Continuing Professional Development

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

The ARA believes that professional development is a vital part of a rewarding career in archives, archive conservation and records management.  It is also a strategic aim of the ARA to identify, develop and promote the professional skills required by the sector, and support the professional development and interests of all its members.

New technology, customer and stakeholder demand, emerging best practice, the economy, and changes to national and local government policies and approaches are just some of the key factors that impact on what we do and how we do it.  Continuing your professional development will ensure you continually update your skills and knowledge in order to maintain your professional competence. In an increasingly competitive job market, CPD will help you maintain the highest professional standards, giving you a competitive edge throughout your career.

The ARA recommends all members maintain and develop their professional knowledge and competence through continuing their professional development.

What is CPD?

CPD is an ongoing process of learning through planning and reflection. Any activity has the potential to provide you with CPD as long as there is a learning outcome for you. CPD is available from a wide range of sources, including formal events, training courses, qualifications and similar forms of learning. In addition, activities such as independent research, work-based learning and experience, networking and volunteering can also offer CPD.  Consider what you will learn from the activity, and how you will then apply this learning to improve what you do.

A fundamental part of the CPD process is the time you take to plan and reflect on your learning and work experience. CPD requires you to think about your own career goals and professional priorities, and what you need to do in order to meet them. This makes CPD a powerful tool that can drive your career forward.

The ARA’s professional development programme is a competency based process through which members can qualify as a Foundation (FMARA), Registered (RMARA) or Fellow (FARA) member of the ARA. These three membership levels recognise standards (or levels) of competency, and provide members with designatory letters, also known as professional qualifications. Find out which level of membership is right for you, and how you can enrol onto the programme.
The ARA’s competency framework sets out the key competencies for professionals and volunteers working within the archives, conservation and records management sector. It should be used by members when considering their own professional development needs, and employers when planning their staff development programmes.
The framework also sets the standards members must meet to qualify as a Foundation, Registered or Fellow. Read more about how the framework can help your own professional development. Managers should also use the framework when planning the training needs of their staff.
A professional development plan (PDP) will help you proactively manage your professional development in the best way for you, helping you to reach your full potential.  Read how to develop your own.
Read more on CPD and why it is important to be a reflective practitioner.
Find out more about training, events and other CPD opportunities available from the ARA.
Some of your professional development questions answered. If you have a question about your professional development please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. All enquiries are treated in confidence.