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Level 7 Diploma whilst on maternity leave... has it ever been attempted?

Hi all,

I would appreciate any guidance and experience sharing on this, as I am considering taking up Level 7 Diploma studies a couple of months before my maternity leave is due to start, and then, all going well, continuing to study throughout the mat year off, with a view to make significant progress towards completing it before I come back to work.

For background, I have previously done a Level 5 and I have a degree, so I don't anticipate I'll struggle with the level of the course. I am an HRBP with management experience so I feel the Level 7 fits perfectly. 

The only thing I am worried about is how realistic it is to get anything like this done, even a couple of hours a day, maybe a few days a week when you have a newborn on your hands? It is going to be my first maternity leave so I have no clue what I am getting into. When I completed Level 5, I did it alongside full-time work in less than a year. 

So doing Level 7 on mat leave can't be much more taxing than that... Or am I being naive?

Any thoughts welcome - especially if you've done either Level 7 or mat leave (or both!) before.

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  • Good luck Maria - I've completed my Level 7 but not the mat leave part. Reading was the main thing for me and I guess if you can get a good book stand you can multi task! One of our group also downloaded his workbooks into an MP4 format so that he could listen whilst pounding the treadmill at the gym. I guess it's finding whatever works for you. My main advice would be too not stress and be prepared to ask for an extension if needed.
  • I like the MP4 part. I'm also starting soon. and I have a full time job and kids
  • Hi Maria,

    Congratulations on your pregnancy!

    I am not sure if this is helpful, but I recently studied the L7 Award in Employment Law while I was on maternity leave, though it only involved 5 assignments, so I am guessing that would be a lot less than the diploma. I found it manageable while my daughter was very little and not very mobile. It became a little awkward as she became more aware and mobile! If you have a good support network, though, this probably wouldn't cause too much of a problem for you.

    I did the MA in HRM (L7 CIPD), as well as a L5 diploma in Leadership and Management both at the same time, with full-time work and think when you have been used to studying, it comes to you a lot easier! Based on what you've said about previous qualifications you've undertaken and your experience, I bet you would manage your course no problem!

    Best wishes with everything :)

    Abby
  • I recently took my level 5 and found it very difficult to get back into studying after a long break. As you have studied more recently I imagine that part will be much easier for you.

    My advice would be to make sure you have support to allow you to have time away from your baby to focus and that the person supporting you really understands the need for this.

    Having been on maternity leave twice and now working full time with young children, the biggest challenges have been being able to get time to really focus and also tiredness. It is impossible to fully focus while you are in charge of a child, especially as Abigail says, once they become mobile and can get into mischief or danger!
  • The Level 7 Diploma is a big step up from Level 5 but so interesting!

    You might want to think about signing up for the Level 7 Certificate (4 modules rather than 8) to start with then you don't have to worry about exams or a dissertation...

    All providers have different set ups so check with what flexibility they offer. Acacia Learning have free taster sessions so you can get a better feel of the what the Level 7 looks like - https://acacialearning.co.uk/cipd-hr-courses/level-7-cipd-advanced-hr/

    Congratulations and good luck with everything!

  • Thank you all for your insight, much appreciated! I think I am just going to plunge straight into it! Why not! :)
  • In reply to Maria:

    Hi Maria, wishing you the best of luck with the final stages of your pregnancy and hope the birth goes well. For me I'd be asking your course provider if there would be a possibility of deferring your studies in case the demands of a first baby prove too much. While I wouldn't want to prevent you from undertaking your studies it can be hard to predict what comes after the birth, yes, it will be a baby but one which eats? Sleeps? Laughs? Cries? Fingers crossed there will be no worries but it may be worth seeing what your options are should the transition be harder than expected as it may be easier to defer your studies until the baby is in an established routine and perhaps no longer breastfed (if that is your chosen path of course). Having a Plan B doesn't mean you have to use it. :-)
  • I did level 7 while on adoption leave. It was hard to make it work, and it took a lot longer than I'd hoped, but it was good to have something non-child related to focus on sometimes. I would say try and drop your expectations: "a couple of hours a day" is probably optimistic, as a baby is not likely to give you more than half an hour to yourself for really quite a long time! Also, you're going to be tired, even if you're lucky and you get a good sleeper, so you need to take some rest and recovery time. You'll get into your own rhythm, and then you can work out the little opportunities through the day where you might be able to read or make some notes. You're going to need some back up for when you need to focus for longer, and get down to writing, but you have time to work that out.

    All things are do-able with a bit of flexibility. I would recommend a kindle - then you can read one-handed, as you'll be doing everything one-handed for quite some time...! Congratulations, and I hope all goes really well.