From career banker to CIPD Chartered Fellow

“I am living proof that you don’t need a degree to get the advanced diploma but you do need dedication and to take your work seriously. Getting the qualification helped me to be more strategic, to evaluate evidence and to understand the reasons why I was doing things in a certain way. It gave me extra confidence and the belief that what I was doing was correct.”

Steve Way, Head of Human Resources at Aquaterra Energy

From leaving school at 16 to achieving CIPD Chartered Fellowship with a career in banking along the way, Steve Way explains why you don’t always need a degree to reach the pinnacle of your profession.  Here he tells his story…

When Steve Way joined NatWest in Colchester at the age of 16 he envisaged a long career ahead of him in the world of banking. Positive signs were there from the start and, after a move that took him to Norwich, an early promotion to become one of the company’s youngest branch managers quickly established himself as a high flier. A new role as an Area Manager responsible for 15 branches across Norfolk and Cambridgeshire and a professional qualification in financial services followed, setting him further along the banking road.

However, with several years’ financial experience under his belt and a developing interest in HR and working with people, Steve realised he was falling out of love with balance sheets. When NatWest came under the umbrella of RBS, he jumped at an opportunity to take on responsibility for the group’s East Anglia people plan which included recruitment, succession planning, staff induction and development.

A professional qualification to move up the ladder

A secondment as the HR lead managing the successful integration of Richard Branson’s Virgin One mortgage business into the RBS stable was next on the cards, a move which fully cemented his career switch from banking to Human Resources.

Yet while he now had HR experience at a senior level, Steve realised that he would need a professional qualification to move up the ladder, particularly as he had recently changed jobs moving from RBS to join Anglian Windows as Human Resources Manager with responsibility for sales and operations across the UK.

“I knew if I was going to devote my second career to HR then I would have to back myself and get qualified. I was promoting professional qualifications, but wasn’t qualified myself in an HR capacity,” he explains.

Great experience with Watson Martin Partnership

“I was introduced to Watson Martin Partnership and the CIPD Advanced Diploma.  I went down the competency mixed mode route for the qualification and then began the most amount of work I have ever done in terms of writing essays, story boards and pulling together all the evidence of HR work I had done to gain my Chartership.

“I had a great experience with Watson Martin Partnership.  I felt completely supported throughout and everything was very professionally done.  Having the CIPD Diploma does give you that credibility around the board table, particularly when you are delivering information and messages that don’t always go down well. Having the knowledge gives you the belief and confidence in what you are doing and it gives you recognition and credibility within your business to make the impact necessary,” he said.

After six years with Anglian Windows where he managed a large professional team and the HR responsibilities for nearly 3,000 people, Steve moved to become Head of Human Resources at Aquaterra Energy, a specialist engineering company providing bespoke services to the offshore oil and gas industry worldwide, based in Norwich.

The importance of being CIPD qualified

He was awarded CIPD Chartered Fellowship in December 2015 and having reached the holy grail of his profession, is a keen advocate for HR and its value to business as well as the importance of being CIPD qualified.

“I am living proof that you don’t need a degree to get the advanced diploma but you do need dedication and to take your work seriously. Getting the qualification helped me to be more strategic, to evaluate evidence and to understand the reasons why I was doing things in a certain way. It gave me extra confidence and the belief that what I was doing was correct. My longevity and experience in the profession has led to Chartered Fellowship, something I take very seriously and that I’m proud of. I enjoy sharing the value my profession has with others,” he added.

Experienced at assessing competency

Watson Martin Partnership offers a range of different packages to enable HR practitioners gain their CIPD advanced qualifications. Our advisers are particularly experienced at assessing the competency of candidates to help them meet the needs of the advanced qualification. Distance Learning, Bespoke and Active Learning programmes are all available including a Fast Track Advanced Certificate for those who want to get CIPD qualified in just eight months.