Charles Leadbeater (2000) Living on Thin Air p.223 Penguin.
Welcome to my blog where I want to discuss all things pertinent to personal and professional development (P&PD). A good starting point might be to work out a suitable definition of what the term means and provide an overview of what I might wish to include. Easy eh? Not so much!!! It's a slippery business.
P&PD does not sit comfortably in the context of a university setting, as it cannot be considered a subject area or discipline. By its very nature P&PD like its close relative, work-based learning (WBL) requires a multi or cross disciplinary framework of understanding. This is because it is more of a process than a topic; a process of obtaining the knowledge, skills, qualities, qualifications and experience that will allow someone to make progress in their career. Traditionally, it was a by-product of a university education; implicit within the experience of studying at a Higher Education Institution and closely linked to the concept of a graduate career. However, this option was historically open only to a relatively small percentage of society and not all careers demanded a degree qualification, Equally, for those who did not opt for university either by choice or by other influencing factors, there were alternative employment routes. How about now?
Now, we all face a world which is defined by change and these changes present challenges to us both personally and professionally. Nothing brings this into sharper focus than when considering how to make a successful living. How long will we remain doing the job that we are doing now? What jobs are going to be available in the future? In the next five years or ten years? What happens if we lose our job? What will our retirements look like? What jobs will our children be looking to do? What knowledge will we need in the future? What skills? What qualifications? I don 't know the answers, do you? However, I believe that Higher Education has an important role to play in both handling and shaping these changes; but not in the same way as it does now, especially as the financial investment increases. P&PD cannot remain simply a by-product, instead it needs to be a central organising principle around which a rich personal learning environment can be created that permits and supports the learner to take control of their learning in ways which extend the boundaries of any one Higher Education Institution.
The personal, which will include the social and emotional aspects of everyday life, cannot be separated from the professional which in this blog will relate to any work in which someone takes a personal pride. Their development goes hand in hand and finding individual fulfilment whilst working is a huge personal achievement.
The topics which I will be considering will include:
- The changing definitions of work and employment;
- The future of work;
- The changing definitions of professions;
- Leading a fulfilling life;
- Handling change;
- Learning for and in a wide range of contexts;
- Work-based learning;
- The role of self-reflection;
- Communities of practice;
- Personal learning environments;
- Positive thinking;
- Career development;
- Lifelong learning;
- Studying for an HE qualification whilst working full time; and
- Practitioner research.