This is the firmest foundation for your career in the people profession, incorporating both HR and L&D. Develop your skills by facing real-life challenges. Learn to act with confidence, perform effectively, drive change in your organisation and progress in your career.

Is this qualification right for me?

This qualification is perfect for you if you’re ready to make your mark on the profession. It won’t just help you get started – it’ll give you a head start, too. This is ideal for anyone embarking on a career in people practice, or for those already in a support role and looking to take the next step on the ladder.

A Foundation Certificate typically takes between 8-12 months to complete, depending on how and where you choose to study.

What will I learn?

You’ll study 4 core units:

  • Business, culture and change in context
  • Principles of analytics
  • Core behaviours for people professionals
  • Essentials of people practice

What level of CIPD membership will I gain?

Once you’re registered for a qualification, you’ll need to join the CIPD as a Student Member from the start of your studies. It’s essential to maintain your Student Membership until your studies are completed. Your CIPD membership and qualification work together to ensure your knowledge is recognised both inside and outside the people profession.

Through membership, we will support and encourage you throughout your studies. You'll gain access to our lowest membership rate (fees are 40% reduced for Student Members) as well as extensive study resources and the opportunity to build your network through our local branches, online communities and student conferences.

When you complete your qualification, you’ll be awarded CIPD Foundation Membership, and the designation “Foundation CIPD” after your name. This starts to build your credibility in the people profession, shows you’re serious about your development and that you have a strong base of knowledge to build on.

What are my study options?

With a CIPD qualification, you can choose from online, face to face, and blended study modes, with the option to study part-time (2-20 hours per week) or full-time (21+hours per week). This flexibility lets you fit your study around your other commitments.


All tuition, content and resources are delivered online. This can either be live, where tuition is delivered at set times with classroom interaction and online resources, or on-demand, with self serve course content and resources.

Online communities

Face to face

All tuition, content and resources are taught and provided to you in person, often in a classroom style setting.

Employment law


Blended study is a mix of face to face tuition, with additional online interactions, content and resources.

Local branch network

Tailored programmes

Designed only for experienced people professionals. It combines evidence of your own relevant workplace practice, with tailored learning and assessment content, to gain your qualification. To be considered for a tailored programme, you need to demonstrate you have sufficient workplace experience to cover at least 50% of what is taught in your chosen qualification syllabus.


The Foundation Certificate in People Practice is Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) Level 3 in England and Northern Ireland. Credit and Qualifications Framework (CQFW) Level 3 in Wales. Comparable to Level 5 in Ireland, Level 6 in Scotland, Level 4 European Qualifications Framework (EQF). Find out more.