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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

What sessions are free?

We have many free courses leading to certification, which are:

Certificate of Professional Development in Communication

Certificate of Professional Development in Personal Effectiveness

Certificate of Professional Development in Leadership

Certificate in Progression and Well-being

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 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

How do I get my certificate?

Certificates of Professional Development and the Progression and Well-being will be emailed to you in PDF format, you can then print as you like , either from home, a library or a print centre, and as many times as you want to.

Do you print certificates?

Certificates for paid for courses only are issued in hard copy format by the relevant awarding bodies 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 moment 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 Professional Development in Communication, Leadership or Personal Effectiveness you must complete 5 units within each certificate. You must attend and actively participate in the whole 2 hours of each unit.   

To gain the Certificate in Progression and Well-being you need to complete 6 hours of direct learning. 

For externally-certificated courses you need to complete the attendance requirements as set down by the relevant awarding bodies.

How long does it take to finish a certificate?

Certificates of Professional Development and Certificate in Progression and Wellbeing:  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.  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   different days and times so you can make up your own timetable.

I’ve finished my final session, when will I get my certificate?

Certificates of Professional Development and Progression & Well-being will usually take between 1-3 weeks (after you have completed the final session within the certificate) for us to send via email, depending on how busy we are.

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. You can download a Word document diary for some of our most popular sessions here in order to help you keep track.

What is the SDS Diploma?

This is a new addition for the 2016-17 academic year.  Students who have completed all 3 Certificates of Professional Development (Communication, Personal Effectiveness and Leadership) can progress to the Diploma Award.  This is an optional addition and is attained by completing a theory to practice assignment which identifies what you have learnt and how you intend to apply the knowledge and skills in your own professional settings.  For more information on the diploma please contact John Steele 

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.

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 2017-18 academic year we shall advertise the Student-peer trainer positions in February/March 2017 for a September 2017 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 ground during the application process.



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