CIPD Foundation Qualification – Student Case Study

Karin Joehr-Lauener
Learning & Development Specialist at EDF Energy Nuclear Generation

I landed in the world of Learning & Development through a project I had been managing six years ago and haven’t looked back since. Although I was developing my knowledge and expertise through various CIPD training courses as well as on-the-job coaching, after a few years, I realised that my confidence and credibility as a subject matter expert would benefit from attaining a recognised qualification.

Looking at the CIPD qualifications, I decided the Foundation Certificate in Learning and Development Practice would be the right place to start. However, being a strong pragmatist, the idea of classroom-based study didn’t appeal at all and I didn’t want to waste time studying topics where I already had strong knowledge; I wanted to focus on areas for development. My role also meant that I was travelling away a few days each week, so I wouldn’t be able to commit to a regular classroom attendance at a fixed location.

I spoke to a colleague who highly recommended Busec; in particular she enthused about the excellent support of the tutors. The idea that I would be able to study in my own time, over a duration that allowed me to balance other commitments at work and home, and submit work-based evidence where appropriate seemed too good to be true.

My next step was to research the Busec website – I was greatly encouraged by this as the front page already seemed to be speaking directly to my needs and concerns. The site was also very easy to navigate and geared at providing the end-user with information rather than showcasing clever web design.

I then spoke to someone on the phone who talked me through the way Busec would be able to accommodate my requirements. I liked the fact that the organisation sounded very professional while taking a personal approach – I also appreciated that there was no sales pitch or pushing to get me onboard.

The cost was also favourable in comparison to other providers.

The initial kick-off workshop worked really well for me – although I was looking forward to the advantages of learning in my own time, it was good to meet up with others and hear their thoughts and concerns, to know I wasn’t on my own on this journey.

I really valued the face-to-face and phone call sessions with my tutor; we discussed the learning outcomes and I was able identify relevant work and knowledge that I could submit as evidence. Using a coaching approach, my tutor ensured that I was able to recognise how a particular piece of evidence met a learning outcome. I found this very valuable, also at a personal level, in building confidence as I often take for granted my specialist knowledge and skills when entrenched in daily business. The support I received from my tutor was excellent, responses were prompt, no question was too stupid for me to ask and there was never any pressure, just gentle encouragement that kept me motivated to keep going – this really worked for me.

Being able to submit work-based evidence and ‘tick some boxes’ motivated me to set aside quality time to study areas that I needed to develop. I thoroughly enjoyed reading up on topics I was less familiar with and writing assignments. Writing helped reflect on and develop the ability to articulate these less familiar topics.

I was able to meet a couple of learning outcomes through professional discussions with my tutor; this too was very useful in improving how I articulate what I do.

The mixed method approach made the course more interesting and, I believe, reflects the reality of my day job with its combination of applying my specialism through various media. Writing reflective accounts was new to me and put me out of my comfort zone, as I would rather be ‘doing’. However it helped me appreciate the benefits taking time out to consider and reflect, and it is something that I have continued to do more consciously since.

The online learning centre is an excellent tool, being able to cross reference work and write up explanations and context in the evidence wizard. It’s also amazing to see just how much I have been able to learn and evidence over a relatively short period and in a very painless way.

I completed my CLDP over about 7 months in 2011. After a year out to focus on a new, more challenging role, I started thinking about the next step. I spoke to my Busec tutor who was very encouraging and, as a consequence, I am now studying towards my Level 7 Advanced Diploma in HR Development. I could not have contemplated doing this if it wasn’t for my very positive experience with Busec and the very personal approach they take.