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Personal development planning (PDPs)

Where do I want to be? - Setting your goals

  • Career planning is a must for everybody working in public health.

    You are far more likely to stick to your plan and reach your goals if you have support.

  • Goal-setting is important for thinking about your ideal future, and for motivating yourself to turn your vision into reality.
  • Your goals should be clear, realistic, desirable and achievable.
  • A first step is to look at yourself – your strengths, your preferences, your values, your preferred learning styles.

For many free resources on management, leadership and career training, click here. 

What is a PDP?

  • an individual plan to suit you
  • a systematic way of identifying and addressing your educational and professional development needs

A PDP is a tool that can identify areas for further development and encourage lifelong learning. A PDP can identify goals for the forthcoming year and methods for achieving these goals. PDPs have been advocated by the royal colleges as a basis for continuing professional development.

What makes a good PDP?

  • Time and thought
  • It identifies a learning need
  • It sets out the method of meeting that learning need
  • It identifies the resources/support required
  • It takes timing into account
  • It is achievable
  • It is a product of reflection

Tips for a useful PDP

  • It has to be personal to you

    The act of writing your goals down vastly increases your chance of success.

  • It has to be a working document, something you continuously update
  • It has to be flexible (used as a guide only)
  • It has to be supported by evidence
  • It has to be reviewed regularly


Good personal development planning will help you achieve your potential as it will help you to identify skills gaps and improvement areas/learning needs.

There are a number of tools and frameworks to help you self-assess your public health skills and knowledge.

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