|We have a lot of star students here at AVADO, but in terms of sheer determination in the face of adversity Samantha Collins has to be top of the pile. At the start of a promising HR career she decided to take an online CIPD Level 3 HR qualification with us, but her ability to study was put in jeopardy when tragedy struck. Read her full story in the interview below:|
Why did you choose to take your CIPD Level 3 HR qualification?
I started working as a HR co-ordinator for a large publishing company in Bath nearly two years ago, without a CIPD qualification as it was a support role. But as I was being asked to get involved with more and more HR issues, I made the decision to take the qualification to help me understand the issues, especially with the size of the company I work for. Since making that decision I haven’t regretted it at all because it really has helped me and opened my eyes. So many of the things I have to deal with make sense now that I’ve done the course.
Why did you choose online learning?
I couldn’t afford to go back into full time education and I needed a course that could fit around work. I did some research and AVADO had really good reviews. The course advisors were really lovely and had all the answers to my questions, they were with me every step of the way before the course started. That support was another reason I decided to go with AVADO.
How did you get on with starting the course?
Initially, I found it a little bit daunting. With anything new, it takes a while to grasp it and I was worried I might fall behind. When I attended the online live classes and talked to people that were going through the exact same thing, it turned out that everybody was just as daunted as I was and I felt a lot better knowing that I wasn’t the only one. The people on the course were really lovely, very much in the same position as me, very talented and wanting to get on with their careers. My tutor Les was absolutely fantastic: his support was phenomenal and he was always on the other end of the phone or email if I needed him. As time progressed and as I got that support from Les, I got into it and I found I really enjoyed it.
Did you enjoy working with your fellow students?
Definitely. Our group kept in contact on social media and had a really good connection. It was a great atmosphere. In the online classes, it’s an open learning session where everybody can get involved. You can ask questions, and often you find when you ask something, even if you think it is a stupid question, a lot of people might actually be thinking the same thing. I have found this course fun and made some great friends that I know I will stay in contact with, it is a very supportive network that I am happy to be a part of.
Tell us about the difficult time you had whilst studying.
My mum passed away just as I started the course. She was ill before but we didn’t know how ill she was. At the time, I didn’t feel I was able to carry on with the course, but when I sat down and thought about it, I remembered my mum was very much encouraging me to do this to develop my career, she even bought me my laptop for studying. So I felt I would have let her down a little bit if I didn’t continue, so I decided to carry on. And then a few months later, my little nephew passed away in tragic circumstances, it was totally unexpected and completely threw me. On top of everything else that I’d gone through with my mum, I didn’t think I was able to keep studying. But my sister said she wanted me to carry on and so would my little nephew and my mum. I had a lot on my plate at that time and it was only a few weeks before my final unit on the course. I told my tutor Les what had happened and he passed on his sympathy and condolences. He gave me an extension for as long as I needed it and the reassurance I needed that the support was there and I could complete when I was ready. My course mates were really supportive too and that helped me to get through and complete the qualification.
I am very proud of myself for graduating despite everything that happened and I know that my mum would be as well.
Have you noticed a difference at work since you achieved the qualification?
Since I’ve had the qualification, I’ve been given responsibility for all the maternity and paternity cases and I’ve also been asked to create and deliver a training and induction course for all new starters. It’s nice being the first point of contact for new starters, I feel like I’m getting to know more people and get appreciation for what I am doing in the company.
What advice would you give to anyone going through a difficult time whilst studying?
Don’t suffer in silence. If there is something you are not sure about or struggling with, speak to your tutor and they can help you get through it. You will have a support network around you so you are not on your own.
My next step is to start my Level 5 in the next few months, and hopefully my company will fund it for me. I definitely want to continue as there is so much more I want to learn in HR including Employment Law, which for a growing career in HR you do really need to be aware of. I’m looking forward to that. I feel I am at a start of my career and when I tell people what I do, I feel proud. It’s something that motivates me to go further and build a successful career.