Name: Hayley Watson

Lives in: Manchester

Studied: CIPD Level 3 Certificate Human Resources Practice

Why ICS Learn? The flexible start-times for courses, and its reputation as a reputable distance learning company.

Hayley studied public relations and media at university, but three years out of uni she was ready for a new challenge. She was working in financial services as a customer relations consultant, and her experience in recruitment and training sparked her interest in learning more about human resources. It became increasingly clear that HR was the right career path for her.

"I wanted to constantly work with people in an area I would enjoy thoroughly," she tells us. "I wanted to get into HR properly."

"I knew it was a reputable company"

After coming across ICS Learn on a Google search, Hayley asked her friends and colleagues whether a distance learning course would be a valuable way to take the next step in her career.


"I spoke to people about it and some said they heard it was really good for distance learning," she explains. In addition its reputation, she says the ability to enrol on the course right away was another convincing factor.

"I chose to go with ICS, as I knew it was a reputable company and offered flexibility in terms of starting the course. If I went through a college or university, I would have to wait until September, which would have been nine months."

"I knew I wanted to do the qualification, so I persevered"

Although Hayley knew distance learning was the most feasible way for her to earn a CIPD qualification, she worried about not having the self-determination to see it through.

"I was dubious about doing the qualification via distance learning, as didn't know if I would have the motivation to complete it. But I wanted to do it in a shorter time, so decided it was my best option," she explains.

Despite her doubts, Hayley kept her thoughts on the bigger picture: her future HR career. She needed a qualification, and the only solution was to dig deep and persist with her studies.

"I was overwhelmed when the material and assignments arrived. I didn't think I could manage it with full time work. However, I knew I wanted to do the qualification, so I persevered."

"I could have most of my weekends free"

As the weeks went by, Hayley developed a study routine that fit with her busy schedule. Creating a plan (and sticking with it) played a huge role in her success on the course.

"It was tough to balance my work and personal life, especially at first, but I committed to library visits after work two nights a week so I could have most of my weekends free."

"I found planning which modules I wanted to be completed by which date helped me to keep focused, and I mostly stuck to these personal aims."

"I enjoyed learning again"

Less than nine months after enrolling, Hayley completed the course and earned her CIPD Certificate in HR Practice. Not only was she happy to add a new qualification to her CV, but she also came to appreciate the learning process.

"I felt immensely proud of what I had achieved, and that I enjoyed learning again after three years away from uni!"

Hayley particularly enjoyed developing a more thorough understanding of specific fields within HR, such as employee relations. She says the course helped her reflect on what her current company was doing right, and the ways it could improve.

"It made me much more aware of how my previous organisation practiced HR. For example, we went through a redundancy situation a couple of months ago and I don't think it was handled very well. The course made me realise just how important looking after the people is."

"My HR career can now begin!"

A few weeks before completing the course, Hayley started searching for her first proper HR gig. She applied for an HR Coordinator role and was thrilled to be offered the position.

"After two pretty scary interviews, I was offered the position less than a week after I had passed my final assignment," she tells us. "I definitely think the qualification massively helped, as the job description specified they wanted someone who had done or was doing their CIPD.

"To be about to start in an industry that I have so recently qualified in is a great achievement. I am so glad I continued with my studies; my HR career can now begin!"

"ICS was a fantastic option for me"

Hayley's HR career is just starting, but she's already planning for the future. Her long-term ambition is to work her way up to a 'Head of HR' role within an organisation. She's grateful to have taken the first step toward achieving this goal.

"ICS was a fantastic option for me as they offered flexibility, support and a really good feedback portal. I would definitely recommend them to anyone who wanted to do their CIPD."

"Take it all in and enjoy the course"

When asked what advice she would give to other students who have just enrolled on the course, Hayley says to embrace the learning process and keep persevering.

"Take it all in, get involved with the workshops and enjoy the course-even when the assignments feel never ending!"

Watch out for more 'ICS Real Stories' right here on our blog. In the meantime, find out more about the CIPD Level 3 Certificate course that helped Hayley kick-start her HR career.