August 3, 2020

Meet Our New HR Record Breaker Lucy Warman

Lucy Warman completed the Level 5 HR Diploma with DPG in record breaking time, beating our previous record holder Robert Pender by 23 days.

It took Lucy just 70 days to complete his Human Resource Diploma including all assessments and marking from DPG’s expert facilitators.

We interviewed Lucy about her DPG experience and we hope this inspires our future learners to take on the challenge and get CIPD Qualified with DPG.

A little bit about Lucy

I have a passion for the hospitality and service industry and am people focused.  Driven and highly organised, I am motivated by achievement and thrive on supporting people at work and contributing to business goals, be it through HR, recruitment or training.

Upon graduation, I started my career in hospitality, as a Restaurant Manager at Center Parcs.  I was then promoted to Assistant Food & Beverage Manager, an operational role with responsibility for HR, recruitment and training of the division (11 restaurants and bars and 300 staff)  I received lots of management training and became a qualified company trainer.  I joined Norwegian Cruise Lines as a Maitre D’ then again promoted to Assistant F&B Manager.  Returning to land I moved into luxury hotels (Babington House and Lucknam Park) in Personnel & Training Manager roles (as well as a short stint as Deputy General Manager at Babington House) My last employed role, before I set up my business was as HR & Training Manager within food retail at The Cornish Bakery.

What is your role and your experience in the industry?

4 years ago, I set up “Surge Ahead Ltd”  My aim was to provide HR, recruitment and training support to SME’s.  I initially had some HR contracts, until the function was taken in house and I also provided ad hoc management training in service based businesses.  Organically, Surge Ahead then became much more focused on recruitment, initially within hospitality and latterly across all sectors.  I like to challenge the often poor reputation of recruiters by providing an exceptionally personal and professional experience for both clients and candidates and feel that my experience in both operational management and HR and training makes me credible and able to relate to the challenges every party faces.

What made you decide to complete the CIPD L5 HR Qualification with DPG?

As Covid-19 hit and recruitment understandably was hugely affected, I took the decision to furlough.  Having never not worked, and my teenage daughter not requiring huge support with home-schooling, I needed something else to focus on.  I had been procrastinating for years over getting HR qualified to match my experience within HR and decided it was the perfect time to do it.  I thoroughly enjoy all aspects of working in HR and my previous generalist experience gave me a good grounding in all areas.  Knowing full well that I had the inclination and drive to dedicate a lot of time to the course, the flexibility with DPG (along with the half price offer!) made it more appealing than other providers.  I was also impressed with the speed at which my initial enquiry was responded to, as well as all the information provided.  It sealed my decision when I was able to preview the learning system and as a Trainer myself, I really liked the fictional client scenarios, particularly useful as being an owner- operator of my own business, I did not have my own organisation to base assessments on.

How has your experience studying with DPG been?

I was very impressed at the speed of response from my initial enquiry and how easy it was to get set up. It was nice to be able to have a dedicated LEC to speak to if issues arose.  I loved the layout of the course with elessons and then client and consultancy challenge followed by assessments. The LMS was easy to use and I liked the layout.

How did you find the support from your facilitator? 

 I only really needed help twice from a Facilitator, once in the very early stages when I was confused about referencing and Tamasin came quickly to my rescue and was absolutely amazing, so helpful, friendly and totally reassuring and again at the end when I was having issues with being able to view a marked assessment and again Tamasin was on hand to sort this out immediately.  My dealings with Jenni in the live webinar I took part in were also really positive and I felt the facilitators were supportive and approachable.  I liked that there were totally unobtrusive but that you knew that they were on hand should you need any support.

How useful was the feedback from your assessors?

Thankfully, I only referred on one assessment (EML) and the feedback given on what I needed to do was very detailed, and I was able to resubmit this within about 2 hours. My LEC did request a couple of times that all the Assessors prioritise marking my assessments from the half way point, as I didn’t want to have finished the course still waiting for several assessments to be marked. I really appreciated that Pamela and Tamasin in particular were able to do this.

How did you use the DPG Community throughout the course of your programme? 

I’ll admit, I am a bit of a solo studier and once I knew what I was doing was happiest just getting on with it myself.  I purposely chose not to read too much opinion anywhere, other than that of the facilitators.  I did join one webinar – the live webinar on DVP with Jenni and Tamasin and it was lovely to see them.  It gave the feeling of “not being alone”   I found it very useful for the first assessment and it was a great forum for students to be able to ask questions and to hear from others in the same position.  I would definitely have watched other webinars if I had felt the need but once I started everything just flowed for me.  I also used the module group pages in the Community to check for useful resources when I came to the assessment.  I admit to not actively looking to connect with anyone earlier on, as I wanted to focus purely on study.

Approximately how much time did you have to put in each week to get it done in 70 days?

I put in between 40 and 50 hours per week and did just under a module a week.  I essentially substituted my normal working day with studying.  Typically, I worked anywhere between 6 and 11 hours per day, depending on how much I got into modules (I loved UIN, so did long days on this!).  I finished the course in 50 days, but then waited for the last couple of assessments to be marked.

 How did you manage a work-life balance while studying? 

Very easily, the same as when I work. Although it seems like I would have had no life, I had no work to juggle with the course and no small children to entertain.  As we were also in lockdown, there wasn’t anything social that I was missing out on, as nobody could go anywhere or do anything!  I wanted to get the course done whilst life was essentially on hold, when we were unable to go out due to lockdown and whilst I could not work.  I also wanted to get it done before the school holidays so that I could spend that time with my daughter. Apart from a few 11pm finishes (the UIN bug ? ). I rarely studied past 8pm and I never studied at the weekend.  I found it easy to fit into normal life (and have a husband who is happy to cook!).  Utilising strong time management and organisation skills helped, along with a determined but flexible attitude.

What are the highlights/success stories that stand out while studying this course? Any key moments?

My highlights were definitely getting the feedback from assessments  and only referring on one.  I had butterflies in my stomach each time I had an email to say the feedback was received! Submitting each assessment felt a great achievement, and even more so passing them.   At the very end of the course, I also connected with a couple of ladies that have become great friends and I am enjoying supporting them through the course as they juggle many more commitments than I had. Aside from obtaining my advanced food safety and H&S, I haven’t studied since graduation (a long time ago) so studying successfully again (and getting my head back round Harvard referencing!) was a real achievement.

What advice would you give to anyone wishing to study CIPD L5 with DPG?

My advice would be to use all the support that is there – the webinars, all the resources given throughout the elessons and in the community, the facilitators and if (unlike me!) you work better with others, use the community to connect and share with study buddies! Work at a pace that suits your life, but try to structure study time into your weeks, break everything down bit by bit, don’t panic and if in doubt, there is always someone willing to help in the community so just ask.

What are your next steps now you have this qualification?

I am looking to add more HR and L&D work to my business alongside recruitment.  I will be looking for more contracts and projects, as I love variety.  I enjoy working with and supporting other businesses and I always carry out my work as if I am an employee of my client.  I am also not adverse to retuning to employment, doing the right role, that is interesting and challenging and somewhere I feel I can make an impact is the most important thing for me.

Congratulations once again to Lucy! Feel up to the challenge? Take a look at our qualifications here.