Real Stories

ICS Real Stories: Kirsty | Online CIPD Level 5 Review



Kirsty Smith reviews her experience of studying CIPD Level 5 online to advance her career in the retail industry. 


Studying isn’t for everyone. I didn’t think it was for me as I left school 28 years ago. I chose to study for a CIPD course so it could enhance my current role within the retail sector.

Before starting, I researched HR and training job vacancies which predominantly required you to be either working through CIPD or CIPD-qualified to a required level.

I researched to see who was offering the qualification that I wanted. I found quite a few companies were offering what I thought I was after in various guises, so I chose the way that best suited me which was distance learning.

I contacted a couple of companies, asked a lot of questions and eventually chose ICS Learn. When I spoke to an ICS Learn advisor I found them very welcoming. They asked me what I currently did, what level I worked at and what did I want to achieve.

The advisor talked me through how ICS Learn worked, they talked about the commitment which was required, and also about the work load which was involved and how student services and tutors could support me.

After talking through the payment side of the course, the advisor emailed me all the details and suggested I read everything we talked about and to think about it.

Within an hour I was back in the phone and had booked myself onto Level 5 CIPD. 

Because the course is online learning, you have to be organised and structured with your time.

I set myself a goal for when I wanted to finish the course, then broke that down further into times I could allow for each of the modules.

You have to be realistic. I over ran on some of my timescales but completed others a lot quicker than I thought I would. 

The ICS Learn communications were really clear. They helped me get started onto the course and then through the website.

The website was a little tricky to start with, but once I got the hang of it, it was really easy, and I could whip around it to find everything I needed in no time. To enhance my learning, I used the internet and my local library for extra support. 

At the beginning of every module, there is an online tutorial which was headed up by a tutor for that module.

You could ask as many questions as you liked throughout the class. They are also recorded and put onto YouTube so I could revisit them as many times as I liked.  

There were times when I felt overwhelmed and felt I couldn’t see the woods for the trees, but all I had to do was email my tutor for advice or guidance and they would email me back or call me within a day or so and give me guidance or some great advice.

After starting the course, I found out I was doing the same course as a work colleague so we used to give each other encouragement whenever we felt the other needed it.

I would highly recommend ICS Learn, so much so I am thinking about what course I can do next with them!


Inspired by Kirsty's story? Find out more about getting CIPD qualified 100% online.



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