Frequently asked questions

What is CPD?

Continuing professional development (CPD) is the gaining of skills, knowledge and experience that you gain both formally and informally as you work together with tracking and documenting the gains that are made. This could mean honing current skills, developing existing skills to a new level, or it could mean learning new skills and knowledge that will benefit you and the users of your work.

CPD is not all about completing formal courses and attending events, and in fact for most people, formal training courses will often form only a small part of their annual CPD activity. CPD activities can come in many forms, including but not exclusively:

  • self-directed learning such as reading books, journals and articles, internet research, attending local events/seminars or online events etc.
  • professional activity such as mentoring, membership interviewing, supporting local member groups or Special Interest Groups
  • training (formal/educational) - such as gaining academic/professional qualification via a professional body or attending 3rd party/external training providers
  • work based learning such as learning by doing the job, in-house learning activities (face to face or e-learning), work shadowing, short term secondments etc.

What are the benefits of CPD?

CPD benefits you, the users of your work (whether that is your employer or your customers) and benefits the profession as a whole.

CPD helps you keep your knowledge and skills up-to-date and also ensures you maintain the professional standards required to maintain your IChemE membership and any other professional qualifications held.

Benefits for the individual:

  • develops professional capability and enhances your reputation
  • identification of professional development requirements
  • boosts self-confidence
  • showcases achievements and knowledge
  • helps plan current and future career needs


Benefits for your organisation:

  • provides a framework to manage employees professional development, including staff appraisals
  • promotes investment and helps to plan staff development needs across the organisation
  • strengthens reputation as a quality employer
  • enhances staff recruitment and retention
  • improves morale, staff motivation and workplace performance
  • evidence for regulators, clients and stakeholders of the expertise of the workforce

What will I be required to do by IChemE to demonstrate my CPD?

Annually IChemE will be conducting a review of a sample of members CPD records. The members will be randomly selected and will be asked to complete and submit a submission form together with providing your current CV/Resume and any supporting evidence. Guidance on completing the form is provided as are examples of different types of submission.

We therefore encourage all members keep some kind or CPD record as this is useful for planning, recording activities and reflection.

We are not prescriptive about how you choose to keep your records, however, one of the benefits of membership is access to IChemE's mycareerpath CPD tool which will help you to focus on your future plans and record achievements, reflect on activities undertaken and ultimately create a tailored professional development report. If however, you are already recording your CPD using a different toolkit or facility provided by your employer, we will accept evidence from these or other sources.

What if I am retired, unemployed, on a career break or maternity/paternity leave?

Members that are not professionally active may be exempt from the CPD requirements for IChemE membership and Chartered Engineer (CEng) registration. If you are requested to complete a CPD return then all that is required is that you all complete section 1 of the submission form with an explanation of your situation.

What does professionally active mean?

Professionally active means that you are undertaking activities (both paid and unpaid) where you are using your professional skills and knowledge. Those people that are retired from paid work but that are carrying out volunteering work on behalf of the profession, such as mentoring others, carrying out membership report assessments and interviews would still be classed as professionally active and therefore we would expect these members to be carrying out relevant CPD to keep their knowledge up-to-date to do these activities - the type and level of CPD will be dependent on the activities being carried out.

Please note, the Science Council (for CSci, RSci and RSciTech registrants), the Board of Professional Engineers of Queensland (for RPEQ registrants), the Society for the Environment (for CEnv registrants), and the Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme (ESOS registrants) require registrants to be professionally active in order to remain on their registers. It is possible to defer your CPD revalidation if you hold one of these registrations but are unemployed, on a career break or maternity/paternity leave, but retired members that are not professionally active may have to relinquish their registration. If you are sampled for one of the above registrations please complete section 1 of the relevant submission form with an explanation of your situation and we will review your situation.

My employer doesn’t support me in doing CPD - I don’t get any training opportunities and this is not likely to change in the future. What am I supposed to do?

We recognise and understand that not everyone will have access to the same opportunities and that an individual’s CPD plan and activities will be highly dependent on their personal circumstances. CPD is much more than just training courses and other formal activities. Any activity which maintains or increases your knowledge and skills is essentially CPD. This can include on the job activities, by applying existing knowledge and skills to new situations as an example. In addition, many local member groups and special interest groups put on free or low cost events, which can be attended in person, or sometimes via webinar. When assessing CPD submission we will take account of all the information provided, so in completing your submission form, please help us by explaining any limitations or constraints that impact on your CPD plans in the relevant section.

I am about to retire (or have other significant change of circumstances) within the next few months - how can I complete the CPD submission form section on future CPD plan?

If you are about to, or just have had, a change in circumstances which means that your future CPD plans are uncertain, liable to change, or no longer appropriate, then when you complete the section on future CPD plans, please briefly describe these changes in circumstance and what this means for your future CPD plans. We do not expect people to have detailed CPD plans for the future if that is not appropriate at the time. We would expect that you would still be able to describe the recent CPD activities that you have undertaken. Please bear in mind that if you stop paid employment, but continue to carry out activities such as volunteering work for the IChemE (e.g. carrying out professional review interviews - PRIs) you will still be ‘professionally active’ and will need to do some CPD, but only that which is necessary to maintain your skills and knowledge appropriate to the activities you carry out. 

My IChemE

IChemE is a registered charity in England & Wales (214379), and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 039661).