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Q I have worked in personnel for 16 years, including seven years at junior management level and three years in senior management. I represent my company on tribunal issues and negotiate with trade unions. I have a degree in business management and organisation, and I am a qualified training and development manager. Yet I cannot be considered to update my membership of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) from licentiate because my degree is ‘too general’.

I take an active part in the day-to-day running of the company, which employs 400 people, but I am not experienced enough to update to full member. I am disappointed with the CIPD, which is supposed to support the HR managers who can and do operate across other parts of the business.

A As an HR professional of 24 years, I too am disappointed by the CIPD and its elitist ways. My considerable experience has not been recognised by the CIPD and, unless I am prepared to pay a considerable sum of money to take the PAC [professional assessment of competence] route, then it will never be recognised. I have, therefore, decided to take an alternative professional development route and take my chances without the CIPD. The CIPD should be broadening its client base and not excluding employment professionals who have a significant contribution to make.

A I empathise with this, having immigrated to the UK in 2004 and found that my experience, development and education in the HR area counted for nothing.

Just a month before I came to the UK, I finished a four-year HR management degree, which I paid for myself. I contacted the CIPD to join and I was told that I could only join as a member (like everyone else without any HR education or experience). This didn’t really help, as most employers ask for more than that, so I enquired what I had to do to be upgraded. The CIPD advised me to do the degree course in the UK, including the last year with the CIPD. I was amazed at the suggestion that I go through that again after four years of hard work, and that the CIPD was not interested in anything I had done before. The suggested education costs anything between £4,000 and £6,000. No small amount of money, especially after I had paid for education already.

I felt let down by the CIPD’s attitude to experience and education in HR, so (sadly) it doesn’t surprise me that it won’t consider experience outside the field of HR. Pretty shortsighted if you ask me.

A The 10 years’ relevant experience required to gain fellowship of the CIPD can already include up to three years of non-HR managerial experience. So somebody with seven years’ HR experience could be elevated to fellow status.

Surely, if we want the profession to be taken seriously, we should not water down our standards and just say that any managerial experience should be allowed to count.

I don’t know of any other professional institute that would allow membership of its highest membership grade to be given without relevant experience in its own field.

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