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Seb Anthony

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training without qualifications


I am about to start a new role with the same company as a snr L&D adviser. I have been working in L&D for 4 years, starting off as an administrator when I left university. I want to progress in L&D, but I don't have any relevant qualifications and my company is not willing to pay(which isn't the issue, it's the time off!) or allow me the time off to study towards them, it seems they are more than happy to let me plod along without any qualifications, so much so that their attitude towards developing their own staff leaves a lot to be desired! Do you think this would hold me back in applying for L&D management positions in the future? Are qualifications what potential recruiters look for?

9 Responses

  1. Experience counts
    Hi lj

    Qualifications are always good to have. I did my CIPD certificate in training practice, but I personally think that in the L&D environment an employer will take experience and personal skill over a qualification. If you can prove that you have positively impacted a company through training and development then other companies will think “could they do that for us?”

    Hope this helps

    Best Wishes


  2. Not really
    I’d been working in L&D and moving between contracts for a good long while before I gained any specific qualifications.

    I didn’t find employers particularly fussed either way and have never been asked for a copy of the certificate since either.

    To be honest, potential recruiters that care about the job will ask about the results and impacts your learning events have had.

    Finally I will add that I didn’t find the courses I took particularly useful for developing my skills either.

  3. Training Qualifications
    Hi LJ

    I too was in the same psition as you a few years ago. I had been doing training as an ‘add on’ to my role and then stepped into a full time training role. All this in the same organisation without any issues. Training is a job that you can do without a qualification as it is more about being able to talk to a group of people and them understand what you are talking about in order to use it in the workplace (in my opinion).

    I did, however, undertake an NVQ 4 in Learner Development after two years in the job because I wanted to and no other reason. This maybe aroute for you as it requires little or no time off from work and if you do it with a provider that is accredited by the CIPD it will provide you with Licentiate Membership of the CIPD which is more than adequate for the majority of training positions out there.

  4. Qualifications can give Confidence
    Hi LJ

    All I have to add to the other comments is that gaining a qualification can increase your confidence in your worth in the market. I had been working for 1 organisation for a 12 years in an L&D environment, but felt I couldn’t move on. Having completed my CTP at night school I have found myself a job closer to home paying more money!

    Good Luck with whatever you do

  5. Training qualifications
    When speaking to people from around the world it is interesting that some relate the term trainer strongly to animal training. For these folk the term instructor is used for a person who trains people in the work place as opposed to a teacher who works in schools.

    Naturally instructors must know their subject to be able to instruct it and this often requires some form of accreditation and or qualification. Instruction also usually often involves a lot of telling and showing.

    Training, as I like to understand it is much more. It is about the facilitation of effective learning.

    In this definition there are some people are very natural trainers. Their main focus is the learning of their participants and not their own performance as a presenter or instructor.

    If you have a natural feel for the facilitation of learning you can look forward to a long and satisfying career in training.

    The presence of a qualification or membership to a specific benchmarking body will not necessarily make you a better trainer though it will certainly speed up the rate at which you are accepted and get through certain doors into work or jobs.

    I took a very different route as my first formal qualification about learning was a master’s degree which enabled me to research many models and techniques of learning. I busted quite a few myths and generated some very useful models for myself which I still use today.

    This qualification was accepted by all those I have worked with; it got me through the door at least.

    If you have other qualifications of a more technical nature linked to a specific industry or profession these too can be very helpful when seeking work in these areas.

    The most powerful convincer, once through the door is the ability to show that I you can deliver the goods. As an associate consultant I developed several short training sessions which would show all of the required criteria. In this way I was tailoring to my audience as I always aim to and it was successful 100% of the time.

    Also very helpful are testimonials and referees who can attest to you effectiveness as a trainer. Start recording these as soon as possible.

    All the best with your plans.


  6. As with all things – it depends !
    There are many answers to your question but to keep it brief, CIPD certification is one route, no quals but gain experience and a ‘reputation’ is another route (i.e. do a fantastic job and create case studies that you get published in the HR/HRD press to raise your profile over the next 2/3 years), or (if money isn’t the issue but time is) do a part time MSc in Training (or Training & HRM) with the Center for Labour Market Studies (CLMS) at Leicester University would be another option worth looking at.

    Having recruited senior managers for international HR and HRD posts in the past, it used to depend on experience and qualifications (usually in that order!), but let’s get a bit real, if you are a head of training or a training manager etc of a medium or large organisation, and you go to an interview and cannot demonstrate having developed your own knowledge or skill set in the past 5 years (continuous professional development), the question in the recruiters mind will be ‘how good will this person be at developing the if they are not motivated enough to develop their own knowledge, beliefs, behaviours and skills?! Sorry, all that sounds rather general, but it depends on what your long term aspirations are.

  7. Qualifications that can help the business too
    As an L&D Manager of some 10 years (now freelance L&D Analyst), I’m a great advocate of going down the NVQ route. While CIPD is still seen as the ‘major’ qualification route, there is less scope for us L&D specialists to progress down that route hence going for the NVQs. You’ve said your job is Snr L&D advisor so I assume you’re not going to be just a ‘trainer’ but also doing some advisng to the business? If so, you might want to look at the NVQ level 4 as a starter in the planning and management of L&D then progressing onto level 5 strategic planning. As it seems that only time is an issue for your employer, I completed my level 5 through professional discussions and doing some internet research in my own time so the only time cost to the business was for three 2 hour meetings with my advisor. I’m now able to use the experience to work with all my clients both public and private who don’t seem bothered I can’t get past CIPD licentiate level even though I have the equivalent of a masters degree!
    If you’d more info on the provider I used etc, let me know.


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