Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to join the SDS?
It is free to become an SDS member. Find out how to become a member and sign up here
Why are you changing the format of the programme in 2017-18?
The current format has been in operation since 2006-07 and it is felt that it has run its course. We are also making it slightly easier attendance-wise to achieve certification. Previously you would have had to follow a particular "route" e.g. Communication, to achieve a certificate. In lots of cases students were sitting around awaiting a particular title in a certain group in order to complete. Now you will be able to select the 5 or more according to what you prefer and more in line with your own personal needs. We are also enhancing the commitment towards developing students within key supervisory and leadership roles. Externally-certificated courses are not changing as such but there may be an addition or two.
Which sessions are free?
We have many free sessions leading to certification, which fall under the following schemes:
Certificate of Personal Development
Diploma of Professional Development
I started working towards a Certificate of Professional Development. Does this mean I have lost the opportunity to complete?
We wrote to students around May 2017 advising of the changes. A number replied to avail of the safeguarded option and students on this list will have until the end of the Autumn semester 2017 in order to make up the missing units to achieve what were the Certificates of Professional Development in Communication, Personal Effectiveness and Leadership.
I have been certificated for 1, 2 or 3 of the old Certificates of Professional Development in Communication, Personal Effectiveness and Leadership. Can I transfer these units into the new Certificates of Personal Development scheme?
No, they are two separate awards and thus units not transferable. Completed "old" Certificates of Professional Development remain as they are. It is possible however to move an uncompleted Certificate of Professional Development's sessions to the new award. For example one unit from the old Communication course now counts as one unit in Bronze. It is necessary to protect the authenticity of the new award and prevent an advantage over others situation whereby two awards would be claimed by students only actually completing one.
What is the Diploma of Professional Development?
This is a new award for students who are active in a supervisory of leadership role in a voluntary or paid capacity in the following groups:
- Chairs of Student-Representatives
- Club Crew
- Committee Members of clubs or societies
- Executive Members of Give It A Go and Advice
- Lead Volunteers
- Student-Media Executive
- Student-peer Trainers
- Student-Staff Team Leaders e.g. Bars
- Welcome Crew Team Leaders
- Completion of 5 taught units in Leadership Styles, Leadership In Difficult Situations, Problem Solving, Teamwork and Team Briefings (e-learning).
- 50 hours volunteering/work experience in an active leadership capacity = PASS; 100 hours in same = MERIT; 200 hours in same = DISCTINCTION. You can mix and match your experiences if appropriate in the above list rather than limiting it to one group of responsibilities
- Attendance at a group interactive lecture on articulating and reflecting of knowledge, skills and experiences acquired
Certificates are jointly signed by the University Vice-Chancellor and Students’ Union President.
For more information on the diploma please contact John Steele
I am undertaking the Diploma of Professional Development but I cannot make some or all of the designated workshop unit dates.
Not a problem. The designated dates are running as such so that we can have an audience of like-minded students together. The case studies and exercises will be oriented towards those one could typically encounter within the types of leadership roles undertaken. However you may attend at other times. Simply look for the same title(s) without the Diploma advert and book onto that. The taught content is identical although the case studies will be more generic but it will cover you for attendance requirements nonetheless.
I have already attended some or all of the designated workshop units featuring in the Diploma. Do I have to re-attend?
No, as long as you've attended them you can be "APL'D" (accredited with prior learning) for these. We would need to check attendance records to confirm. Similarly, if you have undertaken voluntary or paid work within a supervisory or leadership capacity, this can be utilised as well. However, you need to make sure you can evidence it so a log of your actual work using the template we will provide will be required alongside a signature from your superior in the applicable role(s) at the time. In this respect and to protect the authenticity of this award, work prior to the start of the academic year 2015-16 won't count.
What courses will I have to pay for and how much are they?
All of our externally-certificated courses require a fee although these cost less than if you took the course outside of the Students' Union.
Find out more about these courses here, if you have questions about external courses you can email John Steele
How do I get my Certificate of Personal Development?
Upon completion of the units in the appropriate level in the Certificate of Personal Development you will be emailed to complete a short online evaluation and reflection. As soon as possible after this is received you will be emailed your certificate in e-format PDF. You can then print as you like, either from home, a library or a print centre, and as many times as you want to.
How do I get my Diploma of Professional Development?
You will need to present evidence of your accomplishments to SDS staff. Upon ratification of all the evidence indicators in the appopriate level in the Diploma you will be emailed to complete a short online evaluation and reflection. As soon as possible after this is received you will be issued with a hard copy certificate which you can collect during the term.
How do I sign up?
You need to be a SDS member and logged into the Students’ Union website to sign up to a session. More information here
Why can’t I see the Courses page?
You need to be a SDS member and logged into the Students’ Union website to see the sign up page. Log in here
Why do some sessions refer me to a different website to book?
These sessions are delivered for us by Cardiff University Careers or Wellbeing staff and places are allocated through a different website booking page (Eventbrite). Please refer directly to the applicable website to book your place and ignore the indicator on our website that a session might be showing as full. You will be advised whether a session is open or full once you go into that website booking page.
When I go to book it appears full. Can I still attend?
While many sessions under the Certficate of Personal Development programme may appear full, we often get a number not turning up so you can always come along. The vast majority of the time there are places and students take these. Howevever, there is always the off chance that everyone might appear so if this should happen anyone without a prior booking may be asked to come onto a later session. Externally-certified courses and sessions are not covered under this arrangement due to payment requirements, strict quota control and prior registrations. Always check with us if you wish to attend one of these courses or sessions.
Do you print certificates?
Certificates for the Diploma and externally-certificated (paid for) courses only are issued in hard copy format. The latter are processed by the relevant awarding body and can take between 1 and 4 weeks to process. You will be advised when we receive them.
When do sessions take place? Are you putting more sessions on?
Our sessions run during the academic year in term time. We start at the end of September/beginning October until 2nd/3rd week of December. We then recommence 2nd/3rd week of January until the very end of June. We also operate around the Christmas and Easter holiday periods for students who are local or remaining in Cardiff during these times.
Do you run summer sessions?
At the present time there is not a big demand for sessions during the July/August/September period and therefore we use this time to update the department to make sure we have the best service ready for the new academic year. However, our offices are still open and you can pop in to see us about anything else.
Will I get a confirmation email when I book?
Our system will not automatically send out a confirmation email when you have booked a session. If you have forgotten which session you have signed up for all you need to do is go onto our courses page here and the red/pink button under the session will now read “Cancel sign up” if you are already signed up to that session.
How do I cancel my session?
Log in, go on to our courses page here find the session you signed up to and click on the red/pink “cancel sign up” button.
How many sessions do I have to do to get a certificate?
To gain a Certificate of Personal Development you must complete 5 units minimum, then you can work towards higher banded stages if you so wish.
To attain the Diploma of Professional Development you must complete the following 5 units: Leadership Styles, Leadership In Difficult Situations, Problem Solving, Teamwork and Team Briefings (e-learning), and an articulation and reflection workshop together with the required hours of experiential learning (work-based experience in a paid or voluntary leadership role).
When attending any session/workshop in either award you must actively participate in it.
For externally-certificated courses you need to complete the attendance and applicable assessment requirements as set down by the relevant awarding bodies.
How long does it take to finish a certificate?
Certificates of Personal Development: You can take as long as you like, as long as you’re a Cardiff University student while completing the sessions. Some students will do a whole certificate in a week or within a month and some have even taken 3 years.
Diploma of Professional Development: You can take as long as you like, as long as you’re a Cardiff University student while completing the sessions and undertaking the experiential learning. However, be mindful of the fact that the Articulation & Reflection session only takes place twice during the spring semester. Miss either of these and you'll either have to wait another year if appropriate or could lose out on the award.
Externally-certificated courses need to be completed within their specific time framework.
In what order should I do the sessions?
Unless it is one of the externally-certificate courses, this is up to you. We put on a lot of sessions on, on different days and times so you can make up your own timetable.
I’ve finished my final session, when will I get my certificate?
Upon completion of the units in the appropriate level in the Certificate of Personal Development or ratification of all the evidence indicators in the appopriate level in the Diploma of Professional you will be emailed to complete a short online evaluation and reflection. Certificates are issued as soon as possible thereafter.
Do I need to keep a record of my attendances?
It is good practice to keep your own record of the sessions you have attended with the SDS. We have often had students take the same session twice (months apart) because they cannot remember which sessions they have already attended. It is therefore recommended that you make a list of the titles, dates, times and locations of sessions as you book them. You can then cross them off after completion. As long as you sign the registers when you attend we will process a master list each week to reflect what you have completed.
I’ve graduated. Can I still complete courses?
If you’ve already commenced a course but have units to complete you may attend in the autumn term following graduation. You may need to book via email if you can no longer see the sign up page.
I am undertaking the Cardiff Award. How do Skills Development Courses work in this respect?
Each session you attend can be mapped hour for hour towards your 70 hours in the Cardiff Award. If you are undertaking both the Diploma of Professional Development and the Cardiff Award you can use the same work experience.
I am interested in becoming a Student-peer trainer. What do I need to do?
We usually advertise the Student-peer trainer positions before the Easter break the academic year before. So for the 2018-19 academic year we shall advertise the Student-peer trainer positions in February/March 2018 for a September 2018 start. More recruitment information will be added to our website nearer the date. To make sure you see the advertisements we advise you to become a SDS member and sign up to Jobshop to receive an email when we advertise. We often find that previous SDS students often become Student-peer trainers. So if you have attended SDS sessions as a student and have shown an interest in the SDS previously, this could stand you in good stead during the application process.
Still have a query?
If your question still has not been answered then please do contact us