners and is presented by the Certified Environmental Practitioners Scheme.

Congratulations Marc!

Northern Rivers Contaminated Land and Waste Forum, June 2017

Marc Salmon of Easterly Point Environmental was instrumental in organising the one-day professional development forum held in Ballina in June 2017.  The forum, presented by EIANZ in partnership with NSW EPA, was to focussed on presenting the latest developments in the contaminated land and waste management industries in the NSW Northern Rivers region. Leading practitioners from the NSW EPA, local government and industry provided insight into regulatory updates and the Certified Environmental Practitioner Scheme.  The forum was great success with almost 100 attendees and highlighted the importance of training seminars and forums in regional areas.

For further information about the forum, or future opportunities for similar forums, please contact Hailey Spry at Easterly Point Environmental.