Rachel Cooper specialises in developing senior HR professionals through postgraduate programmes. Find out how she achieved this role through her career path.
Could you give us an overview of your current job?
I am a tutor and a writer, working in business education, mostly CIPD qualifications. I spend half of my week in the classroom at a local college and the rest of the week working at home, online tutoring, writing and developing online materials. I also do some consultancy and training on an ad hoc basis, and I work for the CIPD as a marker on one of the core Level 7 examinations (7HRC).
What made you choose HR as a career?
My career before becoming a CIPD tutor was in accounting and finance. I worked as a line manager with HR responsibilities and, whilst my accounting qualification was a priority in my early career, as I developed as a manager I realised the importance and significance of the role of HR. This encouraged me to work towards becoming an educator in this field.
How did you get started in HR?
I had HR responsibilities when working as a line manager; this included recruitment, performance management, and disciplinary elements. I also was part of a job evaluation committee in my early career. When looking at which areas to develop to become a tutor, HR was a great choice as it was an area of interest to me given how I saw the critical importance in making the management of people a top priority in business.
What were your next career steps, and how did you progress to these roles?
I became an academic member of the CIPD and also developed more and more areas of expertise in the CIPD qualification to enable me to educate in this field. I am now a part of the examiner’s marking team for 7HRC and this is a challenging but very rewarding role. It is great to work directly with the CIPD and the chief examiner for this module.
What helped you most in your career progression at each stage?
My work colleagues have been supportive of my development in this field and often acted as mentors in my career development. I gained an MBA and also academic membership of the CIPD, and both of these qualifications have allowed me to develop my career – without them I would not be doing what I am today.
Why did you become a CIPD tutor?
I have always wanted to teach and very nearly went into this at the start of my career. After a career break, I knew tutoring and teaching were for me and I knew I wanted to do this in the ‘people’ field – what better than HR and CIPD qualifications?
I can honestly say I love my job. It is so very rewarding working with students, and I feel there will always be so much to learn and consider in the field of HR to develop my thinking and understanding too.