Frequently Asked Questions

How will SDS be operating in 2020-21 against the Coronavirus restrictions?

We will be offering as many workshops as we can online and those courses which we cannot offer this way will be subject to location risk assessments.  Once we have the go ahead to resume face to face teahing we will resort to that format.

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

We have many free sessions leading to certification, which fall under the following schemes:

Certificate of Personal Development

Diploma of Professional Development

Well-being Workshops

What is the Diploma of Professional Development?

This is an "apprenriceship" type award piloted in 2017-18 for students who are active in an executive/leadership/supervisory role in a voluntary or paid capacity in the following example groups.  This is not exhaustive and if you are working in a leadership/supervisory capacity elsewhere please contact us for clarification.

  • 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 Mentors
  • Student-peer Trainers
  • Student-Staff Team Leaders e.g. Bars
  • Welcome Crew Team Leaders
  • Other executive/leadership/supervisory roles may apply - contact for clarification


  1. Completion of 5 taught units in Leadership Styles, Leadership In Difficult Situations, Problem Solving, Teamwork and Team Briefings (e-learning).
  2. 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
  3. Attendance at a group interactive lecture on articulating and reflecting of knowledge, skills and experiences acquired

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 2016-17 won't count.

What courses will I have to pay for and how much are they?

All of our externally-certified courses require a fee although these cost less than if you took the course outside of the Cardiff University or 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 sign up?

Go to

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
Workshops tend to open for bookings around 3 weeks prior so will not appear until then.  Please check the timetable URL from our main page to view the complete list.  Some workshops are bookable through the University's Eventbrite and you should go to in this respect.

When I go to book it appears full.  Can I still attend?

We strongly recommend booking as early as you can once the bookings open.  "Walk-up" is permitted when other students do not take up their places.  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-certified (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 6 weeks to process.  You will be advised when we receive them.

When do sessions take place? Are you putting more sessions on?

There are sessions running most weekdays in the Autumn and Spring semesters with daytime and evening slots.  Some externally-certified courses take place on Saturdays.  We start in week 1 of the Autumn semester and run up to the middle of December.  We then recommence after the examination period in January until the Easter break with a shorter timetable possible in the summer term.  We also operate around the Christmas and Easter holiday periods for students who are local or remaining in Cardiff during these times.  To view the current semester schedule go to

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?

No, so you should make a note of workshop titles, dates, times and locations at the time of booking.

How do I cancel my session?

Email by no later than the start time of the workshop.

How many workshops do I have to do to get a certificate?

To gain a Certificate of Personal Development you must complete 5 units in the group of your choice.

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.

If I am undertaking a CPD in say Communication do I have to wait until I receive it before commencing say Leadership?

No you can be working towards one, two or all three in the same semester or academic year(s).  You will be certificated for all that you have attained at different times. 

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 workshops (units). Some students will do a whole certificate within a few weeks or within a month and some have even taken 3 or more years. 

Diploma of Professional Development:  You need to make sure you meet the deadline dates during the academic semesters otherwise you'll either have to wait another year if appropriate or could lose out on the award. 

Externally-certified courses need to be completed within their specific time framework.

In what order should I do the workshops?

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 workshop, when will I get my certificate?

Upon completion of the units in the appropriate Certificate of Personal Development you will need to send in the completed "reasons for attending and outcomes" log.  Certificates will normally be issued in the fortnight following. 

Do I need to keep a record of my attendances?

Using the log above will help you keep track of your attendances.  We have often had students take the same workshop twice (months apart) because they cannot remember which ones they have already attended. It is therefore recommended that you check the log to make sure that you don't duplicate any sessions.  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 workshop or course 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. However for the 2020-21 academic year the scheme has been temporarily suspended due to operations constraints within SDS.  We hope to be in a position to recruit for 2021-22 around Eastertime in 2021.

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.

Do sessionms ever get cancelled?

In cases where bookings show less than 6, SDS reserves the right to cancel. We will always advise students when this occurs and endeavour to look for alternatives if possible.  

Still have a query?  




If your question still has not been answered then please do contact us