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Continuing Professional Development – Which path? Vocational or Academic?

Continuing Professional Development – Which path? Vocational or Academic?

There are many values that the Military taught me, but one, which I continue to think about, is continuing professional development (CPD). It is this experience that I have taken across into my civilian career, always looking at how I can grow and challenge myself within the environments I live and work.

As a director of Ark Risk Management Group, service leaver and seasoned professionals often ask me what qualifications would enhance my career prospects.  I always give the same answer; there are short vocational qualifications and those that follow a longer academic route.  For me, vocational qualifications will help shape your career path; they give you the initial knowledge and direction within an industry. But academic qualifications define your route and ultimate path you take. They give a much broader experience that can be taken across into other industry sectors and recognised by governments and institutions around the world. 

I chose the more academic route culminating in a MSc. By taking this route I felt it validated all my vocational experiences in the military and civilian life with a top academic qualification. 

However, qualifications, whether they are vocational or academic, take time, energy, commitment and financial resources. Only the individuals will know how much of these they have to direct at CPD. But, the path is rewarding and you often only see the true rewards once they are completed.