The Qualification


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The 70:20:10 model developed by Morgan McCall and his colleagues during the 1980s divides learning and development in the workplace into three categories, that 70% of learning comes through practical experiences, 20% through social learning and 10% through formal learning. Although formal learning, such as qualifications, training or e-learning, has the lowest percentage it is essential to build solid foundations for the rest of the learning and development. Consider learning to drive a car for example – although it is by experience of driving on the road that a person learns primarily, learning and understanding the rules of the highway reinforces what is taught through practical experience.

One element of the formal learning that a trainee undertakes whilst a part of the Specialists of Tomorrow Scheme is studying a qualification that will support the development of expertise in a specific area. I will be studying the CIPS (Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply) qualifications and will be working my way up to reach the full status of MCIPS. The qualification is recognised worldwide as the standard for procurement professionals.

Before the MCIPS status can be awarded a number of levels must be completed. There are 5 modules at each level, some of which are mandatory and others which are optional, enabling an individual to tailor the qualification to be able to specialise in a specific field of procurement. Each module will be fully assessed on an examination basis. I am no stranger to exams as I have sat plenty during my time in education, but balancing work with study and revision means that mastering the skill of time management is more important than ever before and is essential in order to get the best experience out of the scheme!

The qualification can be studied online, or by attending a study centre and a series of lectures for each module as I do. Although this presents the need to travel far on a regular basis, one of the main benefits of having face-to-face tuition for me is that there is an experienced lecturer that guides us through the module and can immediately answer any questions that I may have. Another advantage is that I am able to take part in class discussions and share ideas with other procurement professionals that come from a wide range of companies and organisations in different sectors. The CIPS modules mostly take the perspective of private sector procurement and therefore it is extremely beneficial to be able to compare the public and private sector perspective with the rest of the class.

Similar to learning to drive a car, the formal learning through CIPS and practical learning experiences in the workplace support each other. On one hand the knowledge that I develop whilst studying the qualification allows me to understand the procurement theories and arrangements in more detail. On the other hand, being able to refer to and discuss workplace experiences is an essential part of answering the exam questions, and also makes it much easier to remember the information for the exam!

I’m currently on a short break following my first exam, but I’m looking forward to continuing the learning by starting the second module next week!

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