Adviser Showcase: Heather Watson

Our advisers are very special individuals with an abundance of industry experience and a genuine interest in the development of others. Each one of them works hard to support their CIPD candidates and apprentices throughout every step of their qualification, and the feedback we receive on Coursecheck is testament to the superb advice they provide.

However, what really ensures Watson Martin stands out from the crowd is our personal touch which is something we know candidates greatly value and is epitomised by the company’s two directors Heather Watson and Melanie Martin. While growing the business over the last 17 years into the leading provider of CIPD qualifications, HR and L&D apprenticeships, in-company courses and consultancy it is today, both have maintained a hands-on approach by working with a number of candidates each year.

This tailored highly personalised support, which is provided by all Watson Martin advisers to every candidate, has helped thousands of people professionals to develop the skills they need to enhance their careers.  It is also one of the main reasons why the business has established its reputation as the CIPD benchmark centre for quality.

Here we profile our Director Heather Watson and obtain her advice to help you gain that all important CIPD qualification as well as discovering what she loves most about her role at Watson Martin.

Heather’s top tips for CIPD success …

  • Know your learning style and your capabilities. Be structured and have a plan. Set deadlines and stick to them.
  • Think about your own wellbeing and how to get the right balance between work, study, home, and life.
  • Utilise the resources you have available both from within your own business and from Watson Martin. Use your adviser’s knowledge and experience to help you.
  • Keep abreast of current affairs because you can usually feed in aspects of what is happening in the world to your assignments.
  • Build your networks and support groups both inside and outside of work. If you meet others on the programme, then connect with them and use that bond for motivation. You never know when you might need your professional networks in the future.

Here’s what some of our CIPD candidates say about Heather

The quality of the teaching was fantastic. Heather was really knowledgeable and helpful at giving the right amount of feedback to steer me in the right direction. The people who ran the workshops were also great, and I came away from these with a really clear idea of what I needed to do. This course is so practical and relevant. The content on the VLE was amazing. I based all of my study for exams on this and felt really prepared.” Elizabeth Jones

This programme was ideal as it allowed flexibility around very heavy workload and guidance from my tutor was invaluable. I was then able to obtain full CIPD membership.” Sue Jones

The programme more than met my expectations and suited my varied workload and my learning style ….Heather’s support, particularly with regard to flexibility, was excellent.” Peter Leigh

Very good, exceeded expectations in the support provided.” Helen Harvey

“Delivered more than my expectations and I would recommend to all HR Professionals.” Spencer Querios

The programme was easy to follow, Heather was very supportive, yet challenging.” Richard Burden

About Heather

There’s nothing Heather likes better than a challenge and so when she saw there was an opportunity to start her own business with a fellow HR consultant Melanie Martin, she jumped at it! Having always worked long hours, she was looking for a more flexible role so she could spend time with her young family. The decision led to the formation of Watson Martin and, while Heather quickly discovered that running a business didn’t reduce her time at work, it did mean she could dictate her own hours!

Now the Director of a leading CIPD centre, Heather laughs when she remembers the early days of the company when she did everything from drumming up sales to sending out invoices all while helping clients to become professionally qualified. And, although her focus continues to be on business development and finance at a more strategic level, she still enjoys supporting several candidates each year through their CIPD qualifications.

Heather’s HR career began in manufacturing, working in the Midlands for a large organisation which went on to become Coats Viyella. Spells in retail and finance sectors followed where she gained bags of experience in all aspects of HR and L&D before becoming a consultant specialising in new business development and occupational psychology tools. It seemed a natural progression to form Watson Martin, which was founded on the belief that CIPD programmes could be more flexibly delivered and tailored to the individual. It also led to a long-term partnership with the global recruitment company REED.

A CIPD Fellow with an MSc in Strategic HR, Heather is proud of how the company has developed over time along with the great specialist team and long-term client relationships which have been established.

She enjoys the challenge that running a successful business brings and is always happy when she has a long list of projects/tasks to tackle. 

In her strategic leadership role, Heather has developed a vision for the organisation that enables it to adapt to and remain at the forefront of the industry. Heather’s vision is to motivate the employees to develop and work together as a team and to always put the candidates and their learning first.

Heather is also involved in the operational side of the business and is happiest when problem solving which can include streamling processes, boosting productivity and promoting innovation.  It is important to Heather to maintain an environment that encourages the team to be productive, independent and to feel that they can push forward their own ideas.

Passionate about learning and development, Heather has been the driving force behind the company’s successful introduction of HR and L&D apprenticeships and is looking forward to launching the Level 7 Senior People Professional Apprenticeship later this year.