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Reed Learning student James Richardson wanted to achieve his CIPD Advanced Diploma in Strategic People Management to improve his HR knowledge and to build greater credibility at work as his HR responsibilities grew. He is now a Chartered Member of CIPD, an accolade he believes will future proof his career in the people profession. Here he tells his story.

The Challenge
James is Head of HR and Corporate Affairs at Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, a government backed organisation responsible for delivering a major regeneration project on former quarry land in North Kent. Although only a relatively small organisation with c.60 employees, the Corporation is responsible for overseeing millions of pounds worth of development to build the new Ebbsfleet Garden City.

Previously a civil servant, James was seconded from the Cabinet Office to the Ebbsfleet regeneration programme in 2015 to manage the startup of the new organisation. He enjoyed the work so much he applied for a permanent role which became increasingly HR focused as the Corporation grew. Although he had lots of projects and change management experience from his days in the civil service, James felt he was lacking knowledge in some areas of HR. Becoming CIPD qualified would improve his people profession skills while increasing his HR credibility within the business.

The Solution
After reviewing several different centres online, James opted for Reed Learning, first becoming CIPD qualified at Level 5. He then progressed to the CIPD Advanced Diploma in Strategic People Management.

“I knew the Level 7 qualification would lead to CIPD Chartered Membership, something that will support my HR career. At some stage, my current organisation will close and my role will finish, and so I felt it was important to achieve the qualification to give me more options in the future,” he explains.

At Reed Learning, CIPD students and apprentices are supported throughout their qualification by a personal tutor. James was assigned to Amanda Harris, a highly experienced HR consultant for his Level 5 CIPD qualification. He chose Amanda again when he returned to study for the Advanced Diploma.

“What I valued most from Amanda was that she really pushed me to do my best. There are clearly centres that just want to churn out qualifications as quickly as possible. Amanda wanted me to pass and was very supportive throughout, but she was also very good at ensuring I covered each unit in full. She challenged me to get the absolute most out of the learning experience which really paid off as I achieved merits in most of my units. I have genuinely learnt a lot and I really appreciate everything Amanda did along the way to encourage me to deliver above and beyond the straightforward pass mark for each unit.”

As well as the “excellent support” from his personal tutor, James found the programme’s online workshops and study guides particularly useful. Regular feedback from Amanda to ensure he was going in the right direction on each assignment was also helpful.

The Results
Now with his studies behind him, James reflects that he has a much more rounded knowledge of all aspects of HR.

“The Advanced Diploma is very wide in scope and progressing through each of the eight modules has not only increased my knowledge but also my confidence. I would describe the experience as enjoyable but also a constructive challenge. For me, it was important to keep my eye on the prize, which was to improve my HR knowledge, to have the credibility in my organisation as I built my Head of HR role, and to become a CIPD Chartered Member. I have achieved the first two and I’m in the process of applying for the third.

“I would have no hesitation in recommending Reed Learning to anyone else who studies for their CIPD. I know that being qualified at Level 7 will open so many doors in the future and will be invaluable to my career,” he adds.