Registration with an NRCPD requires us as BSL/English interpreters to complete 12 hours of structured and 12 hours of unstructured CPD, enabling us to keep up with the advancement and development of our education and continue to enhance our skills.
When I first became a registered interpreter, there was no mandatory CPD requirement. But I, along with many others, would eagerly attend courses to learn more; and also network with other like-minded interpreters.
Being based in Berkshire, a train ride into London is a real benefit as most of the courses are held in the capital.
Over the years, more courses by ASLI, Interpreting agencies and freelance interpreters started to be offered across the UK which naturally correlated with the mandatory completion of CPD in 2012, with the publication of the CPD handbook in 2015.
Despite the emergence of more courses, it has long been a challenge for interpreters to find the right opportunities for learning, which is why the team at terptree found ourselves looking at how learning can be achieved in a more impactful way.
Don’t worry, this article is not to sell you the benefits of undertaking our training sessions! Just an overview of the journey that CPD has taken over the years.
Our team recognised online learning was being used a lot in many other areas and professions. For example, in business, you can access webinars for all manner of topics either by attending ‘live’ or receiving access to the recording after the session.
We took this model and shaped it to work for our profession, by starting to offer evening webinars on each domain interpreters worked in. We contacted well respected, experienced and knowledgeable interpreter trainers and ran weekly Wednesday webinars.
We are super proud to have been the first to launch this range of online training and at the time had no idea that what it could lead to. Up until now, there has been a lack of access to training – often due to location, dates, times or cost.
By providing CPD in this way, we were removing all these barriers and offering flexible interpreter education.
When we launched our live webinars, covering a wide range of topics, they cost only £10 (!) These 90 minutes of training would include a one-hour presentation and 30 minutes of Q&A.
Our aim from the start was to make CPD more accessible. To solve a problem and ultimately to move our profession forward.
This training model has been a real game changer for interpreter training in the UK, making it easier for interpreters to enhance their skills.
I also believe it has enabled interpreters to learn about topics that, due to previous limitations, they would not ordinarily have attended a course for. But now, with a flexible way of training being delivered, interpreters can learn about new topics, without it being expensive.
For example: learning about mental health. As interpreters, we never know what we will face when attending a booking. I have been in difficult mental health situations many times; such as interpreting for a GP appointment when the subject of medication for mental health issues have been discussed, (I’m sure you can relate to this!). But I have also experienced such discussions in the workplace and many other areas.
So, you may not want or choose to work in mental health but can find yourself being in a situation where this knowledge would be useful.
As Sir Francis Bacon famously said, “Knowledge is power”.
Taking this example into consideration, we are now in a position in this technologically driven age to learn about anything we want to.
CPD doesn’t have to be about playing it safe with a tick box exercise. It can be an activity that drives you to seek out challenging topics.
Areas that stretch us intellectually and emotionally can often give the most opportunity to create massive growth. So why not consider pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone and allowing this regulation to lead to a shift in your professional and personal development.