Director Professional Development

Director Professional Development (DPD) helps to track your individual professional development throughout the year. Accrue DPD units by participating in an extensive range of professional development activities.


What is DPD?

Director Professional Development (DPD) requires members of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) to plan and track their professional development activities.

It supports our members in developing and maintaining the director skills and capabilities identified in the Company Directors Corporate Governance Framework.™

Who is it for?

Members (MAICD), graduates (GAICD) and fellows (FAICD) are required to accrue and maintain 60 DPD units over a rolling three-year cycle. DPD also applies to international membership for the above categories. DPD does not have a bearing on membership grades or renewal for affiliates, retired members and life fellows.

If you joined us prior to 2013, you have until your renewal date in 2016 to accrue at least 60 DPD units in that time-frame (i.e. we recommend you aim for at least 20 units per year). If you joined after 2013, your foundation period will end three years after joining.

We will ask you to confirm that you have fulfilled our mandatory DPD requirements upon renewal of membership from 2016 onwards.

How does it work?

You can accrue DPD units for both formal and informal learning that you undertake to improve your skills and capabilities, and in some cases, where you contribute to the learning of others.

DPD units can be accrued by engaging in professional development activities through:

  • The Australian Institute of Company Directors

  • Other organisations of appropriate professional standing

  • Informal learning such as briefings, practical application and reflection, and professional reading (not just formal courses and events)

Recording your DPD

Professional development can be challenging, but recording your DPD units online is easy.

Recording DPD units online

To record your DPD units online, simply go to add and view DPD units (login required, desktop only) and select ‘add activity’.

  • Most of the professional development activities you undertake with AICD (e.g. courses, events and webinars) will automatically display on this page.

  • Other activities including those undertaken with other organisations can quickly and easily be logged using the ‘add activity’ button.

For additional information, see How to log your DPD units

Maintaining your own record

Should you wish to maintain your own records, we recommend recording the name and type of the activity, which quadrant it relates to on the Company Directors Corporate Governance Framework and how many DPD units it is worth.

For activities completed with other organisations, you should also retain relevant documentation (e.g. certificate of completion) that may be required as part of the audit process (see below).

Awarding DPD units

For a full list of our activities and their DPD units, refer to our DPD unit values table

You can use the unit values table as a guide to how many units you can accrue from undertaking activities through other organisations. for a third party activity to be eligible, it must have a directorship or governance focus.

Audit process

DPD is a self-reporting system, subject to an audit process.

From February 2016, a small number of members will be selected each year to determine whether, at the time of auditing, the relevant member fulfilled their mandatory DPD requirement. for more information, see DPD Audits.

Getting the most out of DPD

You can accrue DPD units from professional development activities that span different learning levels, sectors and learning formats.

There are many ways you can develop your director skills and accrue Director Professional Development (DPD) units, including our extensive professional development offerings, which cover different learning levels, sectors and a range of formats, as well as informal learning and activities with other providers.

The Company Directors Corporate Governance Framework™ sets out the areas of director, board and governance practice recognised for DPD. It has four quadrants, each divided into a number of topics representing the skill, knowledge and practice of directorship and governance.

Every-day ways to accrue DPD units

Here are some of the ways that members can accrue DPD units without any additional cost:

  1. Professional reading

    Reading the Company Director magazine, The Boardroom Report, publications available in our bookstore, professional journals and/or learning content from other appropriate organisations, as well as engaging in discussion within our member-only LinkedIn group can accrue a combined total of 10 units each year.
  2. Webinars and webinar recordings We also offer complimentary webinars and webinar recordings on a range of topics during the year. The majority of our webinars enable you to accrue 5 DPD units. Please see our upcoming webinar schedule.
  3. Essential Director Update The complimentary Essential Director Update or the International Essential Director Update (either face to face or online) accrues 10 DPD units.
  4. Director Self-assessment Tool Using the Director Self-assessment Tool to further assist with your professional development planning accrues 5 DPD units per completed assessment (total 10 DPD units per year).
  5. International and regional members

    There are a range of activities available for our regional and international members without having to attend courses or events in Australian capital cities, including webinars, professional reading and activities through external providers.

    High-value DPD activities

    Examples of AICD activities which accrue a high number of DPD units include the Company Directors Course (40 units, plus 10 units when passed and certified) and International Company Directors Course (40 units, plus 10 units when passed and certified), Mastering the Boardroom (30 units, plus 10 units when passed and certified).

    DPD unit values table

    For a full list of our activities and their DPD units, refer to our DPD unit values table. You can also use the unit values table as a guide to how many units you can accrue from undertaking activities through other organisations.

Learning through practical experience

Our members are eligible to accrue DPD units for practical experience and reflection.

We recognise your commitment and contribution to excellence

DPD is defined as activities “undertaken to improve directors’ skills and capabilities”. We recognise that you may develop your skills and capabilities through seeking guidance on governance and directorship issues and by reflecting on your practical experience that contributes to organisational governance and performance.

At the AICD, we are committed to encouraging excellence in governance and performance. Our members are eligible to accrue DPD units for practical experience and reflection.

We recognise the learning experiences you have when you:

  • Seek guidance from others; and

  • Reflect on your practical experiences

We believe this demonstrates your commitment and application to contributing to greater effectiveness in your role, in governance and your organisation's performance.

The learning and insights you gain or develop through practical experience or reflection is recognised for DPD where it:

  • Is aligned with the Company Directors Corporate Governance Framework™

  • Contributes to new thinking

  • Is actionable and influences your practice and behaviours

  • Creates opportunities for you to grow and develop your capability

  • Involves active seeking, sense-making and sharing of the knowledge that exists in the director community

DPD categories

Learning through practical experience and reflection is recognised under two categories:

  1. Expanding your thinking (guidance sought on governance and directorship)

  2. Reflecting on valuable experiences (undertaking a reflective post-scenario review).

Expanding Your Thinking

Are you working towards a directorship goal? Do you need to deliver on a new project or initiative(s)?

We will recognise your activities that demonstrate a thoughtful process of sourcing input, knowledge and guidance from others with expertise in similar areas.

Whilst attending board meetings for directorships (paid or unpaid) does not qualify as professional development, we believe the process of reaching out to others offers learning opportunities and influences the quality of your decision-making and performance.

To this end, we support and appreciate our members who:

  • Explore a range of alternative ideas and solutions in practicing their roles

  • Seek to develop capabilities as appropriate to their unique context

  • Become aware of potential cognitive dissonance

  • Remain open to evidence or information that may disconfirm an established position

  • Seek to create mutual or reciprocal value in peer-to-peer exchanges

  • Strive to enhance organisational performance

What guidance is eligible?

We will recognise those who seek to enhance their performance by asking more questions, considering new thinking, broadening options and/or working through more diverse feedback before choosing a course of action.

DPD units can be accrued for guidance sought when there is clear intent to strive for excellence in governance and performance and a willingness to pursue continuous improvement or to challenge accepted wisdom that may be out-of-date.

This activity will accrue 5 DPD units. Please keep a record in case you are selected in our random audit.

Further information - see our template for seeking guidance and expanding your thinking.

Reflecting on valuable experiences

The process of reflection supports deeper learning as individuals consider underlying values, assumptions, areas of potential bias, concerns and identify possible areas for improvement.

The option to accrue DPD units for writing a reflective review is similar to accruing units for publishing articles or delivering presentations on significant experiences in directorship or governance.

However, if you are unable to publish or present your experience (e.g. for confidentiality concerns or lack of opportunity), there is still great value in the process of recording the impact of your activities and lessons learned.

Such reflections may contribute to your professional development and that of the wider director community (if shared with peers or within trusted networks without breaching privacy or confidentiality). Please contact our Communications team if you would like to share your reflections with us.

A completed reflective review will accrue 10 DPD units. Please keep a record in case you are selected in our random audit.

Further information - see our template for writing a reflective review on your valuable experiences.

Do you have further questions about DPD?

We have compiled a comprehensive list of questions and answers to help guide you with your Director Professional Development.

Recording your DPD