IBD starts the design and delivery of a CPD strategy

I started at the IBD in January this year and already, I am really impressed with the passion, expert knowledge, skills and attributes that brewers and distillers have. Surviving in a competitive world whilst still remaining collegiate is unfortunately quite rare these days.  My first Section dinner in the Midlands set the scene with delicious food and drink, convivial hospitality and a quiz on brewing that soon sorted the wheat from the chaff.  A second trip to the Irish section AGM, annual dinner and Heineken brewery tour, really helped me appreciate the detailed biology, physics and chemistry knowledge that is needed to run a global operation. A third trip to BeerX in Liverpool really helped me learn about the issues that smaller breweries face and the additional skills of HR, finance, tax, project management, etc you need to run a business.

Kathryn Thomson, Head of Education and Professional Development, IBD

It’s also been great to find that I have brewing and distilling colleagues in the IBD office,  who really understand the industry, and are producing great Continuing Professional Development (CPD) content.  It’s rare to work in a professional institution where so many of the staff are current or former practitioners. I’ve been proofreading our new Essentials course on Dry Hopping and our short course on Gin Production,  and the level of scientific knowledge that Technical Development Manager Stuart Howe has gone into , is very impressive.  I am an ex teacher with an environmental science degree and used to run academic conferences for geographers and scientists, so I have been reading articles in the Journal of The Institute of Brewing to get me up to speed on the latest research.

All of this access to information about CPD will be really useful in designing  and delivering a CPD  strategy which is part of our transition to Chartered status . When we become the Chartered Institute of Brewers and Distillers, CPD will be a compulsory requirement for all Members except Students and Associates.  I’ve been working in professional institutions and higher education for the last 20 years including University of Cambridge and the Science Council, and I’ve seen how a Royal Charter and a CPD scheme can really boost the reputation and standard of a profession. Becoming Chartered will  help us stand out and put us a par with other Chartered professions, as outlined on the Privy Council website.

CPD programmes have been in place for many decades and the Professional Associations Research Network, the Chartered Institute for Personnel Development and the CPD Certification Service have all published a lot of research if you are interested on best practice in CPD.  The nature of CPD is that it is for the individual to reflect on what CPD they need at the current stage of their career, and update their skills, knowledge and attributes accordingly. There are standard categories of CPD that go across most professional institutions, that can be remembered by the T-WAVES acronym: Training, Work experience, Academic study, Volunteering, Events and Self -study. The IBD already offers lots of these CPD categories e.g. by taking our  exams, attending our courses, listening to podcasts, participating in masterclasses, reading journals, attending conferences, mentoring colleagues and taking part in Section activities.

Over the next few months, I am really keen to talk to IBD members (and future members!), and discuss these five key questions:

  • What do you understand by CPD?
  • What CPD do you do already?
  • How do your record your CPD?
  • How do you know if CPD is successful?
  • What further CPD do you need from the IBD?  

Please do call or email me if you have any initial thoughts, as customer insight should be at the heart of everything we do. I look forward to meeting you all soon.


Kathryn Thomson


Head of Education and Professional Development at the IBD

IBD at the The International Brewing & Cider Awards 2024

07 May 2024

Thirteen brewers and cidermakers from four different continents across the globe have been awarded the highest recognition for their outstanding beers and ciders at the world’s most historic international beer and cider competition – The International Brewing & Cider Awards.