What the UK can learn from Ireland when it comes to procurement skills development

The UK can learn a lesson from Ireland in procurement skills development, according to recruitment firm, 1st Executive.

An analysis by a procurement and supply chain consultancy found that procurement talent pipelines and skills development initiatives in Ireland were superior to those found in the UK.

Currently, the procurement arena suffers from significant shortages aggravated, in part, by a lack of new talent entering the industry. The recruitment firm urged British employers to mimic their counterparts across the Irish Sea and look to develop more robust links between firms and education providers.

For example, University College Cork has partnered with The Irish Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management (IIPMM) to provide a progression route from a degree in procurement into UCC’s postgraduate studies. UCC’s postgraduate diploma or Masters in supply chain management, along with an annual research programme, aims to provide a way of combining learning with hands-on experience of working in the procurement and supply chain fields and looks to increase the number of graduates entering the industry.

“The procurement arena in the UK has suffered from shortages for a long time now, as anyone working within the field will be able to attest. A major contributing factor is the lack of effective talent pipelines into the industry and, currently, the UK is trailing behind the skills development efforts of firms in Ireland,”James Tucker, Managing Director of 1st Executive, said. “The programme at UCC is just one example of employers and institutions going out of their way to think long term and consider where skills will actually come from in the future.”

According to Tucker, research suggests that the number of graduates seeking a career in procurement is falling, so we need to think long and hard about ways to attract talent into the industry.

“Offering programmes that include mentoring and work experience opportunities highlights to students that they can get meaningful experience while studying, which is more likely to interest wider numbers of students. From the employers perspective it’s win-win. You’re getting someone who’s already ‘done it’ and know that they have the right skills and, crucially, cultural fit, to work in the field.”

Offering these types of programmes at education providers isn’t just an altruistic exercise, he added, it’s also one that can remove some of the hiring headaches that many organisations are likely to have experienced.

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2016 to 2018.