Is a CIPD Level 7 Advanced Diploma Right For Me?

Are you interested in studying for a CIPD Level 7 professional qualification to progress your career? Find out everything you need to know from how to get started right through to achieving CIPD Chartered Membership with our guide to Level 7.

Is Level 7 right for me?

The simple answer here is that every case is different! Which is why we always recommend having a personal diagnostic call right at the start of the process to explore the level you are working at and your existing knowledge and skills.  Here, you will talk to one of our advisers who will ask some questions about your current role, career background and aspirations to find out if the qualification is right for you. Ideally,  you will be able to show thinking at a strategic level and work with and influence a range of stakeholders. A key aspect of Level 7 study is the ability to persuade others of a case, as well as demonstrating comprehensive professional knowledge.

As HR and L&D specialists we are often asked how much academic experience and professional knowledge is required to undertake a CIPD Advanced Diploma.  The answer is never straightforward as there are so many variables, but ultimately, a strong academic background is not the deciding factor. You could have lots of practical experience that can be used as work based evidence. You could be a graduate starting out in the profession with the ability to cope with the academic rigours of the programme but still require new learning opportunities and experience.  Either way, the Advanced Diploma will require hard work and determination, but our delivery methods cater for varying levels of experience and our tutors have been supporting candidates from different settings for many years.

What will motivate me to succeed?

Once you know an Advanced qualification is the correct level, you need to think about what will motivate you to succeed on the programme.  There are many reasons for getting CIPD qualified at Level 7 but probably at the top of the list is career progression.  The CIPD Level 7 Advanced Diploma in Strategic People Management or Strategic Learning Development are Masters level qualifications where you will gain the tools, techniques, the knowledge and understanding to operate at a senior level and add real value to your organisation.  You will start to really understand what your organisation is about, where it is heading, its vision, mission and strategic objectives and how they align to your role.  Our highly personalised approach to your learning means you and your employer will see improvements in your knowledge and work practices within a few months of enrolling. This is very good news for your career!

In addition, successfully achieving Level 7 means you have secured a postgraduate qualification, which is globally recognised.   Not only does it come with Associate Membership of the CIPD, it provides the eligibility criteria to apply for Chartered Membership.  In terms of the three CIPD levels it is the pinnacle of the qualification journey.  Wherever your business is based, this is a qualification to be proud of.

So what will this mean for you?  The people profession has very definite salary progression.  According to Reed’s Human Resources Salary Guide 2021, salaries for HR professionals start at £21,958 for an HR Administrator rising to around £46,300 for an HR Business Partner or L&D/Training Manager, and increasing to £73,567 for an HR Director.  The figures are average and there are obviously regional variations but progression through the profession certainly reaps financial rewards. What we know from the marketplace as well,  is that more and more employers are looking for CIPD qualifications as the differentiator between applicants. The same salary survey found that 80% of HR professionals are finding that they are receiving a higher than usual level of applications for jobs so having the ultimate CIPD qualification will help you stand out from the crowd and is a very good reason for becoming qualified at Advanced level.

The last two years have highlighted the critical role of the people profession who have been grappling with managing retention levels, furlough, change management, working from home, and learning online. The entire profession has had to step up and make a positive impact so it’s a great time to be thinking about expanding your HR knowledge and credibility.

What will I learn?

The CIPD Level 7 Diploma in Strategic People Management and the CIPD Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Learning and Development build on the CIPD Level 5 qualifications and aim to develop your strategic skills and people management practices. Not only do both qualifications prepare you for CIPD Chartered Membership, but they will also boost your personal effectiveness and business acumen.  By learning from a combination of core and specialist units, you will gain the expertise you need to build your confidence and improve your decision-making.  A Level 7 qualification is now an essential requirement for most senior people profession jobs.

The qualifications are up to date, having been launched by the CIPD in 2021 and cover hot topics in HR and L&D.  Based on the Profession Map, they set the international benchmark for the people profession. There are 8 units in total, 4 core units supporting the profession map which are common to both qualifications and 3 further specialist units relating to the diploma you have chosen.  There is also one specialist optional unit where candidates can choose from subjects such as wellbeing at work, diversity and inclusion and advanced employment law.  There are no exams, just written assignments for each unit.  See a typical learning journey.

How will I learn?

Watson Martin is one of the few CIPD centres that offers four distinct studying options so you can choose one that suits your learning needs.

Fast Track

Our Fast Track programme allows candidates to get qualified in as little as 16 months, that’s a full eight months quicker than other learning methods. However, it’s not for everyone. While this accelerated learning option offers full flexibility, it has been designed for HR and L&D practitioners who have the experience and knowledge to cope with its fast learning pace.

Workshops

If you prefer to learn with others then our online, fully interactive workshop programmes are ideal.  You will receive that extra insight and tuition from a subject expert on each unit while at the same time building your professional network. There’s no need to fear that by going online you will miss out on the traditional classroom experience. Our workshops, delivered by Zoom, are carefully planned to include breakout rooms and group exercises. They provide a great opportunity to improve your understanding of current hot topics in HR or L&D and share ideas on best practice.

100% Online

This is the most accessible and cost effective of our delivery modes and is aimed at those candidates who want to learn at their own pace from wherever they are based in the world. You can access all our learning materials, study guides and recorded content on the VLE from any device 24/7 while arranging 1:1 support sessions with your personal adviser at a time that suits you.

Tailored

Watson Martin is one of a handful of centres approved by the CIPD to offer this option for experienced people professionals. This approach allows you to use your relevant experience and work-based evidence to gain your Advanced Diploma.  Like Fast Track, it’s not for everyone, as you need to demonstrate you have sufficient current work experience to provide insightful work based evidence.   However, if you have experience under your belt and want a bespoke option tailored to your needs, this might just be the programme for you! Your personal adviser will help you identify where existing evidence can be used and support your progression through the qualification.

Support is important to me!

One thing is for sure with Watson Martin, we never just leave it up to you! The good news is that whatever delivery method you choose, you will be supported throughout your qualification by a dedicated personal tutor.  We know from speaking to students over the years, that it is this personal support from an industry expert that is most valued and can have the most impact.

So, what does our unique 1:1 support look like?  Not only will you have access to our renowned VLE for all the materials as mentioned, but you can also schedule regular 1:1s with your tutor for expert advice on each unit.  Much of this bespoke tuition is delivered on Zoom or Teams to help you really get to grips with your studies. Your adviser will support you for the duration of your programme and through 1:1s can offer the advice, guidance and study tips needed to help you succeed in your qualification.  We also offer Advanced level Q&A forums where you can ask those questions which occur as you progress through each unit. Many of our advisers remain in contact with their candidates even after they become CIPD qualified and follow their progress on LinkedIn as they climb their individual career ladders. It is wonderful to see candidates flourish in their roles and make an impact.

I would wholeheartedly recommend Watson Martin as a course provider to fellow HR professionals who are looking to expand their skills and academic knowledge in a constructive and nurturing environment. Louise Hill was an absolutely brilliant tutor to whom I am grateful for the time and insightful feedback and direction.” Mira Thow, Level 7 Candidate.

How long will it take to gain my Level 7 Diploma?

The qualification can be completed anytime from 16 to 24 months depending on the learning method you choose, which allows around two to three months per unit. Everyone’s studying pace is different depending on your ability to learn, your experience, your work and personal commitments.  Your personal tutor will always be on hand to provide advice and support if life gets in the way of your studies.

Read how our Level 7 candidate, Phoebe Barnes, achieved her Advanced Diploma in 12 months!

When can I start?

We enrol candidates on a weekly basis and the first stage is for you to complete a booking form.  We will then get in touch to check the information and arrange for an invoice to be sent out.  As soon as we receive a company purchase order, candidates will be enrolled on to the programme and set their start-up information.  We offer 12 month interest fee payments if you are self-funding your qualification.

CIPD Chartered Membership

A Level 7 CIPD qualification can provide you with incredible career opportunities.  It opens doors to promotion and generates real influence at a high level.  And, as mentioned before, it is the only qualification that can lead to CIPD Chartered Membership.  Becoming Chartered allows you to use the professional designation and letters Chartered MCIPD or Chartered FCIPD after your name. It’s a visible sign of your ability to lead strategic thinking, drive change and create value for your organisation.

Final note

We know that embarking on a CIPD Level 7qualification is not an easy decision but we hope this guide provides a comprehensive insight into what is involved.  So, if you want to be the best in your chosen career, then contact us today on 020 7932 2760 and book your personal diagnostic call with one of our specialist advisers. You can talk to someone delivering  the qualification right now, the best way to gain insight into what is expected.