Qualification confusion


| 76 Posts


9 Jan, 2014 16:24

So confused about qualification routes, would be glad of some opinions and tips when selecting the best course.

Some background....I started my career in admin and >10 years ago took a job as a PA for a very small company. This was a very diverse role and included many aspects of HR admin so I completed the Cert in Personnel Practice (as it was then). After 4/5 years I was offered the job as HR Executive in another SME, reporting into the director of HR and operations, who then left the Company ~4 years ago leaving me as a (almost) standalone with a lady providing some HR admin support. In the time that I have been here I have managed recruitment up to director level, managed service agreements for Directors (inc CEO) and NEDs, redundancy and site closures, had a brush with TUPE, make annual salary review and share option proposals to the BoD, manage the annual performance review process and am part of the Senior Management Team (albeit the most junior member) amongst other things.

I haven't completed any further academic qualifications but am now being given the opportunity to pursue this. The trouble is, I just don't know what to do! I don't have a degree so would be nervous of going straight to a PG even though I have reasonable experience (I think!). There again It would be good to go for it, dive in and get as much as I can out of it while I have the chance.

I have 2 small children so in theory distance learning would seem to fit better but I think if I started at the advanced level I would need lots of support initially just to get my confidence up - do the distance learning providers give enough support in your opinion? Is there much networking opportunity with distance learning?

Can anybody relate and give me their experience or offer any words of enlightenment?

I have also spoken to the CiPD quals people and have sent an email to my local branch to see if they can help. It's a lot of money and huge time commitment so I want to get it right :) . Thanks

  • Keith

    | 10642 Posts

    Chartered Fellow

    9 Jan, 2014 16:32

    Given the level you seem to be operating at and the experience you seem to have had then I think you should look at if you can get on a level 7 (in new money) PG level course. You are likely to have more practical experience than most of the students and this should give you an advantage but it will be hard work.++++++++++
  • Keith

    | 10642 Posts

    Chartered Fellow

    9 Jan, 2014 16:33

    In reply to Keith:

    Sorry not sure where all the + signs came from
  • Fiona

    | 33 Posts

    Chartered Member

    9 Jan, 2014 16:41

    Hello Stacey,

    What an exciting time for you! There are so many routes
    open to you with CIPD courses / qualifications.  I've not got an 'answer' for you as such
    because it is truly your decision however.. a couple of questions..

    1. Do you feel you wish to build on your existing
    knowledge and experience to confirm what you already know plus refresh your


    2. Do you feel ready to stretch yourself and build up a
    more strategic HR skill set?

    Answering these two questions may help you continue
    weighing up the pros and cons!

    Additionally, maybe don't view the academic route as the
    only route to building skills and networking. If you decide to choose the
    online learning route then you can boost your interaction with other HR
    professionals by attending CIPD branch events or utilising Twitter to have
    further HR conversations with a huge international network.

    I hope I have been of some help. Good luck with whatever
    you decide.



  • Hi Stacey, I am currently undertaking the Level 7 and am happy to give you an honest insight. Drop me a PM if you want to ask me any questions.

    Good luck,


  • Thank you all. Must admit, I am tempted to go for the level 7.

    Genevieve, I will pm you.

    Best wishes,


  • Emma

    | 312 Posts


    13 Jan, 2014 14:36

    Hi Stacey

     just to add to the others comments - I did not have a degree and my route through the CIPD qualifications was CPP, PG Dip and then Masters. In my opinion having a degree isn't a significant advantage when undertaking the PG Dip





  • Hi there,

    Apologies I can't help, but I too have a similar story and to anyone out there I would be so grateful of some help also!

    There is so much information on the CIPD website I find it overwhelming and really don't understand all the options, qualifications and study types available to me in the uk. I really need to know which one is right for me.

    Many full time jobs in HR today offer study support alongside the job.
    I am currently a BA Hons graduate and have been working at a HR admin/assistant/officer/coordinator level for 3-4 years. I have some basic advisory skills but I have the potential to begin working at a HR Advisor/business partner level - leading employee relations cases, change management projects etc. This may be company assisted and may therefore be offering to fund a CIPD for me.
    In this situation, what is the norm and what do most people do?
    My assumption is that the study would be in my own time outside of my usual working hours but I have little idea what level, type or style of qualification would be normal in this instance.
    Also, please could you clarify how this is assessed and how you achieve the qualification? What happens once achieved?

    Many thanks
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