Alumna Verity Piggott talks education

Shortly after graduating with an IMPA Certified Buyer diploma and top of her 2018 class, Verity Piggott, Purchaser at AW Ship Management, shares her feedback on the IMPA education programme

Warm congratulations, Verity! Why did you decide to join the course in the first place?

Thank you. I decided to join this course because, as advertised, the level one course has been specifically designed to suit junior procurement officers. Therefore, as a new entrant, I believed this course would be an ideal platform for me to begin my career in marine procurement, alongside undertaking my purchasing role. I joined this course with the expectation that the knowledge and skills learnt would enhance my understanding of the marine procurement industry and subsequently improve my work performance. Since entering the shipping industry, I have been made aware of the prestigious reputation the IMPA organisation holds within the marine industry on an international scale, which consequently enticed me to choose this particular course, optimistic that this credible qualification would provide the opportunity to improve my career prospects.

How have you found the course content and structure?

I found the course content to be very diverse, covering topical, highly relevant and essential procurement knowledge necessary to strive in the industry. The majority of the course content was relevant to my daily work activities, enabling me to apply the skills, strategies and theories learnt into real life situations, as well as using my own work experiences to validate and support my arguments. I found the overall course structure being split into four different modules clear and easy to follow. Each module followed a similar structure, with assessments taking various forms from group coursework projects, case studies, reports, assignments to contribution in the discussion forums. As each module was alike in structure, I was always aware of the workload and dedication required throughout, knowing the final assignment of each module would be the most challenging. The targets in place were always realistic and achievable, with the tutors continuously providing comprehensive and beneficial feedback on how to improve and reach the next grade level.

How did you feel about the online aspect of the course? Was your learning curve supported enough by the teachers and did the discussion forum assisted you?

I really enjoyed the entirely online format of the course, as I found it extremely accessible with the online education portal permitting 24-hour student/teacher interaction and access to all course materials and resources. This allowed the course to be flexible around my day-today work. Albeit the course was entirely online based, the tutors constantly supported my learning as whenever I had any queries and needed advice, the tutors were always more than happy to assist, responding promptly and comprehensively. I enjoyed the teacher’s methods of encouraging forum discussions and student interaction as I was able to greatly enhance my learning experience through these engagements. The discussion forum allowed us, students, to express our differing interpretations, which subsequently broadened our understanding, as well as gaining clarification from the tutors when needed on a common platform for all students to observe.

Was it entirely feasibly to commit to the programme while working full time?

Yes, and this was due to the course structure and online convenience. The tutors allowed sufficient time for us students to complete the weekly assignments, so the course never interfered with work commitments. Although the course was full on, with weekly assignments, together with 2 or 3 forum questions per week, it must be emphasised that these forum questions were always applicable to the assignment topic, so greatly assisted and enhanced our understanding of the assignment.

Do you feel that the course provided good value and that it will enhance your career prospects?

Yes, I believe the course provided good value, as the knowledge and credible qualification gained are extremely beneficial for any procurement professional looking to increase their career prospects. In September 2018, I was promoted from Assistant Purchaser to Purchaser at AW, and the course definitely played a part in this promotion. I am confident this course will prove useful in my daily work life, as well as further assisting my career progression. The analytical skills, strategies, theories and knowledge learnt can all be applied in my daily work activities to help improve my decision-making actions. Furthermore, I believe gaining this diploma from such a highly respected organisation as IMPA will help me gain the recognition required to further progress my profession.

Would you recommend the course to a friend?

I would certainly recommend this course to a friend who is interested in/or working within the marine industry, either as a marine purchaser or supply professional.

You are now looking forward to the advanced course, which you said you are eager to join. We are too! What would you like to learn this time and what are your expectations?

Yes, I am very much looking forward to commencing the advanced course! After looking through the course content outline online, I am most looking forward to building on my negotiation skills. I am also interested in learning about the tender process, as working for a ship management company, this process is a crucial practice that needs to be performed diligently when bidding for new ships. Based on the great success of the first course, I have high expectations for the advanced course. I can imagine the course to be more challenging and demanding, yet just as informative, with the tutors and fellow students being just as attentive.