Name: Keith Hoodless

Lives in: London

Currently studying: CIPD Level 5 Diploma in Human Resource Management

Why ICS? The ability to work from home, complete assignments when and where he wants, and learn independently.


Keith, 50, already has an accomplished academic and professional career. His CV is bursting with qualifications, including a PhD in Social Care/Education. He currently serves as Director of Operations at the Learning Resource Network, an awarding body offering a range of vocational qualifications for those wanting to boost their professional or personal development.

Many in Keith's position might be tempted to rest on their laurels. But he is living proof that there's always value in learning something new. Interested in the subject matter and inspired to develop his company's HR function, he decided to enrol on our CIPD Level 5 Diploma distance learning course.

"I used ICS a good few years ago- when I was 17 in fact-and had heard they delivered CIPD qualifications. So I checked them out."

"It keeps my mind academically active"

In addition to his business ambitions, Keith is motivated by a genuine interest in human resources and an interest in learning in general.

"I am at the top of my tree academically, but have always wanted to do a CIPD course, and this is now my opportunity. It also gives me a break from day-to-day life and keeps my mind academically active," he tells us.

One of the aspects of the subject matter that Keith finds most interesting is the move from "personnel" to "HR". He says this trend-"that we now want to develop staff, rather than see them as expendable"-is part of the reason he was drawn to the course.

"The fact that I can fit the work in around my home life is a big positive"

Keith moved to London from the North West in 2012 to look after his elderly mum and stepfather. In order to balance this ongoing commitment with his academic pursuits, he needed a flexible way to study.

"It's often quite difficult to find the time to further my personal development, which leads me onto the reasons that I enrolled on a distance learning course with ICS," he tells us.

"I have to stay at home, and going to a college, even in the evening, is difficult. Being able to complete the different assignments when and where I want is a huge advantage. The fact that I can fit the work in around my home life is a big positive. I can spend the time with my mum and not have a deadline hanging over my head."

"Start as soon as you can after getting the materials"

When asked what advice he would give to students who have just enrolled on a distance learning course, Keith recommends digging in straight away.

"Start as soon as you can after getting the materials. The difficulty I have had is picking this up after having to leave it for a few months because of my mother's illness."

Keeping up momentum is key. Distance learning allows you to take breaks, but huge gaps between assignments can make it more difficult to start back up again.

"The independent learning is fantastic"

Keith mainly studies in the evenings and sometimes at the weekend, but he expects he'll need to set a more regimented study schedule as he gets further into the course. Although he has only recently enrolled on the CIPD course, he's already enjoying the flexibility and support distance learning offers.

"The independent learning is fantastic. It encourages me to do further reading, but also gives me the added support of the tutors if I get stuck."

Watch out for more 'ICS Real Stories' right here on our blog. In the meantime, find out more about the CIPD Level 5 Diploma course that Keith is enrolled on.