CIPD qualifications: My next move

Q I obtained my Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Certificate in Personnel Practice in 2001 and have three years’ general HR management and one year’s recruitment experience. I am facing possible redundancy and find that companies insist on full CIPD qualifications and will not consider part-qualified with good experience. I cannot afford to study full-time. What would my best option be?

A Increasingly, the CIPD qualification is becoming the standard qualification required for generalist HR roles.

Since reaching its chartered status in 2000, it has become a more universally recognised body – raising the profile of its accredited qualifications. While the current recruitment market is fairly strong, it is still competitive, and qualifications such as the CIPD are useful differentiators for candidates. It helps you to demonstrate theoretical knowledge (that you can combine with your practical experience), academic achievement and a commitment to HR as a career.

As you gain more experience and become more senior within an organisation, the relevance of the full CIPD qualification increases, as your peer group will also be professionally qualified. As you cannot afford to study full time, I would strongly suggest you look at a CIPD-accredited part-time course, which many universities offer, or a distance learning course. A part-time course will enable you to attend lectures in the evenings (usually two evenings a week) or one afternoon/evening per week.

Of course, distance learning is done in your own time. These are specifically designed to be completed while working, which should help you with the affordability (perhaps your redundancy payment might also help with this). Some employers are willing to sponsor employees on these courses, so you should also make it known that you are willing to undertake further study.

If your position is made redundant and you do not have a role to move straight on to, a part-time course can be started while job hunting. Usually, you only have to pay course fees for the units you are about to study in the current term so, finances allowing, this may be an option to get started with.

Undoubtedly, it is a major commitment of both time and money, but in the longer term it will be worthwhile.

Mark Carriban, managing director, HR Recruitment Business, Hudson

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