Stuck in a career development rut? Dr Kim Schofield (FCPHR) discusses why the AHRI Practising Certification Program (APC) can help you advance through the ranks.
Q: What is the structure and scope of this course?
The AHRI Practising Certification Program (APC) is equivalent to an AQF level 8 postgraduate qualification and a real leg-up when it comes to career development in HR. The AHRI Model of Excellence underpins all the teachings of the course, which is part-time and takes two years to complete in either workshop or distance mode.
The program consists of four core units: the strategic human resources professional; the human resources organisational environment; workforce design, development and performance; and the capstone unit.
The APC is an industry-driven program, and the approach in class is to leave the textbook on the table and focus instead on the practical application of HR best practice.
Participants spend time discussing how they are going to apply in the workplace what they are learning in the course. Ultimately, we are working towards the final capstone project. For this, participants have to describe a real business issue within their organisation that needs a strategic intervention, and come up with a solution that demonstrates they can deliver great human resources practice and add value to organisational capability.
Q: What will participants take away from the APC program?
Participants will gain a really strong idea of what ‘good HR’ looks like and how it can be applied in an organisational setting. The course offers a renewed sense of how HR can impact on productivity and efficiency in the workplace.
Q: What has been the feedback from participants?
Many participants say that the course is challenging, but they develop a better sense of human resources and its role within their organisation. I also receive positive feedback about how the course strengthens foundational HR skills and impacts career development.
However, for many, the highlight is the people. Participants walk away with an invaluable network of peers. Hearing about other people’s challenges, failures and triumphs is so beneficial to learning and stepping outside your comfort zone.
Q: What are the most challenging aspects of the APC program?
One challenge is researching and writing at an academic level, especially for those who have not been exposed to this before. We provide support, though, and help teach people how to write at that level and utilise research databases. After the first assignment, those butterflies go away and many tell me they are using the resources we show them in their normal day-to-day work, which is fantastic.
Another challenging aspect is that participants have to think from a strategic point of view in terms of HR value and how they can deliver it in the workplace. For some, this creates exciting opportunities for career development and strategic thinking. For others, it can be difficult to secure commitment from their organisation to operate in a different way.
Q: How do the lessons learned assist practitioners in their work?
Their work-based organisational capability project is submitted to the National Certification Council so that participants can apply to become a certified HR practitioner.
Employers supporting their HR people through career development via certification will see an immediate return through the practical applications they complete during their study. By setting standards through the program, the end results for the business will be a more productive and profitable workforce, with respect and understanding of what human resources can do as a business partner in the organisation.
If you are curious about HR certification and keen to learn more, click here.