Developing knowledge and confidence | CQI | IRCA Skip to main content
Joanna Bak

Developing knowledge and confidence

Progress indicator

Joanna Bak
Published: 17 Apr 2024

As part of a series of articles on different quality qualifications, Joanna Bak, a quality assurance assistant at Ixion, part of Shaw Trust, tells her experience of completing the Quality Practitioner Apprenticeship with Six Pillars Consulting.

How did you first hear about quality as a job?

I used to be a project manager, but my role was made redundant. I got a quality assurance assistant position for the continuation of the project. I had seen jobs advertised that had ‘quality’ in the title, but I associated quality with production, rather than services.

I have now been in this role for nearly nine years and I know now that there is much more to quality than I had first thought!

Why did you decide to undertake further learning?

I work in quite a narrow, niche sector in my role, so I really wanted to find out more about the wider field of quality. For example, I would often hear of the different ISO standards, but I didn’t really know what they were. I knew that there was much more to quality than just what I was doing in my role, so I wanted to find out what and why.

Why did you decide to choose this qualification?

This course offered an opportunity to really learn the theory behind the practices so I could widen my quality knowledge.

I studied for the course alongside my day job with the work done mainly in my own time. There was plenty of support on offer from Mark and Terri Eydman at Six Pillars Consulting. I would have preferred to meet the other people on the course more in person – but online learning does mean you meet people from all over the country.

"I learned so much more from being in those meetings with the consultants than I could ever have learned just from the internet."

Joanna Bak, Quality Assurance Assistant at Ixion, part of Shaw Trust.

What objectives and outcomes did you hope to achieve, and has it met your expectations? What were the key highlights of what you learned?

I wanted to learn more about the theory behind quality tools and practises; I heard so many names, but was not too sure what it all meant. One of the best experiences I had during the course was taking part in ISO re-accreditation meetings; I learned so much more from being in those meetings with the consultants than I could ever have learned just from the internet.

If I hadn’t started this apprenticeship, I would still be in the same place in terms of my knowledge because it is very easy just to stay focused on your own field and not learn about other areas.

How has this qualification impacted you and your work?

I may still be in the same place in terms of my role but doing the course has definitely developed my confidence. I have the theory behind me now, so I know what I am doing and that my knowledge is right! I am much more confident now in saying what I think in our team meetings. Before, I thought ‘I won’t open my mouth in case I say something stupid’ but now I have the confidence to speak up. I think that is the biggest achievement from the course.

What advice would you give to others who are considering doing this qualification?

Don’t think too much, just go for it! Be prepared for lots of writing, but we had great support from Mark and Terri  [Eydman] throughout the course. If anyone is thinking about it, just go for it and see what happens – you could end up with a really great qualification.

Read more in this series

Jayne Nixon PCQI, Quality Support Manager at Unipart Rail, UK, outlines her experience of undertaking the Level 4 Quality Practitioner Apprenticeship course, studying with Whyy? Change.

Find the training that’s right for you

We have a range of quality and auditing courses available in a variety of topics and levels.Take the CQI training quiz and find the training that’s right for you.

Quality Careers Hub

Exclusively for members, the CQI’s Quality Careers Hub is designed for every career stage. So whether you’re just starting out, ready to move on or up, or looking to build on your experience, there are many ways to progress.

Quality World

Get the latest news, interviews and features on quality in our industry leading magazine.