PULSE: The Changing Face of COP Certification

The Changing Face of COP Certification: Interest in COP Master Class Live Surges as More Young Professionals Seek Training

With today’s talent shortage, training and certification are more essential than ever. IAOP is seeing a surge of interest in its COP Master Class Live among young professionals entering the field and organizations upskilling their workforces as well as companies across the industry embracing the new online class format.

The Certified Outsourcing Professional designation continues to be the industry’s de facto standard of excellence after more than 15 years. Since changing the COP Master Class to a virtual format during the pandemic, interest in the training has accelerated. The next COP Master Class Live will be offered Oct. 3-6.

“Outsourcing is more important than ever in an economic downturn so getting ‘back to basics’ and making sure teams are educated on the end-to-end outsourcing process is really important,” said Kim Maneeley, Senior Managing Director, IAOP.

Many young professionals are entering the outsourcing field for the first time and the COP Master Class teaches students a common language and framework for structuring successful outsourcing partnerships.

It is the only industry course geared to prepare professionals at every level in customer, provider and advisor organizations on the state-of-the-art, end-to-end process for success in collaborative partnerships today.

“We’re seeing many organizations ramp up training with team members who are entering the industry or are in new sourcing roles,” she said. “The structured Master Class training is invaluable to organizations to build stronger teams and for professionals to gain sought-after skills. Younger millennial workers are particularly excited because it will help them advance their careers.”  

The Outsourcing Professional Body of Knowledge (OPBOK) and its 10 standards categories remain as essential as ever. The course covers hundreds of specific standards and elements of those standards. An experienced authorized instructor presents the same content via Zoom technology as the in-person class.

Certification is a strategic priority for IAOP and the association is committed to providing the latest knowledge to keep the COP Master Class relevant to the changing trends, said IAOP CEO Debi Hamill.

“We are focused on making sure our certification programs are fresh and current to go along with everything we know now with digital technologies and the shifts we’ve seen such as the change from mega outsourcing deals to smaller specialized sourcing arrangements now,” she said.

IAOP also has seen certification training evolve from being used mainly by IT firms to now being sought and embraced by companies in all Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) areas and more offshore teams participating in training, said COP Master Class Authorized Trainer Sherry Jost.

Industry-leading firms are training entire sourcing teams with their partners and returning multiple times as they hire new individuals, she said.

Individuals who complete the Master Class earn 75 points toward certification and can immediately gain the Associate Certified Outsourcing Professional (aCOP) designation – a knowledge-based certification – by passing an exam covering the OPBOK. To achieve the experience-based COP certification, professionals need to document their work experience and pass the COP exam.     

What’s New in COP Training
We spoke with COP Master Class Authorized Trainer Sherry Jost to find out more about the course changes and why this is an ideal time to get trained and certified:  

Why is there a renewed strong interest in becoming a COP?  When hiring, it’s important for an applicant to prove their expertise in the subject matter and the Certified Outsourcing Professional (COP) designation demonstrates the person is knowledgeable in sourcing.  Companies value certifications to ensure they are hiring qualified people.  

Has the pandemic made Zoom a mainstream option and are more professionals interested in receiving training this way?  Definitely, yes.  The pandemic was responsible for changing our format from in-person to remote learning.  We adjusted the time to four six-hour sessions so class participants can keep up with the urgent demands of their job.  Many companies have reduced their travel budgets, which is also a big plus for remote learning.  We have breakout sessions for some classwork that is best performed in teams and it also provides the opportunity to meet and network with new friends in the sourcing world.  

How do you keep the material relevant?   We add material from the most recent Outsourcing World Summit (OWS) to show the OPBOK standards and best practices applied on the job. We also have changed the homework assignments to be more conducive to remote learning and smaller outsourcing deals, which is an industry trend. 

How do you keep participants engaged? We encourage students to have their videos on and engage with each other and I ask them questions. Students work together in breakout rooms on a high-level case study. To help them learn the OPBOK, we provide a handful of test questions per chapter and they work together to find the information quickly. 

Why should people enroll in this COP master class and what will they get out of the experience? The entire outsourcing lifecycle is taught, which helps participants who have not had exposure to the parts outside of their normal work responsibilities.  It's beneficial for practitioners to understand the stages of the sourcing lifecycle that are before and after their job duties. Also, people often realize they are interested in other areas and want to pursue additional responsibilities for their career growth.  

The next COP Master Class Live is being offered Oct 3-6, 2022, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern. For more information and to register, click here


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