Lifelong learning is one of the hallmarks of a professional: it demonstrates commitment to excellence, supports development and has the potential to mould us into more rounded professionals. As members of the IFoA, your overarching Actuaries Code obligation to maintain your competence is directly supported by the principles embedded in our continuing professional development (CPD) scheme.
In the third instalment of this series, which focuses on the practical aspects of the CPD scheme and challenges common misconceptions, our general counsel, Ben Kemp, is in conversation with fictional member Charlie Smith, a scheme actuary planning to take a period of shared parental leave following the arrival of a new baby.
Smith I expect to be on leave following the birth of my baby for seven months from December this year and I'm concerned about the impact this is going to have on my career and, in particular, my ability to retain my practising certificate.
Kemp We've recently made changes to the CPD and practising certificate rules, designed to make sure that an absence from work on maternity, paternity or adoption leave won't have a negative impact on your practising certificate.
You will be able to renew your certificate without worrying about gaining 30 hours of activities in the year you're on leave, and you can now rely on technical experience gained in the 18 months before your renewal.
Smith That's good to hear. The requirement to have three months' technical experience in the 12 months before a renewal application would have been tricky for me, and I was also worried that I'd either have to cram a year's worth of CPD into my first few weeks back in the office or try to juggle that learning with a new baby.
Kemp Certainly not; your attention will be on your new role at home in those first months, and, as you recognise, it isn't practical to expect members to 'catch up' on CPD the moment they are back at their desks. We want to encourage our members to select CPD activities that really develop their knowledge and skills - we don't want you to feel like you have to attend any training that falls in the window before your CPD deadline just to be able to comply with the letter of the scheme.
Smith That sounds sensible, but how will it work in practice?
Kemp You'll be able to renew your certificate while on leave or once you return to work without having completed the usual 30 hours of CPD activities required of Category 1 members. Instead, you'll have two CPD years to complete a pro-rated amount of CPD in line with the number of months you work over that time.
Smith But if I don't have my annual CPD requirement under my belt, how will my employer and the trustees of the schemes I administer have confidence in my ability?
Kemp Your Actuaries' Code obligations mean that the people you work for can take comfort that you will continue to consider whether you have the necessary knowledge and skill required to complete each piece of work. No one will be better placed than you to assess your ability as you get back up to speed on your return to work. The new arrangements simply mean that, as and when you're satisfied that you are able to return to your reserved role, there won't be an additional 'compliance' barrier to navigate.