In Search of CLPs: You Don’t Have to Look Far, But You Do Have to Look
Have you thought about your continuous learning requirements lately? Or is it something that you keep buried in the back of your mind until the last minute? If so, you’re not alone, and the clock is ticking for annual certification upkeep deadlines. But maybe it’s time to refresh your mindset for continuous learning.
Most of us with a professional certification such as DAWIA, Federal Acquisition Certification (FAC), or PMP have to do continuous learning in order to maintain our certification. The purpose behind the learning requirement is to ensure we remain current in our career field as well as expand our skills and knowledge.
For those of us in acquisition and contracting, it may feel like trying to keep up with the changes to the FAR is almost a daily battle at times. There’s no time to think about continuous learning until we have to.
Other career fields have a more stable environment from a rules and regulations point of view but require their people to stay up to date on what’s going on in the industry, which can be a different challenge.
Instead of taking and retaking the same class every year, take a chance: Look for opportunities that offer insight into (and key skills from) another area.
If you’re not a financial manager, but still deal budgeted funds, what about a class on financial management? You’ll learn about the process to plan, review, and approve funding that happens every year—and you can get a step ahead on important subjects like Enterprise Risk Management, which affects far more than just financial managers. Even better, you may see how your job impacts them and how you might work together to unlock greater (and mutual) success.
How about a class on project management? Most of us end up managing a project of some sort during our careers. Why not prepare for it? The principles of project management are the same for each project. It’s the focus of each project that is different. The skills you learn in class could positively impact your career development. Even better, you may be able to better communicate with the project or program manager you support.
What about working on some of those tricky soft skills? There are classes on briefing and presentation skills, negotiation, influencing, critical thinking for problem solving, and plenty of other crucial leadership skills courses. Business and leadership skills are as important as technical skills for your career and the organization overall.
Take a class with other people from your workplace. Training with a group of coworkers will give you a chance to connect with others in your organization. Sharing different perspectives and talking about what you’re learning in class makes for a richer learning experience. It will also help you discover ways to apply your new skills or knowledge when the training ends.
Use your continuous learning requirements to explore something that’s new to you and will help you and your organization. Never stop learning—it’s too important for both you and your organization.