Dr. David McKevitt talks about UCC’S Certificate in Procurement Management

Aoife Hynes 01.11.2017

Last year saw the launch of UCC’S Certificate in Procurement Management. I have spoken to a number of the successful graduates of 2017 and this programme comes highly recommended.

As professionals often contact me to discuss ways to up skill and gain further education in their field I asked Dr. David McKevitt, Lecturer at University College Cork, to talk us through the overall course last year and to give us a better insight into what this year looks like:

The second iteration of UCC’s Certificate in Procurement Management (CPM) began in late September. Come October colleagues and friends begin to ask me “well, what are your students like this year?”

There are many motivations behind the question!  However, I prefer to reframe it as:

What will we achieve this year?

Indeed, the same question drives all of the students, faculty, and businesses that occupy UCC’s Western Gateway Building. CPM students have taken their place alongside UCC’s IGNITE Graduate Innovation Centre and the Centre for talented youth in Ireland (CTYI). The enthusiasm of the CPM group is obvious; many travel from outside of Cork and arrive early. A HR professional who encouraged two employees to enrol on the CPM sent me an email last week:

“I am absolutely delighted to hear the positive feedback on the course. The reports have been nothing short of glowing and their enthusiasm has increased tenfold. It’s fantastic to see…”

So, what we achieve this year will depend on where you are coming from.

The CPM offers a rigorous program of study that supports, encourages and values unity in diversity. We have candidates who have recently “fallen into” procurement, public employees who manage the complexity of public procurement, corporate veterans tasked with crafting future missions and sales people looking for an edge.

Irrespective of an individual’s level of work experience, all of the students must first baseline their own procurement competency and organisational maturity in terms of procurement processes. The agenda is now set; each candidate has a mission and to succeed they will do the following:

  • Master the art of reflective writing to understand the causes and consequences of how procurement is currently performing and how they contribute to it.
  • Work in small groups to tackle case studies. To be successful you must respect and reconcile differences in opinion, cope with ambiguity and justify decisions.
  • Prepare for the dreaded first round of oral presentations! The teaching team issue constructive feedback and promote continuous improvement.  


Some treats along the way ….

Each module closes with a guest speaker who has something unique to offer. It’s not all procurement either. I facilitated a developmental network exercise with the 32 students - not only helping them to understand the importance of mentoring and sponsorship but to actually count their current stock of both.  

Some tips I would offer readers:

Engage in mentoring

Discussing challenges and opportunities with a more experienced person is invaluable. Don’t be shy about asking for time (or help!). Most mentoring relationships involve a 30 minute discussion once per month. Whether face-to-face or by phone you need to be clear and honest about what you need from the mentor’s time and also have gratitude for receiving it.

Use job adverts intelligently

Make scanning adverts a useful habit rather than an emotional impulse during “Sunday blues”. Use job adverts to figure out what the market wants and how much they are willing to pay. Regrettably, procurement job titles can sometimes be misleading and are far from standardised. Nonetheless, make a habit of scanning vacancies to shape realistic expectations. Talk with recruitment experts like Aoife who has a deep understanding of the recruitment market.

Understand educational progression

The UCC CPM is pitched at a high level (i.e., level 8) on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). The workload is equivalent to one semester of a full-time BComm albeit over a nine month period.  A CPM graduate from last year is now pursuing a Master’s degree in procurement by research. Other opportunities include Postgraduate Certificate / MSc in Project Management.

Update your LinkedIn profile

It’s not about who you know but who knows you” Unfortunately, many LinkedIn profiles do not reflect the value procurement professional’s offer.  Be a red, not a grey squirrel, document your value and use an appropriate picture.

Get involved in projects

In big corporations you are no doubt dragged into many cross-functional projects. Regardless of your organisations size, consider your own pain points, what are the opportunities to improve value or reduce risk? Understand also how projects get approved and who you need to influence for you to lead a procurement-related project.


Many small firms, charities and social enterprises are in need of procurement assistance. Enterprise Ireland and the Small Business Advice Programme run successful mentoring programmes and would be delighted to hear from procurement experts.


As you can see from the above, the CPM course has something to offer for junior procurement specialist, all the way up to senior manager level. A massive thank you to David for taking time out of his busy day to discuss the CPM course in more details with me.

For more details on the Cert in Procurement Management visit the link here.

As a senior consultant on Ireland's largest national supply chain team, and as a dedicated procurement recruitment consultant, I am available at any time to discuss ways to up skill, or develop your professional career further so get in touch with me today.

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Team Lead | Supply Chain & Procurement


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