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EWC Council member Berni Tyler gives an employer’s take on the value and usefulness of the PLP

Berni TylerAt ISA training it’s currently appraisal time and one of the areas my team always have an excuse for is the updating of their PDR (Personal development record). We have a few stars and they are mainly those who have to record CPD for ongoing ability to assess in their vocational area. The rest vary from creating a PDR the size of ‘War and Peace’ to those who aren’t sure where it is located!

Maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel that might help improve this practice! Just a few weeks ago we were fortunate to have Liz Brimble (Deputy Chief Exec of the EWC) visit ISA Training. Liz came to give the low down to our hardworking delivery team on the upcoming registration of the WBL work force. The ISA delivery team are a vibrant, lively bunch and I was expecting a bit of resistance and some intense questioning on the requirement to register. However they listened intently and asked a few questions but on the whole were in agreement. They could clearly see the relevance and need for this and were all pleased to see our workforce being recognised and professionalised. One even asked if she could join there and then! I had expected more ‘what’s in it for me?’ questions and was ready to support Liz in outlining the personal benefits.

Clearly it is an individual’s license to practice alongside for example;

  • improving public understanding of our delivery teams contribution to education in Wales
  • maintaining public confidence in the education workforce
  • promoting professional development
  • establishing professional standards across the education workforce

But one of the best benefits of all has to be the ability to access and utilise the PLP (The Professional Learning Passport) this is one snappy little number that collects just about anything the user wants to put into it to build up a holistic picture of the user that can be used in a whole range of ways, from a reflective journal as part of a qualification to a full blown interactive CV and record of CPD.

Now if I had to produce my CV, evidence of qualifications and information on recent informal learning I would probably have to take the day off to find it all! I would then end up with a mountain of paper, a lever arch file, box file and a range of spreadsheets and word versions of my CV. I’m sure this rings true with many practitioners! To be able to put all this information in one place is the perfect solution, the fact that it is personal and portable is even better. Many businesses including my own have ways of collecting and storing CPD information which range from the organisation doing it, to the ownership being that of the individual. Whilst many of these systems are most probably just as effective as the PLP in many instances they form part of a system that collects and records information for HR and L&D purposes and remain in the ownership of the organisation. This make portability to a new workplace impossible and results in re-entering and logging information on a new system or in some cases losing it all together and having to start again.

The PLP can be accessed from any device such as a laptop, tablet or smartphone and works well on all. Is it easy to use? Well if you can use Facebook, Twitter or Instagram then you’ll easily be able to navigate your way around the PLP, the principles are similar. Uploading to it is as easy as putting a picture on Facebook and much more worthwhile. If you aren’t a social networking enthusiast you will still find the functionality simple and the buttons easy to understand, you can’t break it so it’s just a matter of ‘having a go’ and seeing what you can create. With 66% of adults in the UK using a smartphone as their main method of using the internet you can now have your personal learning journey on hand to update, share and use at any time. (Communications Market Report, Ofcom 2015)

The PLP also has links in it to useful resources such as performance management, Learning Wales, Hwb and a wealth of useful research. It easily toggles between Welsh and English also allowing the storing of information bilingually.

As an employer I can see a whole host of benefits, the fact that the practitioner owns it will encourage them to add a range of evidence and for those studying it can work well as a reflective journal. It can be shared in its entirety or just parts can be shared with existing or prospective employers, quality assurers from awarding organisations and peers. For WBL practitioners that work in the school sector delivering vocational opportunities on behalf of WBL providers, being able to share parts of their PLP with the schools will provide reassurance and confidence in the delivery staff that we deploy there.

Since its launch in September 2016 there have been 7000 hits on the platform and there are already 5,900 users. With a potential 75,000+ registrants from April 2017 this passport could change the way in which we record and share our personal learning journeys in Wales.

In summary the PLP has the potential to revolutionise recruitment in the WBL sector and I am looking forward to a future where potential employees share with us video of them teaching, demonstrating and inspiring their learners. How much easier and potentially more reliable recruitment could become not only for the employer but for the job applicant, enabling them to demonstrate how they have studied, reflected and progressed alongside real hard evidence.

So go and have a look and get creating your own personal learning journey that you can take anywhere, potentially a passport to career success.....

‘Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today’
(Malcolm X)

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