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The GSA Strategic Sourcing Professional Development Webinar unveiled the GSA’s approach to personal development in a virtual environment, hosted by GSA CEO Kerry Hallard and GSA’s Associate Director of Professional Development Chris Halward.

Kerry Hallard,

CEO of the GSA

Chris Halward,

Associate Director of Professional Development at the GSA

Event Summary

The GSA recently launched its 2020 manifesto, naming it Rethinking Sourcing: Restarting UK in light of Covid-19. The Strategic Sourcing industry and the delivery of technology and business services was phenomenal in its response to the pandemic. Looking further into the manifesto, it is clear that the importance of strategic sourcing will continue to escalate. Kerry explained that it is of upmost importance, now more than ever, to implement a Strategic Sourcing function, creating a team focused on transcending the business through operations, finance, technology and procurement, and how these areas bring value to the business through partnering with external service providers. Strategic sourcing is front and centre in helping companies drive their recoveries after Covid-19, delivering innovations and transformations, whilst delving into contracting models and operating models – in a different way than ever before. The GSA has created 8 different workstreams within its manifesto, all essential in helping companies in their restart strategies. The talent workstream is focused on both attracting new talent into the industry, as well as upskilling the talent and covers subjects ranging from wellness in the workplace through to Inclusion and Diversity. GSA’s ongoing work in professional development is critical to the talent workstream.

The GSA has been providing qualifications for the sourcing profession for 15 years, working with over 200 organisations in this time, across both buyers and service providers. The portfolio of qualifications offered is centred around the Global Strategic Sourcing Standard; 160 pages of best practice which is now freely available as a result of Covid-19. This is the only unified view of best practice that both buyers and service providers can be accredited to – all of the GSA qualifications are aligned to the standard. The Global Strategic Sourcing Standard is underpinned by transparency principles as well as GSA’s Competencies and Capabilities framework to help you understand and map out the skills required by yourself and other members of the team.

The GSA announced its “most flexible approach to professional development ever”, making its previously successful professional development programme completely flexible and available to all levels in the completely virtual environment. The programme is equally available to those wanting to join one webinar to develop their learning and those who want to go the whole way and gain a qualification.

Chris began by outlining that strategic sourcing success depends upon an integration of four fundamental elements; strategic decisions to make the organisation work (make & buy decision), choosing suppliers or setting up shared service centres, working out how to move current operations into the new solution and ensuring this model works across the arrangement. Joining all these elements together ensures success of the arrangement and, in turn, adds value to the business. The concept of the GSA programmes is ensuring the students have an appreciation of all the elements involved in success, even if they are only involved in one element as part of their role. Understanding the whole sourcing process is fundamental to success, in the GSA’s view.

The programme is centred around a work-based learning format, which means students aren’t anchored to a classroom, therefore creating the opportunity to bring learning to the workplace, allowing participants to identify challenges they face at work. This format makes learning much more relevant and powerful allowing a return on investment directly. The programme is essentially training programmes and three qualifications in one; beginning with webinars, starting on the 14th July, and running for six weeks. These webinars can be taken in isolation or as a suite and will cover strategy & leadership, contracting, governance and risk, transition transformation and exit, performance management and commercial relationships. Alongside the webinars, those pursuing qualifications will need to write and submit papers for assessment. Basically put, the more papers submitted the higher the level of the qualification. To achieve the highest qualification, the GSA Diploma in Strategic Sourcing and to qualify to use the post nom DipGSA, the student would need to submit a total of 4 papers. This qualification is generally completed with a 12-month period.

Chris identified a number of challenges associated with the programme as well as many rewards. Challenges include identifying problems to address within the workplace, the ability to conduct wide research, writing in a persuasive manner, planning and organising the project and managing time and priorities of work, home and study. Rewards include, but aren’t limited to, developing a high level of expertise, realising your capabilities, deep diving into a subject, gaining insight into the complex challenges associated with the industry and developing pride in the work you have put together, creating a sense of achievement.

Help and support is available throughout the programme, whether its through the GSA knowledge centre, attending GSA events or access to the GSA global community, as well as access to GSA tutors – giving you access to a wealth of knowledge to assist you through the course.

Each webinar is priced at £195+VAT. The Certificate is priced at £1,295+VAT, the Advanced Certificate at £1,595+VAT and the Diploma at £1,895+VAT, these costs include all 8 webinars.

The GSA also offers bespoke designed workshops, the costs of which range from £1,800+VAT and £2,400+VAT.

Ascensos’ William Carson, DipGSA, commented on his experience of the Diploma:  ‘there is a real need to understand beyond simply thinking things are best practice or imagining you have taken the best approach to actually having that tested and validated…although we are talking about value back into the industry there is also personal value in terms of career advancement as well, which I have certainly benefitted from’.

Questions from the floor

How does this qualification compare to other accreditations such as CIPS and IACCM?

Chris explained that the major difference is the work-based learning approach. CIPS is still very much exam based, so you will need to sit various exams. CIPS in particular has a focus on content which is based around the procurement domain. The GSA programme is broader as it looks at the end-to-end lifecycle of strategic sourcing and is more flexible, and allowing you to focus your learning around the topics relevant to you.

If you are interested in having further conversations or need further details, please drop an email to admin@gsa-uk.co.uk and please have a look at our manifesto and the workstreams we are running in the future.

Watch the Webinar


Kerry Hallard, CEO of the GSA

Kerry Hallard is the President of the Global Sourcing Association and CEO of the Global Sourcing Association UK. Kerry previously held the titles of CEO of the National Outsourcing Association and Director of the European Outsourcing Association and recently led the organisations’ highly successful global rebrand. 

Kerry’s focus is on growing the reach and the positive reputation of the sourcing industry globally, through the development and dissemination of standards and qualifications. Kerry recently established the GSA’s Standard Advisory Group, enlisting representation from 20 countries around the world, as well as senior buyers, service providers and accreditation partners.

Kerry’s career spans over 20 years in strategic consultancy and corporate communications in the high-tech and business-to-business arena, representing companies to include: ICL; Lexmark; IBM; KPN Qwest; Avaya; Crystal Decisions and Cincom.

Kerry received an MBA from Kingston Business School in 2004.

Prior to commencing her career in communications, Kerry worked in Eagle Star Insurance Services IT department. Kerry graduated from the University of the West of England with a BA Hons in Modern Languages and Information Systems.

Chris Halward, GSA's Associate Director of Professional Development

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