Becky Sparks switched career to study the CIPD Foundation Diploma in L&D with us – just 6 weeks after completing her course she landed her first L&D job! Read about her HR and L&D study experience and how she has delivered a number of coaching and mentoring sessions since getting qualified.
Why did you choose to study with Acacia Learning?
I chose to study with Acacia Learning as the course was run on the weekends which meant I could continue working full time in the week. They are a well-established company with a good reputation. Also I wanted a course with Tutor and Peer contact, rather than face to face and Acacia provided both options.
Which qualification did you study with us?
I studied the CIPD Level 3 Diploma in Learning and Development.
How did you study with us?
I attended classes at Birkbeck College one weekend every month and completed my Diploma in 6 months.
Why did you choose to study your current qualification?
I chose to study for the Learning and Development qualification as I was looking to switch careers away from Teaching and into Training or Learning and Development and knew that this qualification would enable me to be taken more seriously by the ‘business community’, also this course and Acacia Learning are recognised through the CIPD.
What did you enjoy most about the course and studying with Acacia Learning?
I gained a huge amount of knowledge and insight from the Tutors and other learners on my course, particularly as some of them were already working in Learning and Development. The course had a lot of practical as well as theoretical content so you come away with ‘well rounded’ knowledge and the modules are up to date as there were modules in E-Learning and Coaching.
Did you have a favourite module?
I particularly enjoyed the module on Coaching as I had heard and read a lot about Coaching before starting the course, so it was really useful to be able to gain further insight here and to carry out an ‘actual’ coaching session with a fellow student. It was good that this module was included as more and more companies are using Coaching as a training tool.
How did you find the Tutor support throughout the course?
My Tutor – Janine Waldman was very friendly and knowledgeable. She really tapped into the prior knowledge of the ‘learners’ and didn’t make you feel as though you were ‘back at school’ being talked at by a Teacher. The sessions involved lots of group tasks which enabled you to share ideas and also involved tasks that were linked to the assignments so that you felt better prepared for them. The Admin team were also really helpful and would respond quickly to any questions that you had.
How did you find Acacia course materials and study locations?
For me the commute to Birkbeck College was fine – it is handy that Acacia had chosen a location in Central London. The course handbook was really useful and easy to follow and work with, with lots of theoretical information, as well as practical tips, all of which were relevant and up to date. The training rooms were a good size, and there was a nice lawn area at the front of the college so that you could sit outside and enjoy your lunch in the sun!
How has the course benefited your current role/career?
On completing the course, about 6 weeks later I landed my first role within Learning and Development! My Diploma definitely helped to open the door here as many companies do require a qualification that is recognised through the CIPD.
How have you applied your learning to your job role?
In my previous role I had to plan and deliver a number of sessions about Mentoring as the company were looking to set up a ‘buddy’ system between new and experienced staff. Here I used one of the coaching models that I had learnt about on the course and relied heavily on the course handbook to put together a list of tips and techniques for staff to use on effective Mentoring. I also found the topics on adult learning theory really useful as it reminded me to make sure that what I was delivering was of immediate relevance and use to my learners.
Do you have any plans for future study?
A few months on and I found that I wanted to keep on learning! I have just completed an online course in People Management Skills and have taken part in a number of webinars on Mentoring as these are two areas that I am particularly passionate about.
Would you recommend Acacia Learning?
“I would highly recommend Acacia Learning! The Tutors and Team are very friendly, helpful and knowledgeable, the courses are run via a number of different pathways so offer flexibility for those who are working full time and the courses are all recognised through the CIPD!” Becky Sparks