Name: Lisa Pitt

Lives in: Derbyshire

Studied: CIPD Level 3 Certificate in Human Resources

Currently studying: CIPD Level 5 Diploma in Human Resources

Why ICS? Flexible course schedule, yet with the reassurance of having tutors available for support.

Lisa was promoted to the position of Human Resources Officer when one of her colleagues retired. She didn't have much HR experience, but quickly found she enjoyed the role. She liked being able to work with different people on a daily basis, and having the opportunity to help with complex processes, such as recruitment, pay and benefits.

To help her brush up on her HR skills, Lisa's employer offered to pay for her to earn a formal qualification from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). She enrolled on our CIPD Level 3 Certificate in HR course in October 2013, completed it the following April, and is now working her way towards a CIPD Level 5 Diploma.

"I found that working with ICS was really very easy"

In addition to working full time, Lisa's an avid runner, manages her own cake-baking business and is busy looking after her two-year-old son, Jack. It goes without saying that she needed a flexible way to earn her qualification. She decided that distance learning was the best option.

"I found that working with ICS was really very easy," she says. "Once I had all my study materials and study plan, I could manage my own studies, but also had the reassurance of having the CIPD course tutors on hand to help me with any queries that I had."

"Finding the time was a challenge, but I managed to do it"

Lisa studied whenever she could find the time, but mainly on weekends and in the evenings after her son had gone to bed. Some days she even made use of her lunch hours and time in the morning before work.

"I won't lie, at times it was very hard to juggle all of my commitments," she tells us.

"Finding the time was a challenge, but I managed to do it. It's amazing where you find time when you keep yourself organised. I did have to sacrifice some of my free time, but it was worth it in the end!"

"I'm still in contact with a few of the girls I met on my course"

As part of her course, Lisa was required to attend a local workshop with other CIPD students. She thought ahead and booked her workshop early in order to make sure it fit with her study plan.

"I was nervous to attend at first because you have to carry out role play exercises, which I'm sure most people dislike as much as me!  But I found it was really useful to meet other people like me who were working full time and juggling a busy life with their studies.

"I am still in contact with a few of the girls I met on my course, and we email or Facebook each other for advice."

"I feel more confident"

For Lisa, the CIPD Level 3 course wasn't just an opportunity to add a formal CIPD qualification to her CV-it was a way to expand her knowledge and develop skills that directly relate to job. Since completing the course, she's noticed a difference in her performance at work.

"It has definitely influenced my work at my job. I am now taking regular part in the interview and recruitment processes, and have carried out interviews alone and recruited for positions within the company.

"I feel more confident in the information I give to employees when they ask for help, and I feel it has made me think more about what I do day to day, and why we follow certain processes."

"Make it work around your life"

When asked what advice she would give other students enrolled on distance learning courses, Lisa says to "take your time and make use of the tutor service." She also emphasises balancing the coursework with other commitments and hobbies. Despite her busy schedule, she still manages to find time for herself.

"I just recently completed my first half marathon, so I was training a lot. I am also still baking my cakes - I had two to do last week and another two this week, so I am definitely keeping myself busy."

To others with equally busy schedules, Lisa says, "Try and plan your studies as best you can, and make it work around your life. If you can only spend half an hour one day, just reading or researching the topic is still going to help in the long run."

Watch out for more 'ICS Real Stories' right here on our blog. In the meantime, learn more about our CIPD distance learning courses.