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5 ways to improve your creative professional development


Written by
Mariana Jaureguilorda Beltran
Published date
26 February 2021

So, you’ve finished your degree, you’ve done work experience, you’ve landed your dream job, or you’ve been working in the same role for years. It might be time for you to start thinking of your continuing professional development.

Many students who attend a short course at UAL come from professional backgrounds. They are looking to learn from industry practitioners to develop their skills and support their current career.

We’ve launched a series of webinars, aimed for anyone looking to upskill and develop their creative practices. See our new series of professional development webinars.

What is a continuing professional development? 

Just because an employee has graduated from college or gotten their master’s degree doesn’t mean that they should stop learning. In fact, professional development has many benefits that can help a company in the long run.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a term used to describe learning activities professionals engage in to develop and enhance their abilities. It enables learning to become conscious and proactive, rather than passive and reactive. It helps people continue to not only be competent in their practice but also excel in it.

CPD should be an ongoing process that continues throughout an individual's career. Actively pursuing professional development ensures that knowledge and skills stay relevant and up to date.

Creative Leadership workshop.

1- Set your career goals

It is important to think about your career goals and the vision for your own life and career. Life and career come hand-in-hand. According to a report by Eurostat, full-time workers in the UK work an average of 42.5 hours a week. By defining your goals and ambitions, you will have a clearer career development path.

Write down your mission, vision and goals. If you write something down, there are more chances that it will get done. Dream big!

Dr Ray Kinsella, associate lecturer at Central Saint Martins and webinar leader, went back to education later in life and recently graduated with a PhD. His PhD explored the Bebop youth subculture in 1940’s Soho, London.

“The best bit of advice, anyone ever gave me was: Don't give up, don’t be afraid to reach your goals and reach for the stars,” said Dr Ray Kinsella.

2- Believe in yourself

Confidence is key. Believing in yourself, your skills, and your ability to succeed are critical success factors for your professional career development. Don’t forget the people who help you along the way.

Tina Lilienthal and Jo Beardsworth, founders of Human Skills Academy and short courses tutors as well as webinar leaders agreed on the importance of believing in yourself and knowing who you are.

“You can’t be a great motivator and leader if you don’t know yourself. Knowing who you are will allow you to focus on your direction and adapt accordingly,” they said.

3- Commit to Lifelong Learning

Broadly speaking, lifelong learning refers to education beyond school. Lifelong learning is voluntary, rather than compulsory, and is completely self-motivated – with the main goal being to improve personal or professional development.

And this is where we come in. Acquiring new knowledge is a sure-fire way to advance in your career. Stay on top of trends and developments in your fields, and make sure your CV reflects those skills.

Kevin Quinn. PhD researcher at Central Saint Martins and webinar leaders explained the importance of commitment and perseverance.

"I got into higher education in my 30s getting a bachelor’s degree at Birkbeck. Even then not having that solid standard education where I learnt the dos and don’ts meant it was a struggle at times, but, persevering and sticking at it eventually paid off. I had a few years away from the ‘learning game’ and found myself restless and started postgraduate research

Although I am perpetually learning more, it’s an endless yet rewarding cycle. In essence, if you can take life-long learning into short-format learning then it's a win-win. Crucially, if you can pursue your passions in any form then to me that it is a wonderful thing."

We’ve launched a series of Webinars, aimed for anyone looking to upskill and develop their professional practices. Through these webinars, you will join our panel of creative industry experts who will present tutorials and workshops covering a diverse range of disciplines across our creative subjects.

Our students come from a professional background and are looking to learn from industry experts to develop their skills and practice. See how doing a short course can boost your career.

Tutors lecturing
Tina Lilienthal and Jo Beardsworth ©Denisa Niculescu

4- Sharpen your people skills/network

People skills are key. The importance of having solid people skills transcends industry and profession; so, whether you lead people, aspire to lead people, or work within a team of professionals, you need to apply people skills to achieve your objectives.

"People that want to lead effectively, need to think more on their feet. That involves focusing on human skills, soft skills, empathy, emotional intelligence, creativity and being able to look at problems from other perspectives.” Tina Lilienthal, co-founder of the Human Skills academy.

Our webinar series and short courses are a great way to meet like-minded creatives from around the world and expand your network.

5- Find opportunities

There are many ways to experience career growth: Job shadowing, working experience, workshops, online courses, webinars, seek a mentor, you name it!

Boosting your skills with industry experts can really go a long way.

Sasha Burkhanova-Khabadze is currently completing a PhD in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins, as well as running an art-research organisation, alongside being a mum of two little girls. She said a combination of constructive tutor feedback and encouragement from her peers is what made taking a short course so worthwhile.

“Short courses are a great starting point as you will have a comprehensive insight from an industry specialist and an opportunity to ask questions. Also, there are tons of good vibes and inspiration during your course,” said Sasha.

If you are not sure which course to embark on, why not sign-up to our webinars to get a real feel of what studying at UAL is like? See our webinar series.

Student working on laptop.

Creative Professional Development webinars

Why choose our webinars?

  • Led by industry experts
  • Opportunities to meet other like-minded creatives from across the world
  • Access to VLE (virtual learning environment) with webinar content
  • Session recordings for review
  • A chance to join the conversation with a live Q&A
  • Webinars are 1.5 hours with 0.5 hours Q&A / 2-hour interactive workshop

Our webinar sessions are aimed for anyone looking to upskill and develop their professional practices. Participants will receive a certificate upon completion. See our webinar series.

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