Name: Fiona Hopkins

Course: CIPD Level 7 Diploma in Human Resource Management

I’m 40 this year and somewhere along the way I’ve gained 20 years of HR experience but I’ve never managed to complete my CIPD qualification. I’ve held affiliate level membership for over a decade but I’ve always felt that I’ve left myself down because that affiliate doesn’t really reflect my experience or abilities.

The last time I studied for more than a few days was almost 15 years ago and life has changed since then; I no longer have the luxury of focussing entirely on partying and study (I recall that was the priority order when I read Law at Swansea University!) so when I tried to pick up my CIPD a few years ago I was overwhelmed.

I knew I could do it but the last few years of my life have been a bit of an upheaval and I needed to rebuild my confidence at a pace and in a way that suited my busy lifestyle where I am a carer and a sole earner.

I spoke to a number of learning providers and considered a number of delivery methods for the course; some providers offered the moon for the price of a rocket and others didn’t even return my call, and eventually I spoke to the lads at ICS Learn in Glasgow.

I had a list of questions and a ‘get out’ in case of sales pressure but in fact it was nothing like that; we chatted for about 20 minutes and a tutor called me back for a further chat, explaining the workshops, the online community, the access to materials online and I was left to think about it. I didn’t need long. I was back on the phone and signed up.

A few weeks later my boss asked me about it and I explained what I’d done. She asked why I hadn’t asked the company to pay and I said I didn’t want to go to a classroom every week; my life isn’t geared around that. I explained more about the course and the benefits and a few days later, to my complete surprise the company said they would pay for my qualification and even better for two of my colleagues to do the same course!

Now we have a mini-study group in work as well as online groups and google hangouts. We’ve attended workshops* and we’re gearing up for the May exams, supported and motivated by each other.

ICS Learn is helping to rebuild and increase my confidence at a time when I thought I would just drift through my career. It’s reinvigorated my ambition and it’s a fantastic way to learn.

*Workshops are not compulsory for this course.