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Compulsory CPD helps no one

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Some years ago, when cpd was merely a set of abstract initials used to confuse students, I felt that it would be a very useful way of improving the profession and rewarding hard-pressed working architects for their enhanced learning and expertise.

Foolishly I looked to the riba to catch the ball and run with it. cpd, I thought, good idea: formalise a process of continual learning which in reality takes place anyway (try running a job without learning anything). Have a system which allows architects to pursue career goals in a structured and recorded fashion with qualifications or grades achieved along the way. Link this to the charge-out rate - more experienced and learned professionals are worth more (if you are a lawyer or a doctor or accountant) - and finally link this to the salary of the architects.

Ten years on, and of course nothing of the sort has happened. cpd has no formal structure or grading, is not linked in any way to an architect's perceived worth, and instead of being a fee-earner for the practice is a drain on net income. Architects remain underpaid and practices underfunded, and yet cpd is grinding towards a compulsory status. Once cpd is compulsory, it merely becomes another 'expected' attribute that all architects should have and therefore does not increase their net worth to the client or the practice but does increase their cost to that practice.

A potential win-win situation, which would have allowed architects to correct many of the inadequacies of their decrepit educational system (where did you put that ball, riba?), is turned instead into a no-win situation. Is it too late? Probably.

EWAN McLEAN

Harrow

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