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The Importance of Ongoing Professional Development

Jennie Marshall

18 January 2024

In this latest edition of Raising the Bar, our Head of Learning Solutions, Jennie Marshall, explains why refreshing your skills and developing new ones plays a huge part in advancing your career and influence.

It doesn’t matter if you’re in an entry-level role, a manager, a director, or the CEO of a company – what really sets you apart is versatility. That means a truly successful professional will possess a range of diverse skills, including those not directly related to their role. Among other things, you should be business-savvy, adept with technology, a strong communicator and a good leader.

Yes, it’s a lot. That’s why it’s important to refresh your skills and develop new ones through ongoing professional development.

Luckily, professional development courses are ten a dozen, and if you work in a large company, courses may be offered internally, by your workplace. Failing that, many employers regard professional development as important enough that they’re willing to pay for an employee’s extra courses or training.

Not sure what to take? The following are key skills that every professional would benefit from developing or brushing up on:

Leadership & Management

For most of us, understanding how to effectively work with others and manage a team isn’t second nature. Luckily, courses in leadership and team management are abundant, and can prove extremely handy.

For one thing, it’s quite common in many sectors for individuals to be promoted into managerial roles without leadership training. Taking matters into your own hands and acquiring some formal training in team-leading, delegation, motivation, influence and coaching will likely serve you as you progress in your field.

Further, many professionals need to be able to effectively manage people, to maintain excellence without having to do all the work yourself. Understanding personality theory and, for management especially, knowing how to recognise and draw out people’s strengths can both earn you respect and ensure greater efficiency for your team.

Systems, Tools & Technology

Love or hate it, technology is increasingly important, and likely plays a substantial role in your work. Learning to use different software, programmes and tools, and staying up to date with new developments will keep you current and competitive.

Particularly for the luddites among us, intensive or crash courses are often the best way to go in terms of getting a properly in-depth understanding of a computer system or tool.

If you are technologically-inclined, consider the potential leg-up you could have by developing a technology niche and management/leadership – something of a rarity.

Sales, Marketing & Operations

By understanding the nuts and bolts of things like sales, marketing, manufacturing and the supply chain, you’ll be able to provide better overall support across the business.

Consider, then, taking a course on sales management, market research or supply and demand strategy.

Process & Continuous Improvement Methodologies

Financial results are produced by business processes, so if you understand how to measure or improve processes, it adds tremendous value, more so if you can analyse areas within your own department.

While all of this extra learning and professional development might seem like arduous extra work in the short-term, the perspective and qualifications you will gain is likely to gain you promotions or higher level positions in the future.

Click here to find out more about our development programmes, or drop our team an email at