Level 3 Foundation Certificates

A Certificate qualification is larger in size than an Award qualification and provides a firm introduction and understanding of HR and L&D in a wider business context.

Who is a CIPD Foundation Certificate for?

A CIPD Foundation Certificate is suitable for those:
  • who want to gain the essential knowledge and skills required to move into HR or L&D

  • who are new to HR and work at a support level, but do not hold a formal HR or L&D qualification

  • responsible for HR or L&D activities and decisions within an organisation without a specialist HR function and line managers involved in HR

  • looking to become a professional member of CIPD.

We offer two Foundation Level Certificate qualifications:

  • CIPD Level 3 Foundation Certificate in Human Resources Practice (QCF)

  • CIPD Level 3 Foundation Certificate in Learning and Development Practice (QCF)

Students are able to gain credits for completed units. A Certificate qualification is a total of 28 credits.

These qualifications are on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) at Level 3 (equivalent to A Level). This is comparable to Level 5 in Ireland, Level 6 in Scotland and the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) Level 4.

All Foundation Certificate and Foundation Diploma qualifications share the same three core units (10 credits) that students must take.

Core units

Unit nameCredit value
Developing Yourself as an Effective Human Resources or Learning and Development Practitioner
Understanding Organisations and the role of Human Resources
Recording, Analysing and Using Human Resources Information

Depending on your chosen centre and the particular optional units they are approved to offer, students must take the remaining 18 credits that can be selected from the following range of professional areas.

HR Optional Units

Unit nameCredit value
Resourcing Talent
Supporting Good Practice in Managing Employment Relations
Supporting Good Practice in Performance and Reward Management
Contributing to the Process of Job Analysis
Supporting Change within Organisations

L&D Optional Units

Unit nameCredit value
Undertaking a Learning Needs Analysis
Preparing and Designing Learning and Development Activities
Delivering Learning and Development Activities
Evaluating Learning and Development Activities
Developing Coaching Skills for the Workplace
Developing Mentoring Skills for the Workplace3

Further details about the content of each unit can be found within Unit Summaries at Foundation Level (PDF 106 KB)

Further details about the structure of the CIPD Foundation Certificate qualifications and the combination of units you can take can be found within Rules of Combination at Foundation Level (PDF 64 KB)


If studying a CIPD Foundation Certificate or Diploma qualification, you will need to join as a CIPD Student member throughout the duration of your studies in order to achieve your certificate and to ensure that your qualification is recognised by the CIPD towards a level of professional membership.

The CIPD Foundation Level Certificate and Diploma qualifications give a professional level of membership, Associate (Assoc CIPD).


Related pages

  • Foundation qualifications overview
  • Foundation Awards
  • Foundation Certificates
  • Foundation Diplomas
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Associate membership

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