CIPS president’s six steps to go from graduate to procurement professional

Gurjit Degun
1 July 2014

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1 July 2014 | Gurjit Degun

Putting learning into practice and showing you can pass your knowledge onto others are two of the attributes necessary to progress from being a CIPS graduate to a procurement professional, says CIPS president Craig Lardner. 

Speaking at the Institute’s annual graduation ceremony at Symphony Hall in Birmingham on Saturday (28 June), Lardner explained the six differences between being qualified in procurement and supply and being considered a ‘professional’.

“Today is the end of [of your studies for the graduate diploma], tomorrow is the beginning of being professional,” he told attendees. Lardner’s tips were:

• Professional happens over time. “You can be qualified because you have your diploma, but this does not make you professional,” said Lardner. “Being qualified happens in a single moment in time; being professional happens over time.”

• Apply the tools and techniques you have learned. “You’ve studied the books, you’ve learned about the tools and techniques in procurement,” he added. “But this does not prove that you will use them well, or use them at the right time. Where knowledge and application combine, you have business outcomes.”

• Show that you can teach in business. “Your qualification gives you the opportunity to teach, your professionalism gives you the motivation and the reason to teach,” said Lardner. “MCIPS is the standard but you must keep up-to-date with the practices and developments in your profession to stay current.”

• Think broader than the specialism of procurement. “When you’re qualified it means you know about a speciality,” he said. “Professional will be when you think about the whole business, not just procurement.”

• Give something back. “When you qualify, you have mostly been taking things in. When you’re professional, you must give things out,” said Lardner. “You deliver back to the business, the managers, the industry, and even the economy of your own country.”

• A professional becomes a role model. “When you are qualified you have decided for yourself what is good business behaviour, good conduct, ethical and what are the acceptable business practices that are legally and morally right,” Lardner added. “When you’re professional, it’s when you actually behave like that.”

Guest speaker Melinda Johnson, group procurement and property director at the Department for Transport, told graduates about how her career has developed and how CIPS has helped her along the way.

She said “CIPS is like a family, you are a member for life. You grow up with it, learning from it, it can deliver your dreams or certainly be the wind beneath your wings. And then when you can, you should give back to it.”

Also at the event, Mitie Technical Facilities Management was presented with CIPS Corporate Certification – Standard and the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs received CIPS Corporate Certification - Advanced Standard – Gold.

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