With most of us now likely to be working from home over the next few months as a result of COVID-19, one potential positive is that it will provide an opportunity to think about your professional development. Chris Sheridan, Head of Professional Standards and Development at the ARA explains why.
CPD is an ongoing process of learning through experience and reflection. It’s all about improvement and moving forward – keeping your knowledge and skills current. Any activity has the potential to provide CPD as long as you learn something new, apply it to what you do and reflect on the outcome. Ask yourself what went well, what not as well and how you might improve in the future if you were to do it again.
So, even though being forced to work from home will feel like an inconvenience to most, adapting to changes, learning new approaches and reflecting on the outcomes can be really beneficial. Some members will find they have more time available – a direct benefit of not having to spend time commuting. Others will find they have less spare time available because they are juggling working from home with childcare and other caring responsibilities (visit our blog on top tips for working from home). Whatever our situation, we are all having to adapt and respond differently to how we work and how we connect with our colleagues, managers, staff, customers and other stakeholders.
So, how could you use this period of time to your best advantage? How could you work differently but still maintain high standards of service? Could you undertake projects that you’ve always wanted to do, but couldn’t find the time during your usual working week? Having you considered the ARA’s Professional Development Programme, and how ARA professional status might give your career a boost?
Here are some ideas to help you make the most of this period of disruption and think about how to improve what you do and how you do it.
The framework is an essential career development tool for those working or volunteering in archives and records management. You can also think of it as a set of national competency standards across the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Take a moment to review each competency and the examples of how it can be achieved at any of the five levels. By benchmarking your experience against the framework you will;
- Understand how your career experience meets the qualification standards for Foundation, Registered or Fellow status. Follow our six steps to professional status
- Identify your strengths and the competencies you’d like to develop
- Managers can also consider how the levels relate to their staff performance. The framework can be easily added to any existing staff appraisal processes.
Apply for Foundation, Registered or Fellow status.
We’ve lots of advice, guidance and examples to support anyone looking to qualify through the ARA. Explore the Professional Development Programme to learn more about the benefits of qualification.
CPD from your desktop
There is plenty of CPD content online, whether you research the ARA’s website, read up on best practice awards past and present, or visit free online content from the 2019 ARA annual conference presentations. You should also take a look at what knowledge and content is on offer from other organisations of interest to you. Some CPD topics will be of interest to many professionals, such as GDPR or digital preservation, while other topics will be about you, your interpersonal skills and presentation skills.
Over the coming months you may find you enjoy working from home, which may lead to thoughts about different kinds of employment, including self-employment. Remember, any activity has the potential to provide you with CPD. Think about what you are learning, apply it to your work and reflect on how that went. And use the ARA’s competency framework to guide your thinking and planning.
Once you have identified any areas of knowledge you’d like to develop further, try searching more general sources of learning, such as FutureLearn or YouTube, as well as sector-specific resources that you may already use.
At some point in the not too distant future, COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted and we will return to offices and reopen public spaces. What new ideas and approaches can you take from your home-working experiences? Make the most of the experiences this period will offer and think about how we can all be a bit more effective.
Time to mentor? Mentors are critical friends, helping guide the learning and development of a less experienced or less knowledgeable individual. We’ve got candidates who are keen to qualify as Foundation and Registered Members but are struggling to find a mentor. Could you help? Mentoring benefits both the mentor and mentee. You don’t need to leave your home as all mentoring can be delivered by phone, Skype, WhatsApp, FaceTime or MSTeams. Read our Guidance for Mentors to find out more or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let us know what opportunities you are finding to build your knowledge and experience while working from home. Send your CPD ideas, questions and experience to email@example.com.