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Jon Kennard


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TrainingZone interviews: DPG’s Sarah Aubrey

Sarah Aubrey

With an 18% increase in the amount of student members in 2013-2014, getting CIPD-qualified is at the forefront of many HR and L&D professionals’ minds. We interviewed Sarah Aubrey, Managing Director of DPG, to find out why.

Why do you think there has been an increase in student CIPD members?

Getting CIPD-qualified has long been a priority for those setting out on, or developing, their career paths in HR. Being CIPD-qualified or working towards it is often a pre-requisite in many job adverts and increased job mobility heightens this too.

The CIPD are also working hard to repair their relationship with the L&D community which is great to see. For too long the CIPD biased their attention towards HR, leaving many L&D professionals feeling disenfranchised. Greater collaboration with L&D and the launch of the new, forward looking L&D professional standards in early 2015 is increasing the demand from the L&D community.

We often hear that people find the CIPD qualification offering and membership routes confusing. Do you agree?

Yes. People know they want to get CIPD-qualified but often don’t know where to start. We have been working hard over the last five years to ease the confusion and arm people with the information needed to achieve their goals. The free 'Look Before you Book' guide provides the inside track on what to look for when choosing a CIPD provider. This is the first important step. The provider then provides the tailored support and guidance to ensure you join the right qualification programme for you.

Can you summarise the benefits of getting CIPD qualified?

There are many benefits but I would say the top three are:

  • Being equipped with the knowledge, skills and behaviours that employers’ value.

  • Maximising earning potential e.g. Research shows that individuals with professional qualifications stand to earn £81,000 in additional earning over a lifetime (CCPMO Economic Impact Report, December 2008).

  • Recognition of contribution from the largest HR & L&D professional body and the raft of benefits CIPD membership brings.

Tell us about a performance based approach to designing CIPD qualifications.

All DPG's CIPD programmes are designed to leverage individual and organisational performance. Our success comes from equipping participants with business acumen so they can add immediate value back in their workplaces. We do this through immersive learning experiences both online and in workshops. On any of our programmes our participants become secondees in true to life organisations and every learning interaction is based around this. Knowledge is one thing, being able to apply it in a business context is something else.

Ultimately, performance is in our DNA. We focus our efforts on meeting and exceeding employer’s needs. If one of my team undertakes a professional programme I expect them to come back better equipped to drive performance in our business.

How would you respond to those who say they don’t see the value of CIPD qualifications and have survived for many years without needing to become a CIPD member?

There are many highly experienced and successful HR and L&D professionals who have never needed to become CIPD qualified. However, average lifespans of roles within organisations are decreasing and we are seeing that when faced with moving from one organisation to the next, a CIPD qualification is typically asked for.

I also think that CIPD qualifications provide a benchmark for practice and provide insight in to what ‘good practice’ looks like. Benchmarking internal practice against those from leading, global organisations is a healthy thing.  

Sarah Aubrey is Managing Director of DPG plc

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Jon Kennard

Freelance writer

Read more from Jon Kennard

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