Plan your professional development

As communications professionals, our work must always be of the highest standard, supporting ministers to deliver the government’s priorities. We can help you plan your professional development by using our curriculum and a Personal Development Plan (PDP).

On this page:


Download your Personal Development Plan (PDP) template

Use the following template to:

  • plan your learning
  • record your learning activities and the related Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points

Download the PDP template (Word, 1 page, 35KB)

To help you visualise how to record your learning, see:

Learning and development and CPD points

A wide variety of activities count towards your CPD points. This will help you meet the minimum GCS requirement of 30 CPD points per year.

The majority of your learning and development (L&D) should come from experiences you get on the job or through doing practical work. The rest comes from learning from relationships with other people (like a coach or mentor) and from formal training.

You might find it helpful to use a rough 70/20/10 guide to check the variety of learning in your PDP:

  • 70% on the job learning
  • 20% learning from relationships
  • 10% learning from formal training such as our courses, live or on-demand

About the curriculum

The GCS Curriculum is a collection of guidance, content and recommended reading. The curriculum sets the standards for learning for GCS members by grade, learning level and discipline.

From 1st April 2021 the GCS approach to L&D is changing, based on 6 principles:

  1. we want to make it quicker and easier to access L&D resources
  2. we want to better accommodate shifts in working patterns
  3. we want you to invest more time in L&D
  4. we want your current investment in L&D to be better recognised
  5. we want to make it easier for you to record your L&D
  6. we want to change the culture around L&D

Guidance for managers

Managers are responsible for making sure that PDPs of their team members are reviewed at each quarterly performance meeting.

We want to change the culture around L&D. We are mandating that everyone in the GCS who works in a Whitehall department has an up-to-date PDP in place by 30 April 2021. As a manager, you will need to have agreed to a PDP with each of your team members – as well as your own.

Guidance for individuals

You are responsible for keeping your PDP updated and bringing it to your quarterly performance review with your line manager.

You have a right to expect that your line manager provides you with the time and space to achieve it.

Remember – just completing the learning isn’t enough. You need to be able to demonstrate that you’ve learnt a new skill, better understand a key concept, or are able to put that new knowledge to practical use in another way. This should be recorded on your PDP and discussed with your line manager.