No formal quals but some experience... considering L5

I have no formal qualifications but i have been in retail management for 10+ years. Throughout that time HR practices have always been an integral part of my role. After having my baby, i'm looking to get out of retail and into a more stable line of work once maternity finishes.

I'm considering my level 5 diploma through ICS whilst im off work as I will have a little more time on my hands. Has anyone been in a similar situation and can advise how they found it?

Is level 5 what i should be looking at or should i start at 3 seeing as i havent officially worked in the field?

Has anyone used ICS and has feedback on them?

Any help or pearls of wisdom would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Laura.

  • Hi Laura

    I proceeded straight to doing my L5 Certificate, but had just come from college doing L3 so was used to the standard of the work if that makes sense?

    It can be academically a challenge, but there is nothing to stop you - it'll depend on your own academic background as much as anything else.
  • Personally I would be more inclined to steer you down the Level 3 route. Whilst many managers (and more so in retail) do lots of the Line Management tasks that are people focus that isn't necessarily the same as what HR folk should be doing. Level 3 will give you a good foundation and will (probably) be easier to fit in around your ML.

    Not i#wishing to rain on your parade but HR is a very difficult job to get into.,Especially later in your career. Your best route in may well be in retail (even your current employer) where the line management skills and the "shop floor" experience are more highly valued.

    Good luck
  • Hi Laura

    Like you, I was working in a role that had exposure to HR but I had no formal qualifications.
    I went to college part-time at night to do my Level 3 Certificate in Personnel Practice and found it a great introduction to HR and its policies and practices. This, together with my previous work experience enabled me to then get a role as a HR Admin.

    After I finished the Level 3, I commenced by Level 5 diploma (again at night while I was on maternity leave), went on to become a HR Generalist and then went on to complete my degree. I am now a HR & Learning Partner for a mid sized storage/logistics company.

    For me, doing the Level 3, then the Level 5 worked as although I had the work experience, I did not have the theory behind it and these courses allowed me the scope to learn and then use that experience to further my HR career.

    Best wishes Laura!
  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    26 Jun, 2019 10:29

    Welcome to the Community, Laura. I've renamed and 'moved' your discussion thread. Hope that's OK?
  • By "ICS", I assume you mean the Institute of Customer Service.

    If so, I have had a good amount of time working with them and I rate their training highly... in customer service.

    If you wish to pursue a career in HR, it makes little sense, though, to complete a course with anyone other than the CIPD. Organizations like the ILM also provide HR-related training, some of which is recogized by the CIPD as contributing towards completion of CIPD courses, but a Lvl 3 ILM certificate in HR is very much *not* the same thing as a Lvl 3 CIPD qualification and it will be the same with the ICS.

    As you may have gathered, I - like others here - think that the place to start for someone not already working in HR is Lvl 3, not Lvl 5. I would recommend Lvl 5 to someone who had risen into an HR Manager role on a QBE basis, or a working HR Advisor who already have Lvl 3 and wanted to bootstrap themselves to a more senior role.
  • In reply to Robey:

    Hi Robey

    ICS Learn offer the CIPD courses via distance learning- I suspect this is who Laura was referring to.

    Welcome Laura - I used Avado for level 5 Diploma and wouldn't recommend based on my experience, (poor tutor). Unfortunately, I haven't used ICS to compare though!

    Knowing the practical requirement involved in my level 5 Dip, I was thankful to be completing it whilst IN an HR role as I could use real examples based on the work I was doing. If you're not in a position to do this, I would also recommend level 3 to begin with.

    Kind regards
  • Hi Laura

    I come from a similar background to yours and completed L5 Diploma without having studied L3 HR.

    The content of the modules were quite familiar to me through work but despite this it was at time challenging to complete assignements due to time restrictions (having to balance studying with full-time work and family).

    I'm now considering starting L7 and am leaning towards ICS, as I've heard lots of positive comments about them. One of the main reasons is that, if I've understood correctly, you can contact your tutor directly whereas with my previous study provider (DPG) I had to first contact the student services team who would pass on a message to a tutor. This made communication with tutors very inconvenient.

    I feel very lucky to now work as an HR Assistant. Even though it meant taking quite a big pay cut, I feel it's been worth it through better work-life balance and more enjoyable work. The competition for these jobs is massive and it wasn't easy securing this role. However, I remain confident that I'll be able to progress in my HR career.

    Best wishes
  • Hi Laura, I am studying Level 5 with ICS Learn at the moment, having moved into an HR role from an inhouse recruitment background. I have found it quite challenging. Despite the reassurances of the course providers I have found it academically a challenge and also hard to fit in, as a single parent with two children and a nearly full time job. I have a degree but it has been a long time since I studied!

    I have found ICS Learn reasonable quality, the tutors have been variable in terms of response time and quality of feedback, and some mixed information and out of date links on reading lists, but overall I would recommend them.

    I am now completing the sixth module of eight so nearly there, but it has not been easy. I would certainly recommend considering Level 3 in your situation.
  • In reply to Gail:

    I am just about to finish my L5 and have been doing this at College, one evening a week. Although I have been working in HR it has been difficult and I have found some modules easier than others. I have also just been made redundant and am looking for a role again.
  • I would start at the bottom, I'm a member of several online support groups and I see a lot of people are struggling because they went in at L5 or L7 mainly because they aren't working in HR but also because of the online providers are happy to take anyone. One university is assessing potential candidates by requiring them to undertake a test that assesses research and analytical skills before acceptance. You may find the following useful: workforcedynamics.wordpress.com/.../