QA: Learn More Earn More

QA: Learn More Earn More

Nick Walton speaks to David Walker of training provider QA, sponsor of our Freelancer of the Year Awards.

QA Ltd. has been at the forefront of business skills training for over 30 years. With over 1,500 courses covering a wide range of subject areas, QA provision of a wide range of learning solutions that ultimately save freelancers time, reduce costs and enable them to be at the top of their game. David Walker, QA’s Head of Emerging Technologies believes freelancers need to develop their skills stand out in the market.

“Essentially, there are two kinds of freelancers I tend to meet; the driven and the hungry - always ready to help you build new value in your business as a trusted advisor, and those with ‘comfy shoes’ that have gone into business for themselves with an in demand skill, but no idea on how to keep themselves in demand.

“The speed of change and innovation is going to shorten the high value of any single skills. Today’s freelancer needs to be continually moving, changing and adding new strings to their bow. Seek learning in the most emerging areas and gather qualifications to prove yourself as a practitioner to improve your market value.”

David is keen to stress that QA have a vested interest in the freelance sector.I think we ‘get’ the sector, many of our trainers came from the freelancer community before we made QA our home.  When we work with our partners on learning and performance transformations we are almost outsiders looking in brought in for our knowledge and abilities – and that still makes me feel like I did when I worked for myself. That buzz is electric and very satisfying, as is moving on to the next challenge.

“We recognise freelancer importance as partners and innovators. For QA, freelancers are considered to be trusted partners and essential in order for us to build and grow our capability and portfolio. We encourage a mind-set of innovation and entrepreneurship among our training community that I think is key to being a successful freelancer.”

IPSE was delighted to announce the partnership with QA for the Freelancer of the year awards. David stated that from his perspective It’s really important to recognise outstanding talent and to celebrate it. “Freelancers mostly work on their own, without a manager or director to praise them. They may sometimes get recognition from family and friends; but people who haven’t been freelancers themselves often don’t realise the challenges that freelancers face, or do not recognise achievements because they do not understand them. To be able to stand up in front of a room full of people who do understand this world, is a massive boost of confidence to the finalists - it’s a big pat on the back that means something, and the effects are long lasting. The recognition on the awards night, the prize money and the prize of £5,000 worth of training from QA, as well as the publicity that the winners get afterwards - will assist those freelancers within their career for years to come. 

David was the first keynote speaker to take the stage at the IPSE QA awards where he talked about the need to innovate and stay on top of your game, but what were his favourite moments from the big night?

“Hearing the freelancers’ stories has been the highlight for me. Many of QA’s employees have worked as a freelancer in the past, and we always enjoy sharing our adventures over a pint! I think freelancers lives are incredibly colourful, and the experiences and the achievements that they have made - during their career journey can be epic. Freelancers often talk with emotion and passion about what they do because of their incredibly exciting journey that they go through.”

So what’s next for IPSE and QA? David finishes our conversation by speaking about future collaboration.

Freelancers can use technology to find communities in local areas such as meet-ups, because general physical interaction is limited in their day-to-day working lives, and team moral doesn’t exist. So as well as initiatives like the IPSE QA Freelancer Awards, we are also supporting IPSE members ongoing by providing physical meet-up groups that are free for IPSE members to attend. The first one will take place in July in London, and will be followed by others around the UK. The format will be informal – there will be a space dedicated to freelancers who can co-work, and potentially collaborate and share experiences and knowledge to support one another. We’ll provide an inspiring space, a nice cup of coffee, fruit, biscuits, and access to learning sessions with myself, and other subject matter experts to assist with demystifying areas of technology such as Cloud, Cyber, and for general business skills such as presentation skills, business writing, and building client networks. We’ll provide experts in whatever will be helpful to groups of freelancers. Our first session will be for web developers in London, and if you would like to attend please email"