BCRSP Musings - Professional Development and Training

Keyboard and Coffee Cup with BCRSP Musings Title and BCRSP Logo

Professional Development and Training.
Are these the same? Where do these fit in the sphere of certification? 

Contribution by Robin Angel, BSc, MSc, CRSP, Regional Director & Program Manager Occupational Health & Safety Government of Scotia Chair Board of Canadian Registered Safety Professionals (BCRSP)

Silver Gears with words "Goal, Career, Education, Learning, Skill, Training, Motivation, Knowledge' embossed on them

I am a big believer in being strategic while still acknowledging the indispensable role of operations. In my most recent career opportunity, I learned firsthand the merits of both training and professional development. I was given an amazing opportunity whereby I became the trainee, trainer and strategic consultant all within the same role. Upon self-reflection, I learned the merits of both training and professional development and where they can be applied and leveraged for both my career and my professional designation, CRSP.

At the height of the pandemic in April 2020 I was asked to assist a department that required OHS expertise. I did not have a job description;  I didn’t know a single soul and I had a very vague understanding of the strategic and operational mandates of the organization. The request was for an eight-week term.

As a long-time CRSP, I leaned on both my practical training and my career experiences to help formulate plans and approaches that would best assist the department. I started to think about my training and professional development history and where I could leverage these skills and opportunities.

When considering professional development and training, one has to think about the purpose, goal and outcomes of the different offerings. It important to understand the differences between the two and to decide when and where to apply the distinctive attributes that are obtained.

Professional development lives in the strategic continuum.

  • The purpose of Professional development is a process by which to continuously grow and expand beyond one’s current comfort level and breadth of knowledge. 
  • The goal is to be able to apply the knowledge and competency with a strategic lens. 
  • The outcome is the creation of a different way of looking at a problem, opportunity or situation and applying deliberate strategies that result in effective and efficient solutions.

Training lives withing the operational continuum.

  • The purpose of training is to impart technical knowledge that is typically job specific. 
  • The goal is to ensure the employee is skilled in the job for which they have been hired,
  • The outcome is a qualified individual that conforms to expectations of the required skills to complete a specific set of duties and tasks.

Professional development is a long term commitment that generates transferrable skills and competencies that can shape future challenges and create new opportunities. Professional development comes from the desire to broaden and grow.

Training is fundamental to understanding the inner workings of processes, procedures, expectations and deliverables with respect to a specific set of tasks. 

The eight-week term transformed into a two-year commitment. I work in both continuums, strategic and operational, where I strive to ensure that both continuums complement each the other. I am very fortunate to have been able to apply the  professional development and training both of which I obtained and continue to develop as part of the maintenance of my CRSP certification. It important to understand the differences between the training and professional development, and to decide when and where to apply the distinctive attributes that are obtained.

If you are offered an opportunity to build on your training and professional development, seize it, you won’t regret it. It can help you to obtain and maintain a professional certification, a lifelong achievement that continuously provides new and exciting opportunities.