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The Profession Map: Why continual professional development has never been so important

The Profession Map: Why continual professional development has never been so important

  • Profession Map
  • Author: Mike Turner
    Head of Profession

    The world in which we work is changing so rapidly that continuous professional development has never been so important. The recent surge in debate about the power of artificial intelligence (AI) is one indicator of the rise in influence of digital technologies.

    If you believe recently published data by Precedence Research that the investment in AI is set to double every two years until 2030, we are still on the starting blocks of this marathon of digital technological change. But will this come at too big a price to the environment? 

    Technology’s strain on resources

    As bigger and more ubiquitous data centres drain the world’s energy resources, we face the realisation that the threshold of a 1.5C increase in global temperatures could be breached as soon as 2027. For all disciplines, addressing the imperatives in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the environmental, social and governance (ESG) framework is a growing urgency. This will need fresh innovative action and thorough knowledge of how to balance risk and opportunity. Professionals that embrace this combination of challenges will lead the way in the next 10 years.

    Preparing the profession for challenges 

    It is the CQI’s mission to champion quality management for the benefit of society. For over 100 years it has made huge strides in doing this, a big step of which was to publish its Competency Framework in 2014. This simple summary of ‘what good looks like’ has attracted global interest and a recent survey of members found that 59% of CQI members and 75% of IRCA members have used it since its inception. 

    However, nine years is a long time in the world of the twenty-first century. The pressure of new challenges should be reason enough to revisit the original framework, but business leaders are also struggling to acquire the skills they need. The CQI’s most recent Workforce Insight research survey found that 67% of the organisations that responded were struggling to recruit sufficiently competent people to quality and audit roles. In addition, a third of respondents were hungry for more professional knowledge and skills. With this in mind, it was becoming evident that the existing Competency Framework was not meeting the needs of the profession. What was needed was a new version, at sufficient detail to assist in planning personal and team competence development.

    The development of the Profession Map

    In summer 2021, the CQI decided to embark on a project to develop a more practical tool for competence development. The project followed a rigours process comprising four stages of development and test (see diagram).

    The Profession Map

    The literature review focused on characteristics of the description of competence and relevant sources of information on the competences of a quality professional. The outcomes of this stage were then used to carry out a comparative analysis with several credible benchmarks. However, while these sources were of importance, the real engine room of development was extensive consultation with the profession. 

    The CQI boasts around 19,000 members with a unique global perspective on what professionals must do well, across the wide range of quality management-based roles. In total, almost 450 separate professionals actively contributed to the design and test process, with some having more than one involvement. The initial list of competences was developed by the combination of a survey, in-depth interviews, focus groups and workshops. The results of this were then tested for omissions by comparison to sources of quality management excellence, such as the ISO 9000 series of standards and excellence models. This resulting design was then subjected to four test stages to confirm the necessary and sufficiency of the content, consistency within the lists of competences, and ease of comprehension to an international audience.

    The result of this robust process is that the CQI has a new version of the Competency Framework that has been turned into what is being termed the Profession Map. While it has been the result of a rigorous nine-month research process, it is important to acknowledge that it cannot be considered a ‘100%’ solution. It is something to build on and develop over time – not leaving it another nine years before the next review. In doing so, the combined experience and expertise of the membership will make it even more powerful. And in so doing, each and every participant can be justifiably proud to have been part of the global conversation of research and development that will ensure that the quality profession remains fit for today and for the future.

    The Profession Map

    The Profession Map is here

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