January 5, 2021

The new CIPD qualifications have arrived

Introducing the new CIPD qualifications

The CIPD has spent the last few years working on the Professions for the Future which has led to some exciting changes in the world of Human Resources and Learning and Development.

In November 2018 the new Professions Map was launched which sits at the heart of the qualifications.  The standards for the Human Resources (HR) and Learning & Development (L&D) qualifications have been completely overhauled and brought up to date to equip professionals in their field to excel and thrive in today’s world.

The fundamental purpose of the people profession is to champion better work and working lives. Creating roles, opportunities, organisations and working environments that help get the best out of people, delivering great organisational outcomes, in turn driving our economies, and making good, fair and inclusive work a societal outcome.” – CIPD 2018

The next stage of Professions for the Future is to launch the new qualifications that have also been overhauled. The new qualifications are streamlined yet are broadened to include issues that matter to businesses today such as Diversity & Inclusion, Technology and Employee Wellbeing.

At DPG we have been working with the CIPD to get ready for this transition. We are particularly excited about having this opportunity to create the new materials using contemporary and innovative delivery methods. We recognise that more and more professionals want to manage their time and to be given flexibility in how and when they study. We have developed virtual learning environments enabling learners to study at their own pace whilst still having access to the Training Facilitators to support their development and progress.

The Training Facilitators at DPG are an important part of the learners’ journey as they have specialist knowledge and experience in each of the units being studied. There will be a choice of delivery methods to suit the learning styles of the individual learners putting the choice firmly in their hands. Whilst we anticipate that most learners will want to opt for a 100% remote delivery method, face to face workshops will continue to be offered to those that prefer it (pending COVID restrictions being lifted) but these may be combined with virtual classrooms allowing learners to benefit from the best of both worlds.

How are the two styles of qualifications different?

The structure is very similar to how it was previously in terms of the number of units required to be completed to achieve the Certificate or Diplomas. The most notable difference is that the first two core units of the Advanced Level Diploma (Level 7) will change from being exam based to being a time-release assessment. This means that the CIPD will release the assessment for the unit at the same time to all learners who will then be given a specified number of weeks to submit their work for marking. This will come as a huge relief to learners that have previously put off studying Level 7 due to not wanting to sit exams!

The new qualifications focus on the core purpose of the people profession and are expanded in breadth to cover a more contemporary way of working. This represents the current work style of businesses today equipping people professionals with the knowledge and skills to flourish and make a real difference in the organisations that they work.

If I am booked on to the old qualification before the new qualifications starts, will I change to the new one part-way through?

No – the new qualifications will replace the current format but learners that have commenced before they are rolled out will continue without any changes. The current qualification will remain a valid and valued standard of qualification recognised by employers worldwide.

Will there still be Levels 3, 5 and 7?

The new qualifications will continue to be offered at levels 3, 5 and 7 – these become known as Foundation, Associate and Advanced levels. The new qualifications are streamlined so there will be fewer actual qualifications (reducing from 17 to just 5 across the 3 levels).

Level 3 Foundation Certificate in People Practice

Previously 6 separate qualifications, this now becomes a single qualification that combines HR and L&D. This qualification introduces the learner to a wide range of relevant knowledge and expertise in people practice. It is suited to individuals who:

  • are studying, aspiring to, or embarking on, a career in people practice
  • are working in a people practice support role and wish to develop their knowledge and deliver immediate and short-term value for their organisation
  • wish to develop the specialist knowledge, skills and understanding required to be a people professional.

It consists of 5 core units aligned to the core knowledge and behaviour standards of the Profession Map at Foundation level.

Level 5 Associate Diploma in People Management

Previously 7 separate qualifications this reduces to 2 Diploma size qualifications – 1 in People Management and 1 in Learning & Development

This qualification extends and fosters a deeper level of understanding and application and naturally progresses learners’ expertise in People Practice. It is suited to individuals who:

  • are aspiring to, or embarking on, a career in people management
  • are working in a people practice role and wish to contribute their knowledge and skills to help shape organisational value
  • are working towards or working in a People Manager role.

It consists of 3 core units, 3 specialist units plus 1 optional unit.

Level 7 Advanced Diploma in Strategic People Management

Previously 4 separate qualifications this reduces to 2 Advance Diploma size qualifications – 1 in People Management and 1 in Learning & Development.

This qualification provides learners with a distinct and deep level of understanding which naturally progresses their expertise and supports a transition to strategic people management roles. It is suited to individuals who:

  • are experienced people practitioners
  • are working in a senior people practice role and wish to extend and deepen their skills and understanding to shape strategy, policy and people
  • wish to shape people practice creating value for a wide audience.

It consists of 4 core units, 3 specialist units and 1 optional unit

You can enrol on the new HR qualifications from January 2021 and the new L&D qualifications from March 20201.

Explore our courses today and accelerate your career in to the People Profession.


This post was written by expert CIPD facilitator Theresa Mayne.