Case studies

Graham Watson, Chartered MCIPD, independent HR consultant

"In a tough market, professional credentials definitely make a difference."

Graham Watson describes himself as an HR/OD specialist, with a specific focus on resourcing, talent and leadership development. An independent consultant, his current projects include helping a charity to restructure its training function, leadership development in a media organisation and setting up a talent programme for a Middle Eastern utility.

Watson’s HR career has encompassed all three sectors (public, private and third) either as an employee, an interim manager or consultant; this includes a year as interim head of training at the CIPD. Yet, in common with many who came to HR as a second career (Watson was a psychiatric nurse and a tour operator in earlier life), he never quite found time to complete his professional qualifications. He has a certificate in training practice and qualifications in occupational testing and first thought about obtaining CIPD chartered membership around 10 years ago, while working at City & Guilds. But, halfway through the process, he left his role to set up as an independent consultant. “I was running my own business and didn’t have time to pursue the qualification,” he says. “But I was committed to it and when this opportunity came up, I grabbed it.” Watson says that the experience assessment route works well for people who have led projects. “If you’ve delivered small or large projects where you’ve

managed something end to end, you are well placed,” he says. He cited setting up a graduate internship programme for Defra as part of his assessment and acting as an associate consultant on a senior management assessment centre, run by consultancy OPP on behalf of a large media organisation.

Being professionally qualified is critical, he believes, even for someone with a strong track record. “In a tough market, professional credentials definitely make a difference.”

This case study was published in People Management magazine on 10 February 2011.