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Human Resources Student Stories:
ICS Learn Case Study: Gateshead College | Online CIPD Courses

Holly Brekke

CIPD Level 5

Holly Brekke began studying our CIPD Level 5 Certificate to bring new knowledge to the team, diversify her role as a Customer Services Officer and progress.


My name is Holly Marie Brekke and I currently work as a Customer Services Officer within in the Human Resources Department at Gateshead College. I am studying the CIPD Level 5 Certificate in HRM.

I decided to choose ICS Learn because I work full time and I felt that attending a college course for two days per week wouldn’t work for me due to my work commitments and the restrictions of having to attend college on two set days per week on an evening wouldn’t allow me to focus on the course as much as I would like to.

I felt that online working would work better for me as online distance learning is more flexible and allows you to work at your own pace and set aside your own time.

I met with my manager as part of my annual appraisal and we discussed the different options that were available. I have a Level 3 in Business and Administration that I achieved as part of my apprenticeship with Gateshead College.

We discussed the options of studying the CIPD Level 3 programme and also the Level 5 programme.

I originally felt that the Level 3 would be the better option for my development because I hadn’t previously studied a HR qualification. However, following a number of discussions with my line manager we agreed that it would be best if I were to focus on the Level 5 qualification as this would give me more stretch and challenge.

I carried out my own research online in order to find a suitable education provider to study my programme. After contacting a number of organisations, I found that ICS Learn were the most helpful; they were able to answer any queries that I had and also supported me through the enrolment process.

I found that the cost for the programme was reasonable due to the support that was offered and the level of the qualification.

I honestly cannot say one negative thing about studying online through ICS Learn or about the tutor support.

From the very beginning, I have found the website easy to use and straightforward; everything that you need is there and easy to access, including the Online Bookshelf.

The tutor support is great, they respond quickly through the message option and they even give you a call to discuss any queries that you have that is a suitable time for yourself. The tutors are flexible in terms of their availability and their feedback response rate is very quick, a lot quicker than most colleges!

This course has helped me greatly, I am nearing the end of the course and I have already noticed a difference in my skills and my knowledge.

I am hoping to progress to a HR Advisor/HR Partner in the near future and through this programme I feel that I am closing that gap.

When I first started my post in HR as a Customer Services Officer I mainly supported recruitment activities within the organisation. Since starting the programme, I have become involved in wider HR activities and also have a mentor at work now who is helping me with my career development.

Through studying this programme, I have been able to share my learning with the wider team.

In one assignment I focused on how Gateshead College could develop a Working from Home Policy and carried out research into the benefits and downfalls of having a flexible workforce. My manager had asked if he could see sight of this assignment as the college are hoping to introduce a Working from Home Policy in the next couple of months.

I would 100% recommend ICS Learn.

My colleague is also studying towards her CIPD Level 5 in HRM and I suggested that she also studies her qualification through ICS Learn, we both started this programme back in September 2017 and have both found it to be beneficial.

After studying through online learning, I think that I would find it difficult to return to college if I were to study another course. I have found the support from the tutors and also the information that is provided to you as part of your programmes and units to be of a higher quality.

I have really enjoyed studying this programme and using ICS Learn as part of my studies.

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