89% of the 3955 enrolments on IOPSA’s e-learning platform were free CPD accredited courses. The top 10 CPD accredited courses offered are for free.
“CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development. It refers to the process of tracking and documenting the skills, knowledge and experience that you gain both formally and informally as you work, beyond any initial training. It’s a record of what you experience, learn and then apply”. (https://career-advice.jobs.ac.uk/career-development/what-is-continuing-professional-development-cpd/). In other words, CPD is the continuing life-long learning that you do after your qualification.
But why is it necessary? In the modern world, the only constant is change. New technology, methods and products emerge on an almost daily basis. Likewise, new or revised laws, regulations and standards are introduced regularly. This all means that, more than ever before, it is important for plumbers to stay abreast of the changes. CPD is a method to do this and more importantly, a method to prove to the market that you are up to date. CPD is fairly new to the South African plumbing industry but for many other industries it has been a normal requirement for many years.
We often hear comments like “CPD is just a money-making racket” from certain sectors of the industry. The Institute of Plumbing, IOPSA (www.iopsa.org) has provided an e-learning platform to the industry. Having completed its first full year of operation (Feb 2021-Jan 2022) we decided to take a close look at the facts and you may be interested to see what we found;
- 1. There were 3955 enrolments for the year.
- 2. 43 courses are available on the e-learning platform, of these 40% are completely free.
- 3. 89% of enrolments were for Free CPD accredited courses.
- 4. The top 10 most popular courses are all for free.
- 5. 81% of users are repeat customers.
- 6. 5 Training providers have listed courses for sale.
- 7. The average cost of a paid for CPD course is R1 226.71
- 8. Total sales for the year between all 5 training providers amounted to R460 000, an average of R92 000 per training provider per year or R7 600 per month.
- 9. IOPSA earned around R45 000 for the year, about R3 750 per month from the e-learning platform which does not come close to covering the running costs.
- 10. The Top 3 free topics were: General plumbing technical, Health & safety and business acumen.
- 11. The top 3 paid for topics were: Point of use geysers, earthing & bonding, debtor management.
- 12. Audiences in 9 different countries use the e-learning platform.
- 13. The PIRB’s CPD requirement is 20 points per year, the free courses on offer on IOPSA’s e-learning platform amount to 34 points per year (yes, you read that correctly! And that excludes other free CPD activities like meetings and community work).
- 14. During the year IOPSA has placed 140 free CPD training courses on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6Ujv9HU9DJz5XvVS6vL3gg/videos) where we have 1841 subscribers and growing.
- 15. Youtube advertising revenue amounted to a whopping R892 for the year.
Admittedly, some plumbers may spend thousands of Rands on CPD courses, but this is their choice, there are plenty of opportunities available to achieve all the CPD points needed at absolutely no cost. Plumbers who leave their CPD to the last minute, often end up scrambling to participate in any course available to make up their points, with some planning, that is completely unnecessary. It is interesting to note that of all the industries we have looked at, the plumbing industry is the only one which has such options available. Most industries require a minimum spend of around R20 000 per year in order to achieve their points. The plumber does need to invest some time and for small businesses that can be a challenge but in the end, they are gaining valuable knowledge which will ultimately benefit them massively.
I have heard people say that “they are making millions on CPD” and “its just a money-making scheme” and various other similar comments. The truth is vastly different, there is NO other industry which makes its CPD more affordable or accessible to its stakeholders. CPD is by no means a cash cow for any of those involved. What it is, is an opportunity for plumbers to uplift and improve themselves. Knowledge is the one thing that can never be taken away from you, embrace it!!