It all started with an after conference drink with Vince Desmond, several other CQI staff and a few speakers. It just seemed strange that there was nothing out there to support or promote quality for young people.
As a founder of the Next Generation Network, I am immensely proud of the progress we have made to date. At last count we have reached over 600 members, a figure that continues to rise year on year. There have been many highlights to me over the last 4 years and here are just a few.
Recording our online event ‘What about a Career in Quality?’ in November 2013 was a real milestone for the NGN. It was so exciting to prepare and go along to the recording studio, but it was great to know we were reaching out in new ways. As online event we knew we were allowing better access to our target market, young people often finder harder to get the support to attend conferences and therefore it was great to provide live content, but also create a material for the future.
In 2014 I was given the opportunity to be a competition judge at the International Convention for Student Quality Circles. This event was an amazing experience to see young people practising key principles of quality, so passionate and engaged. This was truly inspirational and continues to drive me.
In 2015 we launched our blog and newsletter ‘Connexions’. We were really excited about the opportunity to start providing content to our members.
Resource is always a challenge for the NGN being a volunteer group and this is one area we would love to keep running regularly. If you are an NGN member or want to support us, one quick and simple opportunity is to become a blog writer, we would love to publish your work.
At the last CQI event in 2016, Ruth and I co-presented about the quality professional of the future. We planned our session to be interactive and it truly seemed like people engaged with us. At the stall we had at the conference, it was very clear that we had the support of the membership and the CQI; we were doing the right things. It was great to hear about quality apprenticeships at the conference; however it still felt like there was a lack of presence from the younger generation.
At the end of 2016, we went back to our online format with the recording of our podcast, ‘Right First Time’. This was an experiment for us, as none of us knew what to expect. We were all dialling in and so none of us were in the same room, as such we were unsure about how the dynamic of the group would work. However, I can honestly say this is some of the most fun I have ever had. It was great to explore quality in a different way.
As we move into this year, it struck me that it is all too easy for quality professionals to engage with and promote the profession to ourselves. As such I designed a mission for 2017 to ‘preach to the unconverted’. Preaching to the unconverted it all about getting out there to the people that don’t know about quality. In this mission I have shared quality knowledge and benefits to engineers, entrepreneurs and plan to speak to students this year. It is important for life of the profession that others have the chance not to fall into quality, and instead make it their ultimate career choice.
As I look to the future, even after 4 years the NGN’s mission still has a long way to go. I am proud of what we have achieved but know there are so many more possibilities. Thank you for your support on the journey, long may it continue!