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Eleanor Hudgell

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Qualifications for L&D professionals


How many of us hold (or are considering working towards) qualifications in L&D or training and do what value do we place on these? Do clients and employers see a qualification as desirable or necessary, or is it more important that we can 'talk the talk'? I'd be really interested to hear what everyone thinks, and if we think that qualifications are likely to become more standard in our industry in the future...

11 Responses

  1. Useful qualifications for T&D


    Hi this is a regular question mainly due to the fact that there is no single body, institution or association which represents or encompasses all or most trainers and which sets standards for all stages and roles of  training and development. 
    My approach, and one that clients responded well to, was to take a route which combines the practical development of best practice within a rigorous academic framework. In 2000 I completed a master’s degree in Human Resource Strategy. The research for this paper was generated by my involvement as leader of a project to transform an HR department and redefine the training processes within that department which supported a global population in excess of 30,000. Whenever clients of employers have asked for FCIPD or equivalent this has been accepted as such.  
    In 2004 I started research for a Doctorate in education looking at the way organisations structure and manage internal training including the ongoing evaluation and development of trainers.
    In addition to being practical this approach provides access to hundreds of potential suppliers from the expanding list of colleges and universities instead of the handful of industry suppliers of "trainer qualifications". A university qualification is well known to the public and clients whereas, with the possible exception of the CIPD, all of the other suppliers are not well known outside of the training world. 
  2. Qualifications for L&D

     I have loads of paper based qualifications and I have NEVER been asked to prove them once for any position, whether it is for a perm, interim or consultant role.  Sort of makes mw want to cry at the money I have spent getting a bit of paper when I could have got more experience by attending non-acredited CPD events to broaden my outlook.

    Surely it is about what you do that counts – not the university that you went to?


  3. As normal it depends…

    on what career you are aiming for.

    So far the qualifications that have been mentioned are good if you are in a consultant/manager role.

    I’m a trainer – so neither of those are relevant enough for my day-to-day role.

    For most of the jobs that I’ve applied for, there’s been a request for TAP, the most well-known of the ‘stand-up’ training certifications. I’ve completed it, but very few have asked to see my actual certificate.

    I’ve chosen, because I’ve been curious, to pursue a couple of others (LFT from Happy, and ROLF which is no longer avilable). Because I’ve chosen to specialise in desktop apps, I’ve also completed the MOS, ECDL & IC3 certificates – taking them upto their own Instructor level. Again I haven’t been asked for them – but is certainly doesn’t hurt my CV.

    Since TAP seems, for me, to be the most popular, I’ve chosen to follow their pathway and have recently completed the TAP Master Diploma and I’m just about to start on their new Foundation Degree with the University of Chester.

    The other ‘higher level’ courses, have always seemed to me to be aimed towards the HR side – which doesn’t cover my role.

    I enjoy learning new things, and work towards qualifications because I’m interesting in learning – so far most of my interviews have looked and maybe mentioned qualifications, but most of the time I’ve been asked to give a sample training session – and that’s what has got me the role.

    Pieces of paper can be nice, but being able to do the job, I think, is more important.

    — Michelle Kaye IT Trainer Boodle Hatfield

  4. Context Matters I Think

    I think it depends on context. If you are self employed then I doubt that any qualification other than perhaps accreditation for the use of certain psychometrics is of much interest to any potential client. On the other hand if you are seeking employment then they definitely do play a part. And by far and away the most sort after qualification requested by employees is CIPD based, typically Certificate level. To confirm this just look at adverts and search through them and do a five bar gate exercise totting up which qualifications are requested.
  5. Qualifications

    Good discusison, some clarifications:  

    Andrew wrote – "Surely it is about what you do those counts – not the university that you went to?"

    My point was that the qualifications I took were valuable in that they developed my capability and that this has been recognised. If CIPD provided a similar route this would be great.

    Michelle wrote – So far the qualifications that have been mentioned are good if you are in a consultant/manager role. I’m a trainer – so neither of those are relevant enough for my day-to-day role.

    Based on the feedback I receive from attendees and clients I have become a better trainer because of the university based qualifications I referred to so I feel these are totally relevant to trainers and their day to day practice. The courses required me to carry out extensive research into learning, teaching, instruction, memory, motivation, evaluation and assessment to name a few.  I addition I then had to apply this research to very practical, day to day training situations and challenges.       

    And from Garry – and by far and away the most sort after qualification requested by employees is CIPD based, typically Certificate level.

    I assume this was supposed to read employers? This is quite true but the number who accept non CIPD applicants is very high. The wording you see most is desirable or CIPD or equivalent.

    Cheers, Nick



  6. Advice Needed

    With all those qualifications and skills and experience you would be ideally placed to help some of the people who post questions on this forum.

    I would be very interested to see your opinions on Training matters rather than how many qualifications you have.

    There are hundreds of questions on here with maybe 1 or 2 answers from the same 3 or 4 people. I for one find discussing Training with other Trainers outside my organisation really helpful so I hope to see more of your thoughts soon!

    Thanks and regards


  7. Agreed

    Hi Steve, if you check back in the archived answers you will see plenty of contributions and I will continue to offer my opinions gladly.  Like many regular contributors who you find in the TZ archives there are periods when I am not able to write so much and times when I reply to a lot of questions.

    There are many more members than contributors and it would be nice to see many more names each week. Maybe people are put off by thinking that what they have to say will not be useful but I find most of he contributions helpful in that they ask me to review what I think and on that basis everyone should feel able to  contribute.

    I believe in the idea of a professional community that shares its experience freely and I have certainly benefitted from this myself over the years as many generous and wise people have shared their learning with me.

    I will be contributing two days in May to support TZ live and am looking forward to meeting many excellent practitioners.    

    Qualifications, in themselves do not mean that any answers I provide will be of any use. The use I have put my qualifications to as provided me with a lot of enjoyable and valuable experiences that I have sought to learn from and it is this learning that I will continue to share.   






  8. A view from both ‘sides’

    I have a Masters degree in Management Development & Training. I undertook this qualification for myself, though was lucky enough to have it fully funded by my employer at the time. I chose the course and the university, with no criteria imposed by my employer other than it be related to training.

    To be honest, I didn’t care so much about the actual qualification as I did the actual learning. I thoroughly enjoyed this 2 year part time experience. Did it make much difference to my employment?

    You bet!

    Before I finished my masters I was made redundant. Before I was able to put on my CV that I had successfully completed this course and could put the letters ‘MSc’ after my name I was experiencing approx 80% rejection rate in my application for jobs. The day after the University formally told me I could put these letters after my name I saw a flip – approx 70-80% of my applications were resulting in offers to come to interview – a total reversal literally overnight.


    Now 10 years later I find myself involved in recruiting an L&D manager, and more widely, in recruiting and on-boarding a significant number of sales people. For us, signs of being able to think more expansively, cognitively and strategically carry a high degree of weight. We need people to think beyond ‘just’ selling or ‘just’ providing training & development. We need people to be comfortable looking 3-5 years ahead, and to see the implications of their actions and inactions beyond their assigned role.

    So we look at the qualifications, at the likely experience they had, which specific courses and universities they attended – not all masters courses are created equal! I chose my masters because it had very little taught content – it was by research and reading, analysing & synthesising arguments and then expressing them clearly in academic reports  that we were assessed, not by exams. I wasn’t interested so much in a memory test and conforming my answers to some notional, arbitrary though relevant standard or view of the world, as you typically find with standards-based courses. I specifically went for a course that was truly about developing critical thinking skills. There were few of these courses around in 1999 when I started, and I’m guessing not much has changed. Yet we find now a growing need for such capabilities in people.


    As others have said, it depends on context!





  9. ‘CIPD Qualified’

    Nick wrote: " – the number who accept non CIPD applicants is very high. The wording you see most is desirable or CIPD or equivalent."

    Actually the wording I mostly see is: ‘CIPD Qualified’.

  10. For training it seesm to be moslty CIPD or equivalent

    Hi Garry, I think for the HR generlaist roles this is probably true but for most L&D roles they have no specific qualificaiton listed or mentino adn equivalent, the following are typical from people management:   

    L&D Manager – you will be CIPD qualified or equivalent 
    Learning and Development Officer- You will hold your Certificate in Training Practice or equivalent level
    Management Development Officer – You will be CITP qualified or have a similar training qualification 
    Talent&Learning Manager–Financial Services experience required – CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel Development) qualifications or equivalent
    All the best.
  11. CIPD

    Yes, I have just clocked these: CITP Qualified ~ CIPD Qualification Desirable ~ Recognised CIPD Qualification ~ Must be a corporate member of CIPD ~ Holds a relevant CIPD qualification.

    It’s also interesting to note that at the Centre Conference in Nottingham last June CIPD presented data that indicated that recruiters for Developmental Roles advertising in ‘People Management’ still viewed CIPD 90% of the time as the preferred qualification.

    But then again these advertisers are using ‘People Management’ as the vehicle for advertising.

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