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Describe the Process for Agreeing a Personal Development Plan and Identify Who Should be Involved

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A Personal Development Plan is an invaluable tool for the health and social care worker because learning new skills, updating existing skills and increasing understanding and efficiency are essential to the role.

What is a Personal Development Plan (PDP)?

A PDP is a formal record of your learning and development. It is also a way to identify your learning needs and document what you need to do to achieve them. You will usually complete your PDP with your line manager and discuss what training or self-study would be useful to you and increase your effectiveness in your role.

Formalising and documenting your personal development has the benefit of turning ideas into concrete plans that are actionable and time-specific. You will usually plan your learning for a period of 12 months so many organisations find it useful to tie-in creating a PDP with Annual Appraisals, with reviews taking place during regular supervision.

Other individuals that may have some input into your PDP are in-house Training Managers, other colleagues and even clients. Ultimately, however, the final plan will be decided by yourself and your manager.

When deciding your training needs, you should keep in mind that your learning should benefit the organisation you work for. For example, it is unlikely that a health and social care company would be willing to pay for staff to go on a welding course!

Several factors will influence how you and your manager decide on your learning needs. These include:

  • Your current skillset (e.g. do you need any refreshers?)
  • Your weaknesses (e.g. maybe you need to brush up your Numeracy or IT skills)
  • Your career goals (e.g. leadership training for those wishing to advance)
  • Organisational needs (e.g. do a certain number of staff need to be trained as first-aiders or fire marshalls?)
  • Service/setting needs (e.g. do staff need training on certain equipment in the service such as a hoist?)
  • Client needs (e.g. does the client require staff with specialist healthcare training such as for epilepsy or diabetes?)

How to Write a Personal Development Plan

A good place to start on your PDP is to look at your current strengths and weaknesses. What are you good at? What needs improvement? You should check relevant standards to assess if your current practice meets them. Prior to your meeting with your manager to discuss your PDP, you should reflect on your practice and obtain feedback from others to identify areas that you may require further learning opportunities or support. If you’ve recently reflected on some work you did, you may have identified a need for some specific training.

Next, take a look at your own long-term goals and see what sort of training and development is essential or desirable to achieve them. It is also important to consider how this training would be beneficial to your organisation.

Then, discuss these points with your line manager. The information you have gathered will show your current knowledge and skills as well as areas that require improvement. The difference is referred to as a ‘skills gap‘ and will identify areas for further discussion. Your manager should also be able to help you with guidance and advice and may offer some organisational-specific suggestions.

By discussing these points with your manager, you should decide on ways that you can address your ‘skills gap‘ and set mutually agreeable SMART goals for achieving them.

SMART Goals

SMART is an acronym and SMART goals are designed to ensure that your goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

By setting goals with these 5 criteria in mind, your goals will be clear and unambiguous, which will help to keep you motivated and focussed.

Next, write a list of your personal development goals for the year along with specific deadlines for achieving them, the actions that need to be taken and by whom. For example:

GoalBy when?Action neededBy whom?
1. Complete Level 3 DiplomaJan 2020Seek provider
Enrol on course
Manager
Me
2. First Aid TrainingMay 2019Arrange with Training ManagerMe

Review Regularly

Over the following months, keep your PDP updated as and when you complete your goals and keep reviewing it to make sure you are on track. You should regularly discuss your progress towards your goals with your manager during supervision. If anything changes, record it on your PDP.

In twelve months time, you and your manager should sit down again and discuss your PDP. Did you complete or your goals? If not, why not? Have your career aspirations changed over the year? What goals should be set for the following twelve months?

Personal Development Planning is a continuous process and will provide you with a roadmap to stay organised and keep on top of your learning.