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Level 7 drop out

Hi all, 

I am looking for some advice from other professionals and perhaps others who have been in the same boat. 

In 2018 I moved from my rotational graduate role in a relatively small international business and into HR. I had had some limited experience in HR from a year's internship as part of my "sandwich" degree. I had completed a Bachelors degree and Master's prior to gaining my first graduate role and in both I achieved firsts. 

When I moved into the HR department at my organisation my manager suggested I enroll into a CIPD course. How hard could finding a course be? She suggested that as I was still to do some international travel I should opt for a distance learning course versus university/taught. Knowing very little about part time learning and the different providers I picked one of the immediate ones which came up. Speaking to their Sales team I explained the situation (that i already held a Master's degree) and they suggest I complete the Level 7 qualification. I believe that i enquired about this time as they had a sale on and I rushed through the approvals to get onto the course because I worried that if I didn't sign up before year end I would have missed the boat. 

Anyway, three years down the line, I have sunk in the work and had to extend the course multiple times. I found the examples required to demonstrate Level 7 working difficult and working through materials with no taught content utterly miserable. 

This week I finally "gave up" and told my tutor that I would be dropping out of the course having only completed the exam modules. I would need to discuss this with my employer but ultimately I didn't have the knowledge of resources to complete this very independent qualification. 

The provider has however, suggested that they would transfer me to the level 5 or 3 course. I'm not sure what to do. I do one day hope to be Chartered but I wished I'd have waited to do the Masters until I had a few years worth of experience under my belt. I suppose my question is - do I swallow my pride and start at level 3? Attempt level 5 (which I am still nervous of given the experience I've had at level 7) or put my studies on hold and come back to them when I'm ready to study level 7. I know now that if I were to go to Level 7 I would respond much better to a taught in person class.

If anyone has any experience of this I would so appreciate your thoughts. 

1824 views
  • Hi Georgia
    It looks as though the inital decision to go straight to level 7 was the result of poor advice. The knowledge that you need to demonstrate at this level goes beyond the purely technical and specialist, it  is strategic knowledge about how to adapt the HR approach to very different contexts and why that approach is relevant in that particular context. For example, HR in a consulting engineering firm calls for very different set of HR responses and support than for operating Amazon warehouses and distribution centres; a centralised top-down mutinational management style calls for different HR organisations that in a multinational that is highly decentralised....
    Until you have lived through a range of different business contexts you are unlikely to acquire this knowledge which is more practice driven than theoretical (although there are sound advanced business theory reasons underpoinning the different approaches). Three years of HR experience is unlikely to have given you the right type of exposure to acquire these skills unless you have been a graduate high flyer attached to the HR Director of a very large firm with delegated major project work that impacts a large part of the organisation.
    Level 5 is more about deep technical specialist knowledge, with less of the business strategy dimension, and could be more appropriate to your current situation - having said that, it requires you to understand the operational ins and outs of the main HR specialities.....
    Sorry about your disappointment, but take a step back and evaluate whre you want to go before deciding

  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    23 Nov, 2020 15:45

    Hi Georgia... and welcome to the Community. I'm very glad you found us and shared your experience with us. Like Ray... I'm sorry you've had a disappointing time of it... but just from reading your post I think you are reflecting on this now in the right way. (I don't mean for this to sound patronising).

    I agree with with Ray's suggested pathway...
  • In reply to Steve Bridger:

    I do not agree. I would find a better provider, not someone who will try to hang on to you so that they maintain an income stream and do not have to show you as a 'dropout'
  • In reply to Peter Stanway:

    Thanks Peter. I somewhat agree. They are now suggesting that I would be suited to the Level 3 qualification (rather than 5) - but that doesn't seem to add up to me.

    Level 3 would get me the Associate status I need but it seems mismatched.

    I am thinking about getting in touch to say that I would prefer to complete level 5 (even the cert) as I think this would have more value for me personally. But I'm not sure if I'm going to succeed with this provider if they don't see me as being able to achieve this level of qualification.
  • In reply to Georgia:

    Georgia, it's important that you feel comfortable with your provider and have confidence in their ability to give you proper support and advice. If you feel this isn't the case, then clearly you should change.
  • In reply to Ray:

    Thanks Ray. I think that honesty is the best policy here. I will give them a call and explain my concerns. I will also continue to reflect over the next couple of weeks. Thank you for taking the time.
  • I have worked in HR for 20 years now and had a non HR related degree and studied Levels 3 and Level 4. So I wasn't sure whether to go for Level 5 or 7 - even the providers were giving me differing advice, hence I also posted on this forum.
    In the end I started on the Level 7 certificate (I just couldn't face the exams, but I gather these may be removed in the near future?). However even though I have quite a lot of HR experience and work in a large public sector HR team I couldn't get the 'exposure' to the level I needed to completed it successfully so in the end my Coach/Assessor saw that I was really struggling with level 7 and suggested I change to the Level 5 qualification instead.
    Whilst Level 5 stretched me enough, it was still manageable and I successfully passed the certificate in 2018.
    Whilst I'm no expert with your qualifications and currently working in HR, I would say Level 5 seems more appropriate from my own experience.
    I completed my qualification via 'Mixed mode' learning with AheadHR as I lived nearly 50 miles from work and would be difficult to find something conveniently near home and work. I had a Coach/Assessor so 1:1 support (mostly remotely via Skype, phone and email). I don't think I could have successfully completed it without that support.
  • In reply to Georgia:

    Good luck, Georgia. Don't let this knock your confidence or spoil your enjoyment of learning, which I know you must have had once or you wouldn't have don't so well with your bachelor's and master's degrees.
  • In reply to Elizabeth:

    Thank you Elizabeth that's very kind of you. It has certainly knocked my confidence and has left me wondering if I'm suited to HR at all. I didn't have knowledge of this community at that time and am so glad that I do now.