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ICS Real Stories: Patricia | Online CIPD Level 5 Review

Patricia Knott

CIPD Level 5

Our mature student Patricia Knott reviews her journey to getting CIPD qualified against the odds with our online CIPD Level 5 Diploma in Human Resource Management.


I initially enrolled for the Level 5HRM Diploma in February 2014 along with my best friend who was in the same role as me, HR Officer. 

Although we had many years experience as HR Generalists, we both thought it wise to get some formal recognition for our experience, especially in an ever-changing labour market; a CIPD accreditation would be the best, especially for someone in HR. 

Being a mature student, 54 when I first started, I did wonder how I would get on studying again, it had been many years since college!

Online learning suited me better because it was something I wanted to do and not something that had been proposed by my employer, although they did cover the cost of the training. 

I had investigated several providers but ICS Learn’s cost and length of time to finish the course was what drew me to them.

The timetable* that ICS Learn give you for learning and submitting assignments was also something that I like as it wasn’t what I call concentrated and could quite easily be integrated into my work/life balance.

Unfortunately, my friend could not follow the course due to medical issues but I continued; firstly by attending one of the workshops** with Eileen Emslie.

Everyone was made to feel welcome and the class was fun and full of information. I also attended a workshop with John Prokopiw who again turned out to be a great tutor. 

It doesn’t take long to get to know people in the class as we are all there for the same reason, and the evening meal helps integration along.

There is a lot of information to take in but the tutor notes cover everything that happened over the two-day workshop. 

I started off well but unfortunately my friend passed away and I lost my way with submitting assignments on time.

When I explained to ICS Learn they were extremely understanding and extended my learning time; I still fell behind but again they helped out and allowed me to buy some extra time.

The files and books that they supply give a lot of information and are very informative about completing the assignments but I must admit my aged brain struggled to understand clearly what was being asked of me for most of the assignments.

After struggling through one of them and having to re-submit it, I phoned the tutor and explained that I didn’t understand - even though I thought they might think I was a bit on the dim side!  

I cannot begin to tell you how supportive they were when I explained my failure to understand some of the questions I had to answer. As Eileen Emslie said in her promo on the ICS Learn website ‘no question is a stupid question’, so I had nothing to lose. 

Not once did any one of the tutors I spoke with make me feel that I wasn’t up to the job or that I lacked the ability to complete the assignment, in fact they were all an absolute dream and they took all the stress I was feeling out of the work I had to do. 

They took their time to listen to me and to explain, I never felt rushed and always felt that I could call them again should I need to.

In the event, I never did!  Once I had spoken with them, I had a clear idea and method in mind and was able to submit five assignments in seven months! 

I even had one month left of my time with ICS Learn.

If I had known then what I know now, I am sure I would have completed the course a whole lot quicker and without the stress I put myself under.

Needless to say, I am very happy to have stuck with it and completed the Diploma and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend ICS Learn as a training service to anyone.

The tutors were all great and I can’t thank them enough; Eileen Emslie, John Prokopiw, Keith Watson and Kathy Daniels.


* The timetable we give is just an example to get you started – you can work through your modules as quickly or slowly as you like within the support period.

** Workshops are optional too!

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