When Rebecca Peacock moved to London after completing a degree in Sociology from the University of Newcastle, she did not envisage building a career in HR. Now just six years later, she has an Advanced CIPD Diploma under her belt and is climbing the ladder at a Business Consultancy. Here she explains how the Masters level qualification delivered by Watson Martin Partnership over a two-year period is enabling her to make a major contribution to HR decision-making within the company.
I joined the business in 2013 as an HR assistant but with little relevant experience. My previous job as an office manager of seven branches of a firm of estate agents had given me some knowledge but it was limited and so initially the role involved organising recruitment meetings and admin. My boss and the CFO approached me after a year and suggested I study for the Diploma. I had been considering a postgraduate qualification, as I knew it was essential to being recognised as an HR professional.”
“I came up with two possible providers from the CIPD website and spoke to both organisations. The adviser at Watson Martin Partnership was very informative and went through the whole process with me, what was involved, information on the different modules and how much time it would take, and it was this detailed discussion that sold me the programme.”
The qualification took two years in total to complete but I could have achieved it in 18 months if I had not taken the summer off after the HRC exam. I did become very serious about my studies and would sometimes get into the office at 7am and study for two hours as well as put in some late nights and weekend work to meet deadlines, but it is all hugely rewarding. I now have a much better understanding of everything HR and I am far more involved in the decision-making process at work as a result. I love receiving the CIPD people management emails and the daily updates on what is going on and, on the back of the HRC exam, I now watch Newsnight regularly and read the papers to keep abreast of current affairs.”
The new skills and knowledge gained from completing the Diploma has given 29 year old Rebecca the confidence to introduce more structured recruitment processes and initiate a range of HR ideas from reviewing secondment procedures to a gender diversity project. It has also helped her to raise her own profile within the business.
The company is slowly changing its view about HR. The module Developing Skills for Business Leadership required me to assess myself as part of a personal development plan. As a result, I am aiming to raise the profile of HR and demonstrate what it can do for the business. The breakdown of all the aspects of employment law was also very useful and I have learnt to critique our own systems.”
“The whole process has been an amazing experience from the workshops – which are very informative and provide a network of people from different professional backgrounds – to my adviser who was wonderful and encouraged me to focus on the bigger picture, not just on individual modules.
And Rebecca’s advice to anyone considering signing up for the Advanced Diploma?
Think hard about how much time you can commit.
Do you enjoy HR because it does become your life.
Know what you want to achieve by having the qualification…”
“If, after reviewing, you still want to sign up for the programme then go for it. You learn so much, you meet new people with varied experience and it sets you apart from those without the qualification.”
With the business opening new offices around the world and the chance of a future promotion, high flier Rebecca is excited about the opportunities that lie ahead.