Published: 7 Aug 2019

Three of the CQI’s latest members to regrade as Fellows talk to Alicia Dimas about the reasons behind their applications, the process and what advice they would like to give to future applicants

Why was it important to you to become a CQI Fellow?

Tony Hayward, CQP FCQI, Managing Consultant at Tony Hayward Consulting: I have been involved in quality since 1991, and I am delighted to have my hard work and dedication to quality, outside and beyond the normal work requirements, recognised by the highest grade of membership bestowed upon an individual by the CQI. Fellowship of the CQI is a prestigious peer acclaimed personal achievement, made all that more special for me by the fact that the CQI is celebrating its centenary this year.

Helen Muirhead, CQP FCQI, Senior Vice President for Respiratory Medicines at GMPharma: This was important to me because it underpins all the work I have done throughout my career. It also gives my work more credibility, since such a prestigious Institute would recognise me worthy of the designation as a Fellow.

Paul Vaughan, CQP FCQI, Lead Quality Manager in Projects at Siemens Mobility Limited: After 32 years of working in 20 quality-related roles across seven industries, I was keen to celebrate and recognise this achievement through CQI Fellow status. However, the most important aspect for me is the opportunity to further influence others, especially top management.

How did you find the application process?

Tony Hayward: Given the volume of work involved, it can appear a little daunting and time consuming, but I strictly adhered to the Assessment Criteria to produce a meaningful and structured electronic portfolio of evidence. Remember, that your portfolio will need to clearly demonstrate your commitment to the field of quality outside of the world of work. You need to make sure that your CPD (Continuing Professional Development) is fully up to date and compliant. Given that I have maintained an active CPD Record since 2014 (and submit this voluntarily to the CQI annually), I was able to demonstrate this particular requirement quite easily.

Helen Muirhead: When you first look at it, it looks a little daunting. But then I had a conversation with James Mayers, Member Journey Team Leader at the CQI, and that clarified things for me. As you would expect, to become a Fellow of the Institute requires some work and it covers your portfolio over a number of years. Having the list of criteria of what they wanted – and what they didn’t want – helped me to understand the process.

Paul Vaughan: I would like to thank the Membership Journey team for their excellent support in guiding me through my application. I found Julian Jack, Membership Manager at the CQI, and his team to be very approachable and a great help.

I also found completing the regrade application to be a good reminder of just how far I have grown: from the 17-year-old apprentice who was in awe of people talking to managers, to where I am now. Equally, this exercise was really useful in identifying some areas or opportunities for further development, for instance service on professional committees.

Tony Hayward, CQP FCQI, is Managing Consultant at Tony Hayward Consulting

What advice would you give other members that are thinking about regrading to Fellow?

Tony Hayward: Go for it. You have nothing to lose and absolutely everything to gain! If you have any questions, then speak with the CQI’s Member Journey Team who are always happy to help, and I am sure they will be able to put you in touch with someone who has successfully completed the process to advise you. If you do apply, it is important that you demonstrate through documentary evidence that you meet at least three of the five Assessment Criteria that form part of the formal Application Process to become a Chartered Fellow.

Helen Muirhead: If you have got to the stage in your career where you have met all the criteria for Fellowship, and you have knowledge that you want to share and help other quality professionals along, you should definitely go for it. Just make sure that it’s the appropriate time for you personally, and at a time in your career where you have accomplished significant and important achievements in quality.

Paul Vaughan: I apologise for this, but the current series of DIY ‘Do It!’ TV adverts come to mind. If you are an active CQI Member, with sufficient level of knowledge and experience, then my advice to you is to: download the application and complete it. This will give you an opportunity to reflect on your quality career to date and, even if you are not awarded Fellow status, I am sure that the interview panel will feed back in terms of any development opportunities or gaps that need to be filled for you to reapply.

Helen Muirhead, CQP FCQI, is Senior Vice President for Respiratory Medicines at GMPharma

What impact do you think being a Fellow of the CQI will have in your career?

Tony Hayward: Without any shadow of a doubt it will ‘rubber stamp’, confirm and highlight my passion for quality assurance, since I began my career journey at the age of 21. I also hope that Fellowship will open new doors and business opportunities as a respected quality professional in my own right.

Helen Muirhead: It adds that extra credibility to your career. If an institute such as the CQI has recognised you as a Fellow, and you have been through the process to become a Fellow, it gives you credibility as a professional and as an individual.

Paul Vaughan: First, it truly has sunk in now what a great honour it is to be accepted into the CQI Fellow community. To view our quality influencers as colleague CQI Fellows is incredible, particularly when I think back to my apprentice days. As I said earlier, I like to think that my work acquaintances already know who and what I am about in respect to quality, but I would also like to think that having FCQI as post-nominal letters will put me in a favourable position to further my career development.

Paul Vaughan, CQP FCQI, is a Lead Quality Manager in Projects at Siemens Mobility Limited

What are your professional plans for the near future?

Tony Hayward: I will actively continue supporting CQI’s Greater Peterborough and Cambridge Branch, in my capacity as Branch Secretary. I am in the process of signing up for the CQI’s newly launched Mentoring Platform. I will also be looking to support the Next Generation Networks (NGN), as I feel that it is important to have the next generation of quality professionals progressing through the ranks.

Helen Muirhead: I want to give back – there is a point later in your career when you have gained experience that could be valuable to other people that are working in the disciplines that you are working in. A wise person learns from their mistakes, but a really wise person learns from other people’s mistakes!

Paul Vaughan: I am always keen to take on more responsibility and accountability in quality management. As a CQI Fellow I would also like to give back, which is something that I have already been doing, for instance by writing articles for Quality World and features for Knowledge online, and mentoring up-and-coming quality professionals. I am already mentoring a number of individuals within my organisation and, as of May this year, I have been mentoring two mentees via the CQI Mentorship Scheme – the scheme has been a fantastic addition to the quality profession’s development. I have also tasked myself to get more actively involved on professional panels.