I am now confident that I have a globally recognised qualification, which puts me in good stead for any future career development opportunities and is a hallmark of quality for provisional employers.

Matt Nickels

Area Human Resources Manager, Sika Services, Middle East

Case study

What made you decide to undertake the Experience Assessment route to CIPD membership?

I’d describe my life as work hard, dad hard. I was very keen to obtain CIPD membership as the CIPD are set to become the standard bearer for people management in the Middle East. As a working dad, the Experience Assessment route helped me achieve full CIPD membership in a fast-track & flexible manner, balancing my work and family life whilst celebrating my achievements in my current role with Sika. HR is still finding its true identity in the middle-east but I feel that with the growing support and influence of the CIPD within the region employers will growingly be seeking out practitioners with the CIPD qualification as a hallmark of quality.

Is there anything about the Experience Assessment process that you particularly liked or found particularly challenging?

The assessment experience acted not just as a personal assessment for me personally but also as a health check for the organisation. The 360 feedback and interview with the CIPD assessor helped us benchmark what progress we had made against international standards and was reassuring in that respect but moreover provided the platform for areas of the company where people management initiatives and activities could take our business and my personal development to the next level.

The case study was an interesting challenge. It required me to think outside my current organisational and geographical boundaries. The time limits set may seem intimidating at first however brings a whole new dimension to the challenge. Being able to present a coherent and business focused solution, effectively against the clock added authenticity to the challenge and demanded the application of an more diverse set of skills.

What would you say are the benefits of undertaking Experience Assessment?

The benefits of undertaking the experience assessment specifically over the study route include flexibility and the ability to fast-track especially beneficial if you are required to balance demands of work and family (a common challenge for many ex-pats whose family support network is overseas). Even the interview assessment was completed over Skype at my convenience.

As the assessment is more personal and assesses what you are personally achieving within your organisation the feedback and awareness you develop as a result of the process is much more relevant & contextual to both you and your organisation. Involvement of colleagues in supporting your application, led to an enriching dialogue that resulted in a better understanding of multiple perspectives of what each of us were trying to achieve for the organisation and how it fitted together.

In general the CIPD qualification of course raises your profile with employers, especially international organisations at this time and is a stamp of quality improving your career prospects and earning potential.

What has been the impact for you of successfully completing your Experience Assessment?

The successful completion of the Experience Assessment has provided better understanding and clarity of my strengths and areas I can consider for development against the CIPD Profession Map.

Longer-term I am now confident that I have a globally recognised qualification, which puts me in good stead for any future career development opportunities and is a hallmark of quality for provisional employers. Potentially I will relocate to Europe or the UK in the future and the CIPD qualification is an indication to employers that I have kept up to date and successfully pushed best practice people management initiatives despite working and living overseas for almost a decade.

What advice would you give to someone who was thinking about undertaking Experience Assessment?

If you are concerned over whether you have enough experience to achieve the standard, discuss it with someone who understands your role. You may be pleasantly surprised with what you are achieving. The assessment criteria can appear a little intimidating at first however do not underestimate you achievements to date. You deserve recognition for them.

Don’t think this is an international standard and that it’s not relevant for you or you cannot achieve it. This is not a test of English language its an assessment of what you have achieved in your workplace. Some of the most cutting edge and innovative Human Resources practices I have experienced whilst in the region have been delivered in local and government entities. My interview assessor had also spent time working and living in the middle east and was therefore very understanding regarding the particular challenges evident in the region.

It’s a fastrack route but its intense. Make sure you have the support of your family during this period. Stock up on your favourite cookie, icecream or Kanafi. They may be required at some point.

Don’t hesitate. Do it!

Would you recommend the Experience Assessment process to a colleague or friend?

Yes. Yes I would. Initially I felt that the study route was somehow a more genuine way to achieve the qualification. However the experience assessment is equally as challenging and enriching, leaves you with a real sense of understanding and pride regarding your achievements to date and your only responsibility toward the professional standards.

It is rare that you have the need or time to step back and reflect on your achievements but this route will allow you to do this. Of course gaining the qualification is your priority, however this method whilst looking back will I hope also re-energise, help focus and clarify what you hope to achieve over the coming months and years both personally and on behalf of your employees and the business.

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