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Zak Bickerstaffe, a Senior QA Engineer at Harry Peers Steelwork Ltd in Bolton, began his quality management training with rove in January 2020.  Fast forward to April 2022 and he was awarded the CQI and IRCA Professional Certificate in Quality Management – one of only 16 learners in the world to achieve this.


We caught up with Zak to ask him about how his studies have helped him in his role, his thoughts on distance learning and what advice he’d give to others considering quality management courses.


“As a Senior QA Engineer a key part of my role is to liaise with clients regarding the status of their projects, understanding their requirements, and ensuring that as a company we provide their product to the required criteria. It also involves aspects of due diligence such as; reviewing documentation for incoming supplier deliveries and company processes, performing audits, reviewing Non Conformances, and looking at ways to improve systems.


“There is no such thing as a typical day for me – no two days are the same and that is what keeps it interesting. Each day there is something new, and being involved in the development and improvement of systems and processes feels rewarding as I am involved in changes to benefit the organisation.”


Zak decided to enrol onto the CQI and IRCA Professional Certificate to further enhance his knowledge and understanding of the various quality tools and the options available for improvement at both a system and business level.


Consisting of six individual courses, ranging from quality strategy and planning, supply chain assurance to risk management, these course are aimed at experienced practitioners looking to advance to a strategic level and aspiring to become a Chartered Quality Professional.


Since starting the course, two and a half years ago, Zak thinks the courses have provided him with a greater appreciation of the available tools and techniques for improvement activities and initiatives and that he has developed the skills to further apply these within his organisation.


Keen to find out more about his experience of studying with rove, we asked him what he most enjoyed about the course, and what, if anything he found a challenge.


“I enjoyed researching the different topics and how at times it required actual application to answer a question, that in turn benefitted myself in developing the knowledge, but also my organisation in looking to further improve certain areas.


“The most challenging aspect was fitting the study time around my day-to-day responsibilities within my role. However, through continuing with the differing modules, my ability to manage time also improved.”


Despite, initially finding time management a challenge, Zak found the flexibility that distance learning provided allowed him not only to successfully complete his course, but also to improve his time management skills.


Final words from Zak for anyone considering studying quality management courses:


“My advice would be to embrace it and enjoy it, but also to take your time to study and learn a topic as this is what provides the most reward.”


If you’re thinking about studying any CQI and IRCA Quality Management courses, you can find out more here.