The importance of lifelong learning for procurement professionals

Written by: CIPS Procurement & Supply Jobs
Published on: 11 Jun 2019

How do you feel about learning? Do you know all there is to know about your profession or do you think there’s always room for something new? 

Someone watching an online lesson and taking notes

Lifelong learning is all about continuing to learn and develop your skills and knowledge throughout your career. But it’s more than just completing courses and ticking off competencies. It’s a mindset. People who believe that there’s always something new to learn tend to be the ones who remain current,  develop and progress in their careers. So if you want to make the most of your potential, lifelong learning is for you.

Why is lifelong learning important for procurement professionals?

For any professional, whether they are working in procurement and supply or not, continuing to learn throughout their career has many benefits. Here are some of our top reasons why it’s something you should consider:

1. Career progression

Continuing to learn and develop your skills will help you achieve the promotions and higher salaries you’re looking for. It will also prepare you for those roles by equipping you with the knowledge and skills needed to perform at a higher level. 

2. Knowledge and skills update

Refresh and update your knowledge and skills so that you can remain at the forefront of a profession which is always evolving and changing. In doing this, you’ll be making sure you’re a valuable resource to your business. 

3. Explore new areas and specialisms
Training for a qualification could give you the opportunity to learn more about an area that you've not been able to explore in your day-to-day job or former study. Through adopting the lifelong learning mindset, you could develop new skills to help in your current role or help you specialise in a particular field.

4. Demonstrating your ability to learn
As well as demonstrating your openness and ability to learn new things, undertaking training or studying for a qualification shows your dedication and passion for your career. 

5. Stand out from the crowd
Recent training and up-to-date qualifications can help you to stand out from the crowd. So whether you’re working towards a promotion or looking to change jobs, it’s something that can really make decision-makers take notice. 

6. Expand your network
When you embark on training or studying for a qualification, you become part of a community of people who are doing the same thing. Through this community, you can expand on your existing professional network and even make new friends.

How is technology increasing the need for procurement professionals to retrain?

In our previous blog post, we explored the impact that technological developments such as machine learning and big data is having for procurement and supply professionals. 

Technological developments are nothing new. As we’ve seen in the past, the people who adapt and learn how to make the most of emerging technologies are the ones who thrive. Through lifelong learning, you can make sure your skills remain relevant and the demand for your talent remains high.

What courses are available for procurement professionals wishing to retrain?

The good news is that there are a lot of options out there for you if you want to retrain and learn new skills or just brush up on existing ones. 

With members in over 150 countries and over 190 approved study centres around the world, CIPS is a good place to start when researching what courses are available. 

You can find qualifications to suit different career stages or levels of experience. For some, you don’t need any previous industry experience or qualifications such as the CIPS Level 2 Certificate and CIPS Level 3 Advanced Certificate in Procurement and Supply Operations. You can find out more about the different levels on offer on the CIPS website.

If you’re not ready for a formal qualification or you just want to focus on gaining or improving a specific skill, you might want to look at the CIPS short skills training courses instead. These courses cover a wide range of topics such as effective negotiation and contract management, and are delivered in various locations throughout the world.

For its members, CIPS also offer over 250 hours of e-learning content, which you can study at your own pace, at a time and a place which suits you. The Ethical Procurement and Supply e-learning course is currently free for all members until October 2019.

How can a change in job help you to develop your skills and training?

Completing qualifications and training can unlock routes into new roles. 90% of people who have studied with CIPS say their qualifications have helped them to progress in their careers. But did you know that changing jobs can be a way to develop skills too?

Looking through the vacancies on job sites such as CIPS Procurement & Supply Jobs can be a good way to benchmark your existing skills and knowledge and then figure out where the gaps are. If all of the vacancies are asking for a skill or qualification that you don’t have, you’ll be able to identify that as an area where you can improve. 

When you move into a new role, you’ll encounter new situations and challenges which might also identify areas where you could improve. You might also find that your new employer is keen to help you progress.

To find out more about the training and qualifications offered by CIPS, have a look at the Learn sections of their website. If you’re a member, you’ll benefit from discounts on their courses too so it’s definitely worth checking out. If you’d like to explore new job opportunities, have a look at the vacancies on CIPS Procurement & Supply Jobs to find something that will take you where you want to go.

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