Earlier this year I had the great honour of being confirmed as a Chartered Quality Professional, Fellow. From when I joined the CQI back in 2012 this is something I had always aspired to and set myself the ambitious goal of getting there as soon as I could.
I have been through all the CQI main grades through the years, from ACQI to PCQI to MCQI to now FCQI. I feel that each stage it reflected my growing maturity as a quality professional and although no job has ever yet required this of me, I feel that this has given me an extra story to tell that has allowed me to progress in my career.
I first of all chose my two referees, who I informed of my intentions to apply for a Fellow upgrade, they were very supportive and agreed to be listed. Then application process was straightforward with support from the CQI team, through completing the application form and portfolio. I received feedback from the CQI team that I could try to improve the structure of my portfolio and was asked to submit a cover letter. I appreciated their early feedback and felt supported through the new chapter of my CQI membership.
A short while later, it was confirmed that my application had been accepted and I was invited for interview at the CQI HQ where I was to present a short overview of my evidence against the upgrade criteria. The panel were incredibly welcoming and genuinely interested in the evidence I had brought to discuss. This helped put me at ease whilst talking about myself and my achievements, which is not always the easiest thing to do.
After a few questions from the panel, it was time to walk away from the CQI HQ and await the result. As I had the day as holiday, I decided to make good use of the time and walk around London. Fortunately, the CQI did not wait too long to update me and phoned me on the afternoon of the interview. As you will have guessed, I had the great pleasure of being told that my upgrade was successful and that I would be notified formally soon.
For me, becoming a Fellow whilst still being a young quality professional is such a great honour. I hope to use this as a means to engage with others and show that you can become a Fellow at any age. For my part I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be part of the Next Generation Network, as this has been a huge influence on my engagement with the CQI and on my career to date. Good luck to anyone else embarking on upgrades and those who have entered for the awards!
Identify your referees as soon as you can and get their input on your application.
Track your evidence directly to each of the criteria. Cite examples of media or volunteer engagements wherever you can.
Go prepared for the interview with plenty of time and enjoy speaking with the panel.
Get involved with groups like the NGN, even writing a blog goes some way towards demonstrating you experience and commitment to the quality profession.