Throughout the previous chapters we have looked at a range of possible development opportunities. Examples have been provided of people who have sought and achieved personal development within their work environment, combining learning with improving the service which they offer. This can occur within a single organisation, or in several, as in the case of the independent consultant. What about professional development that does not directly result from the individual's day-to-day work? How and where does that take place? It certainly does not come about just by chance, you have to seek it out and work at it.
First you will need to assess what stage you have already reached. How far along the path of personal development have you ventured, and where should you go from here? You could go back to the first chapter and revisit the two exercises there, adding new activities and areas of responsibility, and analysing your responses to them. That would certainly be a useful starting point in terms of identifying what further opportunities there may be in your current job, or in a new role either with your current employing organisation or elsewhere.
A useful new tool which could help you to assess and review your skills capability, and to decide on a possible future career direction, is the skills toolkit developed by TFPL specifically for those working in the fields of Information or Knowledge Management. Its aim is to help individuals compare their own skills against certain identified benchmarks. These come in the form of various skills profiles which relate to different roles in terms of scope and seniority.
The toolkit allows individuals to identify gaps in their existing skills make-up and to seek ways of filling these, or of strengthening and updating skills which they already have in place. It provides a means of assessing the skills needed for any current role, and of considering those which an individual might want to acquire for future career moves. The toolkit also provides some useful links to development resources which could help in the process. TFPL's Skills Toolkit was launched in April 2003 following extensive pilot testing, in both the public and private sectors. The pilot tests identified a number of potential uses by individuals and management: for example it could help individuals to measure their own skills against the mix of skills and levels required by current and future roles; enable managers to assess the skills requirement of various roles or tasks,