Skip to main contentSkip to contextural navigationSkip to main navigationIf you are having problems using this page with a screen reader follow this link for a more compatible version
University of Plymouth home page
home |  Help |  contact us |  sitemap |  search  University Logo
Illustrative image

What is Professional Development?


Professional Development (PD) is quite simply a means of supporting people in the workplace to understand more about the environment in which they work, the job they do and how to do it better. It is an ongoing process throughout our working lives.

We live in a rapidly changing world where legislative, social and economic developments directly affect the environment in which we live and work, and where technological advances provide radically different ways of working. PD opportunities provide a means whereby we can keep abreast of these changes, broaden our skills and be more effective in our work.

PD can be part of an individual’s personal ambition to be a better practitioner, enhance his/her career prospects or to simply feel more confident about their work and make it more personally fulfilling. It can be a step on the ladder to higher qualifications or enhanced job prospects or be required by professional bodies to maintain professional status. It can be part of meeting targets set by workforce performance management schemes or an opportunity for individuals to change their career paths.

Whilst PD is an important part of our working lives, it also represents a means for employers to support their staff. PD can facilitate access to specialised structured training, help to review working practices and contribute to a more effective and profitable business. Indeed engaging staff in PD activities can be invigorating for individuals and the business alike.

At Plymouth University the range of PD activities that we undertake to achieve these personal or corporate ambitions is diverse, flexible and varied. They can be as simple as developing practical skills through highly focused short courses or they may be designed to increase theoretical knowledge and in depth understanding based on critical examination of specific working practices over a longer period of time. Where appropriate they can lead to qualifications at varying levels to gain recognition of developing skills. PD can be delivered in group sessions within or away from the workplace, utilise programmes designed for individuals to follow on-line or be bespoke work-based programmes designed to meet the needs of individuals and their employers. They can be organised by the University in conjunction with an appropriate external body.

Through the University’s commitment to life long learning, we encourage individuals to consider PD as an essential part of modern working life – a means of managing and developing their careers over the course of a lifetime. We are fully committed to the provision of appropriate, effective and relevant PD opportunities that enable individuals, employers and University staff to succeed.

Contact us about PD opportunities for you or your organisation

For further information about opportunities at Plymouth University, please contact our Enterprise Solutions Enquiry Service. Our trained staff at this central support desk will manage your enquiry and direct you to the most appropriate contact within the University. Or email