HR profession adopts Continuing Professional Development (CPD) based on HR Competencies and Standards


HR profession adopts Continuing Professional Development (CPD) based on HR Competencies and Standards
by Naren Vassan

In 2015 SABPP launched its new Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Policy, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) and templates at the SABPP Annual General Meeting held at Wanderers Club in Johannesburg under the leadership of Mike Honnet, Dr Penny Abbott and the SABPP Board. This was the birth of HR Practitioners feeling and being part of the journey driving learning in whatever format (verifiable and unverifiable) to grow their talent. The parameters were based on the HR Competency Model and National HR Standards. This means that SABPP has a purposeful strategy in ensuring that HR professionals develop their skills in the 14 HR competencies and 13 HR standards.

The goals of CPD are to facilitate a culture of lifelong learning amongst members of the HR Profession, create learning opportunities and to sustain and grow professionalism and the body of knowledge of the HR profession.

The reason for Continuing Professional Development:
The HR landscape has evolved and changed to such a degree that historic theory and practices have become a bare minimum to address and manage the challenges faced by HR Practitioners in today’s time and demands from their clients (employee/employers). Laws have been updated in line with union and employee demands. Various behavioural codes have been adopted by the industry to comply and implement the requirements of the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) and Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE). The BBBEE system is about transforming a nation for the better. It is about empowering different groups of individuals that were previously disadvantaged and creating equal opportunities for all.

Knowledge and skills base have to be upgraded, which means HR practitioners have to read, do formal learning, attend seminars, conferences, share knowledge by coaching and mentoring employees and interns. You are faced with endless challenges at work, home, social networks and industry at large and they look at you for guidance.

The new CPD Policy is based on the following principles:

  • An understanding among practitioners of the importance of continued professional development is critical for the promotion of HR professionalism in South Africa.
  • There is an ethical obligation on HR Practitioners to regularly enhance their professional competence through CPD, as stated in the SABPP code of ethics. Failure to do so will result in professional sanction.
  • CPD should complement and update, but not replace, knowledge and skills based on initial education in HR practices.
  • CPD should eventually be part of the professional accreditation process and career development.
  • CPD seeks to encourage on-going learning and skill development, in the interests of keeping HR relevant as a profession. While it does not exclude formal education, it also includes other learning processes including, for example, job-based learning, skill development programmes, seminars, conventions and professional body functions, reading, researching and writing journal and other articles, lecturing and speaking engagements, mentoring and being mentored.
  • SABPP recognises, in principle, the standing of the designation of members who are registered also with other SAQA recognised professional bodies, provided that SABPP requirements are met.
  • HR professional development must be based on actual practice in the real world of work.

Global and SA Professional Body standards for CPD:
The purpose of CPD for global HR practitioners is that they must grow their skills base in whatever format, in order to deliver best services to their clients, colleagues and the community at large. The method adopted must be suitable to the industry and relevant (fit-for-purpose). It must be portable by means of skills transfer and recognised by similar industry requirements. CPD can have the advantage of giving individuals a personal challenge and a sense of professional pride for being involved with new learning driving professional competence and credibility. CPD systems are available world-wide and driven by HR professional bodies such as CIPD and SABPP.  In addition, we can also learn from the CPD systems used by other professional bodies locally as well as internationally.

Accredited Providers with SABPP:
The following learning providers are accredited CPD providers with SABPP. This means that SABPP members will get CPD points for attending learning programmes offered by these providers.  Learning providers operating in the HR field are welcome to liaise with the SABPP office on in order to explore CPD accreditation with SABPP.


Building on the existing knowledge and skills base empowers you in providing best practices in line with industry demands.  CPD provides a structured platform for ensuring that HR professionals develop themselves to the highest standard of HR professionalism in accordance with the national HR standards and competencies. So join the HR Professionals from across Africa and South Africa at this year’s conference at the Vodacom World.  You will receive 4 CPD points for attending the conference.  To conclude with the words from one SABPP Professional member: “Grow your own timber, it will help you today and tomorrow.”


Naren Vassan is Head of Learning and Quality Assurance at SABPP.  For more information about the 4th Annual National HR Standards & Research in Practices on 27-28 July 2016, contact  or visit


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