Help and guidance

The following page contains useful information for both individuals and employers who are undertaking or supporting someone who is undertaking a professional qualification with the CIPP.

Benefit to employers

A pilot study conducted on behalf of Ofqual (Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation)
in July 2017, investigated employers’ perceptions, confidence and use of a range of qualifications and assessments. 

The most important considerations for employers when identifying which qualifications to offer employees are the relevance of the qualification for their organisation, that the qualification is recognised/valued in their sector, and that it is of an appropriate level to meet their needs. 

With our wide range of payroll and pensions qualifications and training, we can meet all of these requirements.

Pye Tait Consulting (2017)  Employer Qualification Perceptions Survey [online].

Employers are increasingly investing in education to develop and aid retention of key talent. To lose key talent could be detrimental to your business in the future, as knowledgeable employees are a key asset. 

The CIPP offers a wide range of learning and development opportunities for your employees. For information on the full range of professional qualifications please click here. The most popular qualification that the CIPP offers is the Foundation Degree in Payroll Management which offers numerous benefits to the employer as well as the employee.

Advice for employers

If you are supporting your employees through funding for their qualification you should consider what would happen should the individual leave whilst still studying.

The contract for studies is between the CIPP, it’s accrediting body and the student, regardless of who has paid for the studies. Therefore, if an individual has been paid for by your organisation and leaves your employment, the CIPP cannot refund the fees for the qualification to the employer. This is covered within the terms and conditions of enrolment.

It is “best practice “ for employers to have a standard agreement in place with their employees so that if the employee leaves employment whilst still studying, the organisation can claim the money back from the individual and does not lose their investment. There is a standard agreement included as a PDF below.

Training course and qualification agreement form


Career progression

View your career progression options here.

Foundation Degree in Payroll Management

The Foundation Degree in Payroll Management can take two or three years to complete based on individual knowledge and experience; however each year is a stand alone, industry recognised qualification:

Year One – Practitioner Certificate in Payroll

Year Two – Advanced Practitioner Certificate in Payroll

Year Three – Diploma in Payroll Management

You may only consider one or more employees to undertake Year One - Practitioner Certificate in Payroll because you feel that those individuals only need to know the basics but ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you operate appraisal systems and personal development plans, perhaps linked to ISO and Investors in People?
  • Do you want to be able to demonstrate that your sponsored employees have and will continue to progress within the workplace?
  • Even if there is no room for progression currently should that stop personal and professional development of the individuals?

Why stop at year one?

The Foundation Degree in Payroll Management is work based and as the course progresses each module ensures that the student applies their learning to the work place. Year one covers a good knowledge of the basics; however years two and three take the student’s development further and covers such as:

  • Leadership
  • Team working
  • Team management
  • Organisational change
  • Redundancy
  • TUPE
  • Termination payments

As the employer you may not see those skills as relevant now; however will you be ready to fly once the economy picks up? Will you have retained your key staff and developed others? To invest in the full qualification would result in gaining the valuable asset of knowledge for your business.

The above list is by no means exhaustive; however should you wish to find out more about the content please click here.

The cost of the course can be found here.

Should your organisation be involved in the CIPP Payroll Quality Partnership Scheme (PQP) you may qualify for an employer discount under the Premium Service. Click here for details on the savings to be made.

If financial resources for education and training are not available have you considered use of Salary Sacrifice? Click here for more information.

Guidance on supporting students

The Foundation Degree in Payroll Management ensures that students are challenged. They will come across topics that are new to them and so students may struggle to identify a way forward, as the employer you can help. Students will be allocated a dedicated tutor; however, as the employer you can supplement that support by encouraging the student to utilise internal knowledge.

If you have sponsored employees to undertake the Foundation Degree in Payroll Management, in order to monitor your investment, you need to monitor the individual progress. So as an employer how can you help?

Keep up to date with progression

  • Keep a record of the key dates which details the module currently being worked on, submission dates and exam dates if applicable.
  • The students may be facing the challenge of dealing with a subject completely new to them and so they will need someone to share ideas with. Students usually fair better if they are guided.

Help them chose direction

Is there something going on in the workplace that you would like them to discuss? This could help the team as a whole. Perhaps host a team meeting to discuss the module topic; this could result in a piece of structured research.

Monitor progress

  • As part of individual personal development you can record milestones and use this progression for positive discussion in appraisals, objectives being, to complete all modules and regularly report on their progress to the line manager.
  • Provide individuals with additional tasks so they can apply the newly acquired skills. From this the employer can assess student progress.


  • Encouragement will lead to engagement and motivation:
  • Show your support by showing interest in your investment
  • Assign a mentor to individuals
  • Provide time out via creation of study days per module
  • Permit access to internal company information and processes

Above all show your studying employees that you are interested in what they are undertaking. The result will be a knowledgeable individual who holds an industry recognised qualification. As the employer you will have helped play your part in raising the profile of a skilled profession.

Salary sacrifice funding options

Financial resources for education and training are not available have you considered use of Salary Sacrifice?

Example using basic rate of tax and standard NI contributions for 2013/14

Course fee £2,495.00 plus VAT

  • Tax 2,495 x 20% = 499
  • NI 2,495 x 12% = 299
  • Employers NI 2,495 X 13.8% = 344 (rounded down)
  • Employee savings = 798 that's 32%
  • Employer savings = 344 that's 14%

Total = 1,142

The tax and NI savings for one person are significant; however if you have a number of people wishing to study Salary Sacrifice could be the way to go! This scenario would assist both the employee and employer.

Student websites

The Heart of Worcester College student website

This website supports the Foundation Degree in Payroll Management and the Foundation Degree in Pensions Administration and Management.

Please login and you will see the courses you are enrolled on listed. The video will introduce you to some of the main features of the CIPP Student Website.

CIPP Moodle

Moodle is the CIPP online eLearning portal, please login to access your course(s).