Do I go onto my L5 or have a break?

Hi there,

I have just finished my last assignment of my level 3 diploma thank god!! Working full time, studying and taking care of a child has been a lot tougher than I thought! 

I am currently working as a HR Co-ordinator and I have done for the past year and a half - my role is varied recruitment, inductions, quite admin based, within the next year I am hoping to move up to the 'next step'. Although I do find I have gained more experience learning on the job than studying.

I just can't decide whether to have a break from studying for a while, is L5 Diploma necessary for a HR Advisor/Assistant role? Also, how long does a L5 Diploma studying part time roughly take to complete? It's taken me exactly a year to complete my L3.

Thanks in advance,

Caitlin :)

  • Hi Caitlin,
    I took a break in between 3 & 5 and regretted it as I lost the momentum plus I’m a very mature student and didn’t find returning to studying easy.
    I started as an HR Administrator and found level 3 helped with this. I’m now an ER Consultant and find the 5 more relevant to this role. That said I wouldn’t say don’t do it now. If you work for an organisation that will allow you to use what you learn and develop, go for it. Level 5 takes about 12 months part time.
    Whatever you decide, good luck with it. I studied with 2 young children and working full time and feel your pain.
  • I am a HRM, been in HR 14 years... I am only L3 and have no intention of going any further with my studies, It's each to their own .
  • I did the same and I must admit I wish I had gone straight to L5 to keep momentum up. I've plateaued now on my L5 and am about 3 months behind in my assignments :(
  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    6 Jun, 2018 11:17

    Welcome to the Community, Caitlin. Good question, which has certainly attracted some varied and personal replies.
  • In reply to Nicola:

    Me to. I am HR Advisor and have been for 10 years and don't need it and don't have the time to study and really not interested. However, if you are thinking of moving roles to a different organisation they may paper sift you out at level 3 if they require level 5 but often you hope that they look at your experience and they will think that you have more experience/ knowledge to offer!

  • Hi Caitlin,

    Don't forget there is also the assessment route. If you wanted to wait and see how your role progresses, this might then be a better route for you. I'm seriously considering it as I don't know if I could cope with studying part time for 2 years to gain my Level 7; when I get to it!

  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    7 Jun, 2018 10:36

    In reply to Lisa:

    Good call, ... and a belated welcome to the Community.

    Rather an ace thread here about the EA route / process...
  • Hello Caitlin,

    This is my conundrum too. I finish my final assignment for L3 in a few weeks and am trying to find a HR role as I only have a few responsibilities that are HR related in my role and there is no progression for me.

    Advice would be appreciated for any organisations that would support my next study as I funded all of my L3.

    From my point of view Caitlin I would go further if you have the funds and time to do so but likewise if your organisation will pay for your training I would too.


  • In reply to Zoe Cunningham:

    Just to say, this is quite a refreshing change of thread from the worryingly common "badge collecting" of qualifications we often have. Yes of course qualifications have a place, but nothing beats experience.
  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    7 Jun, 2018 12:27

    In reply to Annabel:

    I'm enjoying this thread, too
  • In reply to Nicola:

    Couldn't agree more Nicola.
    When I was first starting our trying to get into HR without any experience was tough. Then it changed that you wouldn't be considered without a CIPD qualification. When I finally managed to get a job in HR there were several people working for the organisation who didn't have their CIPD qualifications and had progressed to HRBP level without it. The experience they had was what counted. There were also HRMs who didn't want to progress or study.
  • In reply to Kayleigh:

    Hi Kayleigh,
    If you can find an entry level position your employer might pick up the costs.
    My last 2 employers have required us to have it and therefore picked up the cost of the training and also our CIPD membership.
    Are you able to consider an apprenticeship?
  • Thank you everyone for your input so far, it's defiantly something I'm going to have a good think about, as much as I love studying I feel the best way is to maybe take on more on the job experience for now!

  • I had a long break between studying as for me I took the opportunity when I could obtain funding from my employer as no way I could afford to self-fund past Level 3 (or what was known as the Certificate in Personnel practice at the time).
    I took my Level 3 before I was even working in HR to help me obtain my 1st role. I have recently finished Level 5, but after studying Levels 3,4 and 5 over the last nearly 20 years, I just cant face any more especially as I really don't want to do exams (Level 7) or have enough experience yet to go via the assessment route. I am currently a HR Advisor, but within my organisation all my colleagues further 'up' are Level 7 (or Chartered Status) qualified.
    My Level 5 Certificate (rather than Diploma) took 12 months.
  • Some really good points here, I would personally say it depends on the real life work experience you are getting. I studied my L3, then took a break from studying, and then a few years later I went straight to my L7...but that was only appropriate because of the development I was getting at work. I would say work experience should be prioritised over qualifications where possible, otherwise you have no reference point. When I was studying my L7 there was a lot of students who had gone straight from their undergrad onto the Masters course with no work experience...and it really made a difference in the lectures.

    Sorry might have slightly gone off point there but hope that helps!