Procurement: Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQs

The world’s largest professional body serving procurement and supply who are a not for profit organisation.  They are an awarding body recognised by regulatory authorities who have set the Global Standard in procurement and supply management. CIPS have the largest membership of procurement and supply memberships in the world.  They have a global community of over 200,000 procurement and supply professionals and members in over 150 countries. Their aim and purpose is to support businesses to improve, deliver results and raise standards.

Get more details on CIPS.

Activities and processes required to acquire good and services

Chartered Professional Status is an opportunity to demonstrate that you practice procurement and supply to a globally recognised, current, ethical and professional standard.

The requirements to be awarded CIPS Chartered Status are:

  • Your MCIPS or FCIPS membership is current
  • You have an up to date CPD record and can confirm that you have completed 30 hours CPD in the last 12 months, it can be recorded in either your CIPS CPD account or other formats.
  • You hold a current CIPS Ethical Procurement and Supply Certificate, you can access the E-Learning and test for this from the MyCPD tab in your MyCIPS

Once evidencing the above requirements; to download your e-certificate go to your “MyCIPS” area and click on “My Certificates”.  Here you are able to view and print the e-certificate.  Please note the e-certificate will appear 24 hours after completion of the Ethics Test and providing all requirements above are in place.

The Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) qualification consists of 5 levels, Level 2 Certificate in Procurement and Supply which is aimed at those just starting their career in procurement and supply, through to Level 6 Professional Diploma in Procurement and Supply aimed at senior procurement professionals and heads of department. 

SRSCC provide a wide range of CIPS training courses.

An Apprenticeship is a training system which combines practical training, linked to a full-time employed job role. The duration must be at least 12 months in term and offers the opportunity to ‘earn while you learn’ and enable practitioners to gain a qualification within that regulated profession. In the UK this is funded via the Levy and governed by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).

To dispel any myths that they are only for school leavers, Apprenticeships in the England are available for 16-60-year olds. Not only are they for the support and development of a new generation, they are also available for upskilling existing employees. As long as there is a requirement to learn new Skills, Behaviour and Knowledge, the Apprenticeship route is an option.

Take a look at our available procurement apprenticeships.

This Apprenticeship Standard was developed by an employer-led Trailblazer Group which has meant that employers have specify identified what is required from an apprentice in their specific role. This Apprenticeship standard outline the skills, knowledge and behaviours (KSBs) required to carry out a certain job role in procurement and supply at this level.


Get more information on the Commercial Procurement and Supply Apprenticeship.

The global standard for procurement and supply CIPS (2018) identifies a competency framework for the procurement profession; this was developed through consultation with 3000 practitioners and academics from across the world representing diverse sectors and skill sets inherent with the profession O’Brien (2018).  The benefits of working with the standard is to enhance organisational and personal performance.

The framework consists of five levels of competency’ Operational, Managerial, Tactical, Professional and Advanced Professional along with typical job roles and 4 pillars (people development, infrastructure, process and performance) and 11 themes.

This Apprenticeship Standard is currently under development by an employer-led Trailblazer Group which has meant that employers are specifically identifying what is required from an apprentice in their specific role. This Apprenticeship standard outline the skills, knowledge and behaviours (KSBs) required to carry out a certain job role at this level.

We anticipate this standard being ready for delivery in Spring 2021.

If you would like further information about the content of this standard please contact us and ask to be included in our update newsletters.


Get more details for the Strategic Procurement and Supply Professional Apprenticeship.

Procurement and Supply Assistant Apprenticeship Standard – ST0810

This Apprenticeship Standard was developed by an employer-led Trailblazer Group which has meant that employers have specify identified what is required from an apprentice in their specific role. This Apprenticeship standard outline the skills, knowledge and behaviours (KSBs) required to carry out a certain job role at this level.

Get a complete overview for the Procurement and Supply Assistant Apprenticeship.

Member of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (MCIPS) signals to other professionals and employers your procurement proficiency, giving you a significant career advantage and enabling you to earn more per annum than non-MCIPS professionals.  As a full member of CIPS (MCIPS) you will have achieved an internationally recognised award which represents the global standard within the profession for a procurement and supply professional.

CIPS do require you to have a current annual membership to be classed as MCIPS and use the post-nominals MCIPS.

All current members and their status can be found on the CIPS professional register.

Depending on the route chosen on average it 36 months to complete CIPS Level 4, 5 and 6 Professional Qualification.  If completing via the Apprenticeship Route individuals would need to undertake Leve 4 Commercial Procurement and Supply Apprenticeship Standard which takes approximately 20 months plus the Level 6 Strategic Procurement and Supply Professional Standard that take approximately 24-26 months so in total between 44-46 months.

Do not make your decision based on duration, explore the options as there are many advantages of choosing the apprenticeship route.

To find out more contact us at

As a full member of CIPS (MCIPS) you will have achieved an internationally recognised award which represents the global standard within the profession for a procurement and supply professional.

To achieve MCIPS an individual must evidence 3 years procurement and supply experience plus evidence of achievement of the following CIPS qualifications:

  • CIPS Level 4 Diploma in Procurement and Supply
  • CIPS Level 5 Advanced Diploma in Procurement and Supply
  • CIPS Level 6 Professional Diploma in Procurement and Supply

To discover more about how to achieve these qualifications contact us at or 01772 282 555

The End Point Assessment is the process that takes place after an apprentice have completed their learning and is used to assess whether a learner has met all the knowledge, skills and behaviour element requirements of the apprenticeship standard.  The EPA must satisfy a business need and usually involves two elements, for instance, portfolio of evidence, examinations, project reports, professional discussions, presentations, and interviews.

CIPS membership is required for examination registration and offers a range of benefits including:

Professional Resources

Access a wealth of expertise, knowledge, news, analysis, and resources, including guidelines, white papers, tools and templates.

Ethics E-learning

Consolidate your understanding and prove your commitment to ethical behaviour with our online interactive tutorial. FREE TO CIPS MEMBERS.

Stay Connected

Network online and offline with CIPS global community of over 200,000 professionals to share ideas, news and best practice.

Continual Support

Access tools to support you development, including our CPD tracker and career pathway self-assessment tool.

Save Money

Access discounts on training, events and business books through CIPS membership

CIPS membership can be purchased directly from the CIPS website

For learners, the EPA showcases their newly acquired knowledge, skills and behaviours to their organisations.  EPA raises their profile within their business and accelerates promotion and career development opportunities.

For the organisation, EPA’s that relate to a genuine business need, demonstrate a return on their investment in the apprentices’ development.  For instance, EPA often generates a need for a project that otherwise would not be undertaken.  Many apprentices implement their projects within their organisations and often increase efficiencies, reduce risk and/or reduce cost.  Additionally, employers use the EPA to assist succession planning and career development and opportunities for individuals.

The Apprenticeship Levy is a plan, organised by the UK government and is a tax on employers who have an annual pay bill of more than £3 million. This was introduced to increase the number of Apprenticeships offered in the UK.

The levy funding is only available for UK businesses (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have different Apprenticeship authorities, please refer to your authority) to draw down to fund Apprenticeships. The funding available is dependent on the level of the individual organisations pay bill which is set at a rate of 0.5% of their total pay bill.

The training must be provided by an approved provider who is on the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers and the Apprenticeship must be an approved standard.

Ineligible costs are not covered by the levy fund and are therefore additional costs for learners and employers to consider, these include:

  • Third Party Membership fees
  • Examination re-sit fees
  • Travel expenses

If you do not pay into the levy as you are under the pay bill threshold, you can still receive funding support for Apprenticeships. Non-levy paying employers can share the cost of the Apprenticeship training and assessing, with the government through co-investment. The SME employer will need to pay 10% of the cost of the Apprenticeship and the government will pay the remaining 90% (up to the funding band maximum). Non-levied employers make payments direct to providers and will later move to the digital system.

The training must be delivered by an approved provider and the Apprenticeship must be an approved standard.

Employers can access this support through the National Apprenticeship Service

Take a look at our latest offering of Supply Chain Apprenticeship Standards.

Level 3 Advanced Certificate – Often, it is those who have been working in procurement for some months and would like to obtain a qualification that start at this level. This qualification aims to give individuals some insight into best practices, learn new skills and technique to improve their own efficiency and effectiveness, but also to familiarise themselves with procurement terminology. Typical job titles for those at this level are:

  • Assistant Buyer
  • Administrator
  • Assistant Contract Officer
  • Contract Analyst
  • Stock/ Inventory controller/ planner


Get more details on the CIPS Level 3.

Level 4 Diploma in Procurement and Supply– aimed at individuals who are looking to progress into procurement management, and those with previous qualifications and experience. This is the highest level you can start the CIPS qualifications at without obtaining exemptions.Typical job titles of those who start at this level are:

  • Buyer
  • Procurement/purchasing executive
  • Procurement Specialist
  • Contract officer
  • Supply chain/inventory/logistics analyst
  • Supply chain/inventory/logistics planner


Get more information for the CIPS Level 4 Course.

Level 5 Advanced Diploma in Procurement and Supply– aimed at experienced buyers and managers who wish to pursue a strategic management/leadership role in procurement. Typical job titles at this level:

  • Senior/chief buyer
  • Group/senior procurement/purchasing executive
  • Category manager
  • Contract manager
  • Logistics manager
  • Supply chain manager


Get further course details and study options relating to the CIPS Level 5.

Level 6 Professional Diploma in Procurement and supply– This qualification is aimed at individuals who have obtained the CIPS Level 5 Advanced Diploma qualification and wish to develop their career into Procurement and Supply Leadership. On completion of the CIPS Level 6 Professional Diploma in Procurement and Supply students can then apply for CIPS member’s status (MCIPS). Typical jobs roles at this level:

  • Procurement Lead/Director
  • Senior Category Manager/Lead
  • Supply Chain Director/Lead
  • Heads of Procurement
  • Strategic Procurement Managers
  • Senior Buyers


Get a complete overview of the CIPS Level 6 Course.

Yes, but first you must complete CIPS Levels 4, 5 and 6 and have 3 years relevant work experience.

We have CIPS exam centres in Preston and Manchester, or alternatively you can sit at one of the CIPS regional exam centres. You can search for CIPS exam centres at


No, we offer rolling enrolment so you can start at anytime. Each CIPS unit has been designed as a stand-alone unit so they do not need to be sat in order. We offer blended and flexible learning solutions so contact us with your requirements and we will work with you to establish training timetable that suits you.


Choosing to complete all units means that you will get a degree level qualification that has become the industry standard for purchasing professionals. The knowledge and experience that you will gain will enable you to add value to your organisation and improve your career prospects. Stimulating knowledge and awareness increases ideas and opportunities!


No! All sectors and all organisations can benefit from investing in CIPS training. It is not just about saving money, but about adding value, increasing competitiveness and improving service.

Whatever your corporate goals, you are sure to find that CIPS training will help in achieving them.


No, although until you have completed the whole level you will not get a certificate.

You can re-sit at the next available exam series. Our tutors will be available to offer full support.

Yes! depending on your prior learning or experience. You can apply for exemptions for up to three units per level.

Full information is available on the CIPS website. The final decision is made by CIPS.


There is no natural pause, as soon as they finish one module a new one is issued and started. All Apprentices should be actively learning throughout their ‘practical period’ until they get to the EPA Gateway. At this point, they start their project.

COVID-19 FAQs by learners

A furloughed Apprentice can take part in volunteer work or training, as long as it does not provide services to or generate revenue for, or on behalf of an organisation. Apprentices are required to complete online training courses whilst they are furloughed and will be paid at least the NLW/NMW for the time spent training, even if this is more than the 80% of their wage that will be subsidised. The Company has agreed to make this payment to you if you are affected and we will contact you to provide an update if you are in this pool of Apprentices.
As long as you are not contributing to profit/turnover and have access to learning/learning platform. 
As long as they have access to their E-portfolio, their study guides and our Virtual Classroom learners will not be limited. (All learners should have received an invite to the Virtual Classroom – if you haven’t please contact us).

If you need more help contact the SR team now

Latest news


Emma Jackson

Course Mentor

Emma joined SRSCC in 2019 on a freelance basis taking on a teaching and learning consultancy role. She has 20 years of experience in education as a qualified teacher, working in adult learning, secondary and primary school settings in the UK as well as abroad, namely Japan, Hungary, and France. 

More recently Emma has been teaching yoga, resilience, and mindfulness in primary schools to promote the physical and mental well-being of both pupils and staff.

Being multi-lingual and having a zeal for communication, cultural exchange and life-long learning Emma jumped at the opportunity to join the company as a Course Mentor. Building a good rapport with her learners, supporting them to overcome any challenges on their apprentice journey and facilitating them to fulfil their potential is her motivation.

Cumbrian born and bred in the Lake District, Emma enjoys the outdoors. When not relaxing in tree pose, she is most at home trail running in the hills with her husband and dog. Having clocked up 4 marathons to date, the application of her long-distance running mindset of perseverance, determination, discipline and patience is key to supporting her learners in their studies.

SRSCC Staff Images Ashlee Scribbins

Ashlee Scribbins

Office Administrator

Ashlee has joined the SRSCC team as an Office Administrator, and with a level 2 and 3 in Business Administration, she fits right in!

Ashlee has a wide range of experience from working as a Legal Secretary for the Royal Air Force to managing a team. Ashlee is eager to use her customer service and business administration skills for her new role at SRSCC.

SRSCC Staff Images Declan Hemingway

Declan Hemingway

Sales and Business Development Assistant

Declan recently graduated University studying BSc Business and Management with Marketing achieving a 2:1 and was looking for a role in Business Development to put his knowledge and education to the test.

He has a strong desire to grow the SRSCC brand and customer base. Working alongside our Business Development and Relationship Manager; he looks to strengthen both our Commercial and Apprenticeship learner portfolio by liaising with potential and existing learners through building customer relationships and understanding their requirements.