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Spring Online School provides free CPD – and generates valuable market research insights for future programmes

25 August 2021

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The second in our series of virtual CPD programmes created during the pandemic featured 25 sessions from academics across the University working together to create free professional development opportunities.

Following the huge success of our Virtual Summer School during the first lockdown, we were very keen to run a similar programme in Spring 2021, particularly as many of our customers and stakeholders were still experiencing serious challenges due to the ongoing pandemic.

We worked closely with academics and external CPD tutors to devise a two-week programme of live and pre-recorded webinars, Q&As and free content and other content.

We included carefully chosen sessions that had an onward journey – as tasters for planned or existing CPD activity, or topics that enabled us to test the market for a potential programme or course.

This approach allowed us to provide free CPD content during a challenging time as well as promote upcoming professional development opportunities.

  • 25 sessions
  • 10 Academic Schools
  • 30 academics and professional services staff

The response from our colleagues was extraordinary – people donated their time and resources, enabling us to curate a varied programme featuring content from across all three Colleges, as well as sessions from CPD trainers who usually deliver our suite of short professional development courses.

The spring online school was extremely well-received by the public; we welcomed almost 700 participants, with many people attending multiple sessions across the programme. We were also thrilled by engagement with recordings of sessions that we uploaded to YouTube. Our videos were viewed over 1,000 times during the period, and we received feedback that having these available was very useful, particularly for those working in key frontline roles during the pandemic.

We’re delighted with the response to our second virtual CPD programme. It was important for us to provide this suite of free webinars on pertinent topics in order to support businesses at such a challenging time. As we move towards a more ‘normal’ outlook for businesses, it was also important to use this programme as a marker for the type of training businesses are looking for. This initiative is a great example of how the University is committed to being accessible and responsive to the needs of our community.
Clare Sinclair Head of Continuing Professional Development Unit

94% of participants rated the delivery of our sessions from excellent – good, with top rated sessions including Community Oncology, ‘Please listen, I will do this only once’ (Palliative Care), Humour at Work and Effective Collaboration (both from Cardiff Business School). Participants ranged from individuals to members of businesses and organisations, dialling in from Wales, the UK and across the world. Organisations included charities, public sector bodies, government, marketing agencies, and healthboards. This year, we also collected data around job roles, which will help us to refine our strategy to ensure we work to develop appropriate CPD opportunities for our audience.

Feedback from attendees includes:

A true exemplar of an academic who cares about the suffering of humanity; Alison has contributed significantly, through her envied knowledge in the field of Language, to a better understanding of a baffling health complication of human's brain degeneration. The current chaotic world needs more of caring academics like her.
Viewer, Feeding Tube Withdrawal webinar

I have attended a number of sessions yesterday and today (6 in total). They all have the following in common:* Interesting, relevant and insightful topics and content* Excellent presenters who really “add value” to each topic with their knowledge of highly topical subjects* Excellent response to questions and/or comments* Well presented and ‘chaired’.
Attendee, Spring Online School

Thank you so much for all you are doing. I am really enjoying these talks, and having the recordings afterwards is like GOLD!!!
Attendee, Spring Online School

We are currently planning our free 2022 virtual CPD programme - news available early next year!

If you have any questions or queries, or if you would like to discuss a CPD programme for your organisation, please feel free to contact our friendly team:

Continuing Professional Development Unit

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