VSJ – December 2007 – Members’ News

University of Plymouth Nets IAP Prize

The University of Plymouth’s School of Computing, Communications and Electronics has become the first to offer the Software Development Prize funded by the IAP. This will be awarded every year to the student who completes the most professional software project. It consists of a cash prize of £100 plus free registration and membership of the IAP for the following year.

Mike Ryan, the IAP’s Director General, said, “We see this initiative as a way to help develop professionalism among those about to enter the industry. We have had extensive links with Higher Education establishments for many years and have been consistently impressed with the best that they produce. We do whatever we can to raise the overall standard and this is part  of that process.”

Andy Phippen, Senior Lecturer in the School of Computing, Communications and Electronics, said, “Here at Plymouth we pride ourselves on producing IT graduates with an attitude of professionalism. The Software Development prize has given us a fantastic opportunity to further reinforce professional practice into our curricula. We look forward to promoting the work and influence of the IAP within our programmes.”

See ‘Work in Progress’ for more information about this scheme.

Lee Murphy FIAP, of Mott MacDonald Ltd, is also a Fellow of the Institute of Professional Development. As members will no doubt recall, they can apply for membership of the ICPD through the IAP. Here Lee outlines the annual Professional Development Review (PDR) undertaken by all technical professionals at Mott McDonald.
Each employee belongs to a professional range. The technical professional range spans eight levels, four of which overlap. ‘Senior Professional’ overlaps  ‘Senior Management’ and similarly ‘Professional’ overlaps ‘Management’. Each level has a ‘competency wheel’ (see figure) which is basically a pie chart weighted to relevant skills required for that role. Generally there are only six areas for review and development, which might include Customer Focus, Project Management, Technical Competence, Personal Effectiveness, Communications and Teamwork, and Management Systems.

Each competency is described as a ‘Skills Cluster’. For example, Technical Competence might be made up of Technical Expertise, Problem Solving, Decision Making, and Use of Information Technology. Each skill is broken down into (on average) five behavioural points.

The score system works on a one to five (“not demonstrated” to “exceptional”) rating against a one to five (“not important” to “essential”) weighting.

The CPD Section
Each PDR form reviews what the staff member agreed they would aim to have achieved (given the relative opportunities) in the previous year with regard to personal and professional development. If those opportunities were not available then ‘what in the way of development was achieved given any opportunity that did arise through the year’. In this section they also agree goals to be achieved (given available opportunities) for the next annual review.

CPD Standalone
There is a standalone CPD system in which a points system is used to grade achievement and standard:

< 8 (Poor)
8 – 12 (Average)
13 – 17 (Keen)
18 – 20 (Exceptional)

These points are awarded via learning through practical ‘doing’ (such as taking on a new task), reading and education, specialisation, and knowledge sharing (such as mentoring, talks, presentations, papers and open forums). We also have an e-learning portal where CPD points can be gained and recorded within the Human Resources department.
If you’re interested in joining the ICPD, you can get the necessary forms from the IAP office (call 020 8 567 2118 or email admin@iap.org.uk). If you’d like to discuss it first, contact Robin Jones on 01233 630943 or email eo@iap.org.uk.

2008 Subscriptions

There will be a modest increase in IAP subscription rates effective from 1 January 2008. This is the first increase for three years and is to compensate for inflation over that period. The new rates will be

Fellow, £115.00; Member, £105.00; Associate Member, £95.00; Graduate, £70.00; Licentiate, £60.00;

Retired member £50.00.

[Don’t forget to email eo@iap.org.uk with items of news about you or your company.]

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