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Charting a course with APC

The new AHRI Practising Certification Program (APC) is not just another course. While it acknowledges the imperative of learning new skills, understanding new ideas and putting them into practice, the APC is first and foremost a program that affirms the reality of genuine and robust certification as part of the fabric of the Australian HR profession.


The APC Program consists of four core units. APC candidates must successfully complete units one to three before they can undertake the final capstone unit four.

The capstone unit is a practical, work-based project which ensures – as AHRI chairman Peter Wilson states in his contributing chapter to David Ulrich’s new HR ebook    “that certification can be ‘entrusted’ through reliance on demonstrated evidence of a candidate’s skill in applied practice.”

  • Unit 1 The Strategic HR Professional
  • Unit 2 The HR Organisational Environment
  • Unit 3 Workforce Design, Development and Performance
  • Unit 4 The Capstone: Applied Project in Organisational Capability

The certification imperative

AHRI’s journey towards professional certification is part of the institute’s commitment to ensure that the HR profession is recognised for the depth of its knowledge and the quality of its skills.

It is to that end that AHRI has developed the AHRI Practising Certification Program and tailored it to meet those requirements. It is an industry-recognised, postgraduate program underpinned by the AHRI model of excellence, which includes globally benchmarked HR competencies.

One of the key features of the APC is that it seeks to formalise both HR knowledge and HR skills.  As such, it has been designed as a work-integrated certification program and will provide formal confirmation of an HR practitioner’s certification status.

The capstone unit

In acknowledging the centrality of knowledge and skills as part of a professional certification, the APC has been designed for HR professionals with at least five years’ work experience in an HR role. Alternatively, it recognises two years where candidates have already completed an undergraduate degree. For those members who have undertaken postgraduate HR study, it is highly likely that the combined study and work experience will enable them to apply for recognition of prior learning for all or part of the first three APC knowledge units.

In many ways, the fourth capstone unit is the most crucial and potentially the most satisfying part of the program, as it puts into practice the consolidated theoretical knowledge from the previous three units. Applying the competencies and leadership behaviours learnt, candidates undertaking the capstone unit will plan and complete a work-based project that demonstrates an HR strategy or initiative that benefits the organisation’s capability, and also provides evidence that the individual candidate is competent in practice to perform as an HR business partner.

What will AHRI members gain from the APC?

In all cases, the certification program will formally validate that CAHRIs with an APC have the essential knowledge and skills required to advance their careers as HR practitioners.  In addition AHRI, in its capacity as the HR peak professional body, will be able with confidence to advocate the value that a certified HR practitioner brings to an enterprise as a true business partner.

Consultations are continuing with the AHRI state councils on the details relating to the development of the certification model. See the AHRI website for more information and certification FAQs.

This article was first published in the May 2015 issue of HRMonthly magazine as ‘On board and on course’. AHRI members receive HRMonthly 11 times per year as part of their membership. Find out more about AHRI membership here

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