Congratulations to Izabela Rychter, our new Candidate of the Quarter. Izabela is about to receive her Level 7 Advanced Diploma in Strategic People Management having taken only 11 months to complete the two year programme! Working full time and with English as a second language, we think Izabela is a worthy recipient of our Candidate of the Quarter Award which recognises the hard work and personal dedication of individuals. Here she tells her story and shares the secrets of her success.
“I’m originally from Poland and moved to the UK eight years ago. I started working in administration for different companies before getting a job with PepsiCo first as an HR Operations Coordinator and then moving into a Talent Acquisition role. I worked at Amazon as an HR Assistant in a very data driven role before joining Astellas Pharma Europe, a global pharmaceutical company with a UK base in Surrey. Here I am part of the HR Business Partner (HRBP) team, and our scope is Europe, Australia and Canada. I’ve just been promoted as an Employee Relations Specialist.
Choosing a provider
Before I started my Diploma, I contacted a few CIPD centres and Monika, the adviser at Watson Martin, stood out because she was so helpful, answering all my questions and giving me lots of information. I believe people matter and if someone treats you well at the start then the whole process is likely to be successful and this was the case with Watson Martin. I made a really good decision choosing Watson Martin and can definitely recommend the company to others considering studying for their CIPD.
I was terrified at the start of the programme because I finished university over 10 years ago and had never studied in the UK so I really didn’t understand the process. Right from the start my adviser Ally Weeks believed in me and it was this belief that helped to build my confidence and encouraged me to work harder.
Working with my CIPD tutor
Ally suggested starting with one of the specialist modules to see how I got on after which we were able to create a study plan which provided a structure for the rest of the programme. I am well organised so having deadlines was very important to me. We agreed the timing for the moderation windows, so I knew when I had to submit each assignment. Ally’s direction was massively helpful and enabled me to progress quickly. She also convinced me to choose Diversity and Inclusion for my optional module which I have absolutely fallen in love with! Building diverse and inclusive workplaces and making people’s lives better in a way they can be themselves at work is something that I would love to be involved in and is a short term goal.
I found Watson Martin’s online workshops were incredibly helpful – they give you a different perspective and are great for networking. From the workshops, we set up a Whatsapp group which we used for questions and for a peer check on the challenges we were all facing at the same time.
There’s a lot of reading on the programme and I was worried that I would find the online VLE complicated to use but it was so easy and straightforward to navigate. I really liked the way that for every module there is recommended reading, learning objectives, recommendations for workshops and a study guide which I loved! I’m like a detective and enjoy digging for information. Once I have read an interesting piece of research, I start reading more about the topic. The VLE is great for this. It’s like a small library with everything in one place!
My company-funded programme
The company paid for my programme and my manager has been very supportive allowing me lots of flexibility and time off for studying. Completing the modules at a pace has been hard work but it’s worth it. Before I started the programme, I didn’t know how all the different aspects of HR were connected. The qualification has expanded my knowledge and has helped to join the dots. It has also created so many networking opportunities throughout the company and has led to my promotion.
I also feel much more confident about my work. Although I may be lacking HR experience, I have so much knowledge and can now understand the different processes involved. I feel the doors will start to open in my new role and having the Level 7 qualification will support me as I progress in my career.
My tips for success to others are to be organised and to be very disciplined with your time. It’s important to structure a study plan, I have my own Excel document, so I know when the moderation windows are and when the workshops take place. Have time for study but also remember to build in time to relax.
Ally Weeks, Izabela’s adviser comments:
Izabela is so humble and self-deprecating; however, I see a strong future for her in the world of HR. She has been working full time but has powered through the modules and will have finished all eight within 11-12 months. Her reference list/bibliography for each module is so strong with a wide breadth of reading. She is very receptive to critique and feedback and acts on it all.
“Izabela has a great deal of humility and inner strength. I see a promising future for her in whatever she decides to do but hopefully it will be in the HR profession.”