Personal development planning for engineering
Personal development planning for engineering

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Personal development planning for engineering


This course is focused on your career as an engineer. It provides an opportunity to interrogate and scrutinise your career plans. This might be the first time you have really considered your future career as an engineer; although, particularly if you are already working in engineering, it won't be new at all. Even if you do already have strong career plans, don't think that these plans can't be reflected and improved upon. It might not be your first time considering and planning your career as an engineer, but it might be the first time you can do it without your boss or line manager peering over your shoulder.

A cartoon image of a man completing a plan at his desk while being observed by his boss
Figure 1 Quality reflection

In general, personal development planning, or PDP, encompasses the importance of recording, reflection and planning in helping you to manage your learning and development in an efficient and effective way. In the same vein, career development planning focuses on the principles and processes that are involved in effective career development, and examines the benefits of developing and/or updating a career plan during your studies and beyond. If you have already gone through the development planning process, you might have a current plan for development. If so, view this as an opportunity to review your current plans independently of people who might have a conflict of interest with regard to your career trajectory. It's always a good idea to periodically review whatever plans you have made.

As an introduction to career planning and thinking about your career in general, listen to Audio 1, which discusses the benefits of PDP for a career in engineering and considers how you might go about gathering evidence. Remember to make notes as and when you feel it is necessary.

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Audio 1 PDP and career planning
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The activities you are asked to do here will require significant thought, so I would expect you to take approximately 10−12 hours to complete the course (including reading, contemplating and completing the activities). It is difficult to give guidelines for each individual activity because you may or may not have visited the topic in the past. Therefore, I suggest you keep in mind that there are a total of 12 activities and I expect you to take no more than approximately 12 hours to complete the entire course. Some activities require thought and reflection and might take 1.5 hours, while others simply require collection of information and might only take 10 minutes. You might want to spread your study over several days to give you time to reflect on your responses.

While working through this course you will need to log your progress. You will notice that on many occasions you are prompted to make an entry into your 'learning log'. This can take many forms. You can use a word processor or computer note pad or you can use an online journal or organiser, it could even take the form of a book in which you make hand written notes. However, for the purposes of creating evidence of completing this course, I recommend that you use some sort of electronic note-taking software (this could be Microsoft Word), that is capable of saving a document containing all your inputs when you have completed the different tasks.

This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course T176 Engineering: professions, practice and skills 1 [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

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