I was discussing education with a colleague a few days ago. We could both recall teachers from our school days who were stuck in the past, no doubt trotting out the same tired lessons, year after year. It was good to reminisce, but I’d like to think that the examples we remembered are relics of a bygone age.
Now, with the widespread use of technology in schools and colleges and the expectation that tutors should continue their professional development throughout their careers, there’s no excuse for education not to be up-to-date. Those of us who are responsible for training provision have a duty-of-care to those who study with us. To equip people to deal with the world today, we must live, operate and fully engage with that world.
Don’t stop the world
As specialists in procurement and supply, SR Supply Chain Consultants is more than aware of this responsibility. Indeed, there are times when we’d quite like the world to slow down because we are constantly having to adapt and update our in-house course materials and the way in which we support delegates studying for CIPS professional qualifications.
Although the pace of change can, at times, be challenging, an alternative viewpoint is that it’s beneficial. Because we know we need to be constantly on our toes to deliver appropriate training, we don’t, like those school teachers we remembered, ever have the opportunity to fall asleep on the job. Which means that those who study with us are always given the right support.
The level of engagement and vigilance required on our part would surprise many. It shouldn’t. We are, after all, responding to wider events and there’s no shortage of change in the world. Often though, we’re not simply responding. We’re actively working to stay ahead of the curve, trying to anticipate and prepare for the next things that will become challenges for procurement specialists. We need to be ready for legislative amendments, for professional bodies changing their criteria, for emerging trends in employment, for the changing nature of apprenticeships and for changes in technology … the list goes on.
An appetite for learning
Last month, we exhibited at Procurex National, a new event focusing on innovation, collaboration and education in procurement. Feedback from those who attended was very positive, and the 2020 event is already in the diary. Procurex National was more than an exhibition. It was a platform for learning with certified training. It introduced thought leaders and policymakers. It showcased products and celebrated those individuals and teams who have achieved remarkable results. The spirit of the event was open, friendly and often fun.
Many attendees were from the public sector, an arena where spending will probably always be a concern, but at the expo, we found a huge resource of committed and highly professional individuals working in procurement. What’s more, their desire to keep developing their skills, knowledge and understanding did them credit. That’s why I believe those of us who offer training must be dedicated to delivering excellence, even when excellence is something that is always evolving.
Thinking back to those school teachers carrying their piles of ancient textbooks, in clouds of chalk dust, I wonder what they’d make of learning today – where the most critical subjects aren’t ancient languages but rather stakeholder engagement and ethical sourcing in a multicultural world, and when innovation and education are things that go hand in hand.