What can light up your CV?

Qualifications count in varying amounts in the training and L&D jobs market, but they take time, effort and money to achieve. So, which are the ones that can light up a CV?

Derek Beasley, senior consultant at recruitment agency IPG, says the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) qualification tops employers’ wish lists. “For most of our clients, this is either essential or at the very least preferred,” he says.

Unsurprisingly, Martyn Sloman, training, learning and development adviser at the CIPD, agrees. He says employers want training professionals to have a wide breadth of skills, which is why the CIPD qualification is well respected.

“Training is no longer about the systematic training model being used solely in the training room,” Sloman says. “Learning and development has become a much broader activity: practitioners must support, direct and accelerate workplace learning. They need a qualification that is recognised in the labour market as covering learning and development and broader HR activities. Only the CIPD qualification achieves this.”

What is on offer?

The minimum qualification employers tend to look for is the CIPD certificate in training practice (CTP).

The CTP is gained via a skills-based modular programme, which aims to help students develop the expertise to understand, identify, deliver and evaluate training within an organisation. Students are required to complete the certificate within two years. But, at £7,999, it is expensive.

It is cheaper if you knuckle down and study the CTP fast-track programme. Experienced trainers can gain the same certificate via an intensive 28-week programme, which costs £3,999.

Bernard Cooke, principal consultant at psychometric testing training provider OPP, says it is worth taking the time to learn about psychometrics. “Psychometric tests such as Myers Briggs can be a useful tool for team development. They also show how we approach and adapt to organisational change differently – something that is becoming more important to many employers,” he says.

OPP provides a range of workshops that qualify trainers to use different tests. Its Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) workshop runs for three days, with a two-day follow-up, and qualifies trainers to purchase, administer and provide feedback on the MBTI test. The qualification is awarded by an evaluation of skills and via a multi-choice questionnaire. It costs £2,350.

But, like any qualification, just attaining it is not enough. If it is to be of real value, practitioners must apply their skills regularly. “If you’re rusty, you could misuse training instruments. Employers should ask candidates about the last time they used their skills to judge the real value of their qualification,” says Cooke.

Trainers can also get accredited in areas such as team-building. But Meredith Belbin, eponymous founder and head of team psychometrics specialist Belbin, says although accreditation is worthwhile, it is the application of skills that counts. “The real qualification rests on the ability to use what has been learned to advantage,” he says.

The Belbin team-role accreditation course for six people on a two-day course costs £2,000, or if you prefer one-to-one, the course is condensed to one-and-a-half days and costs 900. It involves practical exercises, with a 45-minute accreditation test at the end.

Qualified to impress

If you really want to impress employers, you could take a masters degree, though they are expensive. Roffey Park provides an MSc in people and organisational development – the two-year part-time course costs £13,500.

Beasley says masters degrees do not always impress employers. “Sadly, you can now get a masters degree in a subject without having done a degree in it first. This has devalued masters.”

Short courses are a useful way to top up skills. The CIPD offers many from e-learning to creative training, with prices ranging from £500 to £1,500. The Training Foundation also offers courses that can help trainers specialise in new areas. Its certificate in coaching skills involves a two-day course in a role-play environment and costs £780.

Whichever route you take, remember that employers are often flexible about qualifications. The right experience is often more valuable than a million pieces of paper.

by Kirstie Redford

Recruiters’ view

Kate Seales, associate director at recruitment agency Hudson, says training professionals should hone their skills in specialist areas. “Specialist qualifications in areas such as psychometrics and coaching can be impressive for the right job,” she says. “Unlike generalist HR roles, employers are not concerned if training practitioners do not have the full CIPD qualification. For most training roles, experience on the job is more valid than qualifications.”

Jonathan Apaloo, consultant at recruitment agency Eden Brown, says the minimum qualification employers look for is the CIPD certificate in training practice (CTP). “Some ask for fully-qualified CIPD candidates, but this is rare. The CTP is the qualification our clients look for. Qualifications in psychometrics can have value if these skills are vital to the role, but it depends on the employer’s needs,” he says.

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