Top 5 Benefits of Professional Development

Chantel Sciore, Professional Services | September-27-11

Top 5 Benefits of Professional Development

Over the next decade, 14% of the environmental workforce is set to retire and employers will be looking for highly qualified professionals to fill the gap. Do you have the skills and knowledge to take on a new opportunity?

According to ECO Canada’s report, Profile of Canadian Environmental Employment, about one-third of employers experience difficulties finding the workers they need, identifying “a lack of candidates with appropriate skills” as the most common reason.

What does this mean for professionals? Now is the time to advance your skills!

Check out these top 5 professional development benefits:


1) Feeling a little rusty? Sharpen your knowledge

Remember studying for hours and memorizing technical information in post-secondary, only to forget a week after the big test? Five years later your employer brings up the very same concepts, and you draw a blank.

Refreshing with events or seminars in your area can help you stay up-to-date on the knowledge acquired during your early years of education and the hands-on skills you've gained on the job.


2) Want to learn something new? Develop your skills

Whether you’re looking for a new role or wanting to grow your current position, taking on a professional development course specific to managerial skills can give you a competitive edge.

One of the students from Stepping Up to Management™ online learning program from Harvard Business Publishing offered through ECO Canada says, “I enrolled in Stepping Up to Management because I wanted to know what managers need and want from their direct reports, so I can be a better employee.  Many people see me as a natural leader and I wanted to develop my competencies in this area.”


3) Lost touch with your industry niche? Keep up-to-date

Are you in the know about labour market information, innovative best practices and changing regulations? Continuing education helps professionals stay informed about the sector and shows employers you have ongoing dedication and engagement with your career.

The Canadian Centre for Environmental Education’s Master in Environmental Practice (MEP) may be just what you are looking for. James Will, a current MEP student who works as General Manager of Human Resources with the City of Medicine Hat states: “the (Master in Environmental Practice) has been great and we have lots of recognized PhD's in the field … This has been the best educational experience that I have had so far”.

4) Interested in meeting new contacts? Start networking

It’s easy to get stuck in the same social circles. Branching out and meeting new professionals exposes you to new ideas and gives the opportunity to meet others who may be able to help your career in the future.

Kenneth Law, Health and Environment Officer at Health Canada, used EP Events to make new connections. “First (I would) like to express how much I enjoyed the ECO Canada networking event - the workshop was helpful and I met several notable people in the industry.”


5) Uninspired with your projects? Reenergize your ideas

Working on the same assignment for a long period of time can become lacklustre.  To increase your dedication and creativity, some professionals find continuing education helps them to reconnect with their passion for a particular industry niche.