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Certificate Of Personal Development (CPD) 

There are four titles in this scheme:  Communication, Personal Effectiveness, Self-Awareness and Leadership. 

To achieve a Certificate of Personal Development (CPD) you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Download the Personal Progression Record applicable to each programme, from this website.
  • Before attending each workshop state on the record why you wish to attend that particular title.
  • Attend and actively participate in 5 workshops (units) in the group you have chosen.  Each workshop is between 90 minutes and 2 hours duration.
  • Upon completion of each workshop state on the record what you have learnt.
  • Send the record to SDS@cf.ac.uk when you have been alerted on having completed 5 workshops.

We keep records of your attendances and following completion of 5 units you will be asked to complete a short optional evaluation.  Doing so provides us with very important feedback. 

You may work towards achieving these over several semesters or even academic years. 

Each certificate is signed jointly by the Pro Vice Chancellor, Student Experience & Academic Standards and the Head of Training & Development, Skills Development Service. 

There are four group subject areas in this scheme.

  1. Communication (download the progression form here) 
  2. Personal Effectiveness (download the progression form here) 
  3. Self-Awareness (download the progression form here)
  4. Leadership (download the progression form here)


Group 1: Communication

Assertiveness - “Say What You mean, mean what you say”

Book at https://www.cardiffstudents.com/jobs-skills/skills-development-service/signing-up/

Assertiveness - an essential skill for everyday interactions. Do you ever wish you had that little bit more self-confidence to be able to delegate or make yourself heard? This unit explores the different kinds of behaviours which have an adverse effect upon working and personal relationships. It also aims to help improve your confidence so that you will be able to state your points in a firm but assertive way.

Business Communication Skills – “Saying the right things at the right time” 

The emphasis on communication skills relates to the growing importance of the customer. All businesses have customers, internally and externally, and being able to both behave in a professional manner and communicate the correct information in user-friendly language is considered to be of vital importance to the service being provided. A recent survey showed that employees performed badly in areas such as “going the extra mile”. This unit concentrates on how communication plays its part so that you will be able to overcome difficult customer behaviour and bring transactions to successful conclusions.

Having Challenging Conversations – “It doesn’t have to be this awkward”

A difficult or challenging conversation is one where you have to manage emotions and information in a sensitive way. These could be related to addressing the behaviour of a peer, investigating complaints as a leader or dealing with grievances. This workshop helps you develop the skills and techniques needed so that you can face those difficult conversations not with trepidation, but with confidence.

Interview Techniques – “Win it, don’t wing it”

Many people dread the thought of having to attend a job interview, but with the right preparation it can be your best opportunity to show potential employers why you are the right person for the job. The skills you display at your job interview play a critical role in whether or not you get that job offer. And with interviews in short supply given the current economic climate it’s probably never been more important for you to make the right impression and succeed when you have that interview. What should you say and do? How do you strike an employer-candidate balance with the dialogue? This unit is designed to help you with your confidence so that you’re able to maximise the opportunity to sell yourself when the need arises.

Listening Skills– “We hear, but do we listen?” 

This unit is designed to make you aware of how constructive active listening can be. It’s very easy to lose the thread of a discussion in meetings, lectures, tutorials and transactions. You will be taking part in many scenarios over the coming years where these skills will be invaluable.  At the end of this session you will be better equipped to listen actively rather than selectively.

Managing Anger & Communicating More Effectively – “It takes more muscle power to frown than to smile” 

Everyone gets angry. It is one of many different emotions we all experience throughout our day to day lives.  Anger is a normal emotion in response to when we feel under threat, physically or psychologically (defending ourselves or others), or when we feel frustrated (motivating us to fight injustice).  This workshop focuses on the problem that arises when our anger is frequent or excessive, which is then having negative effects on our lives. Come along and learn some communication and coping mechanisms that avoid spoiling relationships with loved ones or friends, limiting life experiences and the ability to achieve happiness.

Negotiation Skills – “Get what you want, when you want”

Many of you will encounter situations such as wanting to be able to get the best room in your student house or persuading your tutor to defer an assignment deadline. In future you may have to persuade a manager or client. This unit aims to improve your negotiating skills so that you can set goals, plan and converse in order to get more of what you want and less of what you don't want.

Practical Presentations – “Preach what you practice”

This unit is accredited to students who, as part of their academia or work experience, complete a presentation speaking for at least 5 minutes followed by a self-reflection.  Students who opt for this unit will need to prove their presentation took place in the form of an assessor record or witness testimony and a copy of the self-reflection.  Contact SDS@cf.ac.uk for more details.

Sales Skills – “Getting the gift of the gab” 

This unit will focus on the customer journey and how the seller must adapt their style and approach with different personality types. You will get the opportunity to practice selling techniques so that you can influence consumers or anyone browsing your products or services.  You will also be introduced to consumer legislation so that you will know how to advertise and offer products and services without risk of consumer compensation.

Speaking & Presenting – “Happy talking, talking, happy talk” 

Designed to make you aware that good speaking and presentation skills are essential in all environments. Most graduate jobs today will require a presentation as part of the interview process so this is a skill well worth mastering. This unit covers preparation, the route of your talk, speaking techniques and creating a positive attitude towards your presentation. The overall purpose of this unit is to help you increase brevity, confidence and fluency; attributes which help keep you going when undertaking presentations.  The session thus provides practice to help you get your message effectively across to your audience. 

Group 2: Personal Effectiveness

Coaching Skills – “Helping others to help themselves” 

When you are coaching, whether you regard it as such or not, you are likely to develop a special relationship with the other person. This unit aims to help you mentor, motivate, and inspire others without harming their self-esteem. It will help develop sensitive skills and techniques so that you can  show someone that every little piece of effort is a significant step in leading to greater achievement. This workshop is designed to use your personal effectiveness to help others become effective.  “When selecting candidates, we look for people who will have a positive impact on others.” (Ed Fox, Barclays Bank). 

Commercial Awareness – “The world of work and your role in it” 


A CBI survey recently found that 35% of employers were dissatisfied with the business and customer awareness of graduates. Put simply "commercial awareness" is the ability to view situations from a commercial perspective. It is an understanding of what makes any business or organisation successful and the factors that influence this success. Graduates from all disciplines need to show business awareness of their market, not only to beat the competition for jobs but to perform in that role and deliver value for money. By attending this workshop you will learn simple steps you can take to help you become commercially aware during your time at university and so that, when the time comes, you’re all set to wow employers and turn that dream job into a reality.

Dealing With Perfectionism – “You don’t need to put the cherry on top of the cake”     

Sometimes the desire for perfection can cause stress, anxiety and depression. This workshop will help you to understand the process that leads into, and maintains perfectionism, and the effect it is having on your well-being. You’ll be taught techniques and strategies to help you to re-evaluate and change your perfectionist beliefs and behaviours.  Strategies that you learn in this workshop will stand you in good stead for coping with the demands of your academic work and in the workplace so that you will have a healthy balance between high standards and your psychological well-being.  You should then be able to not only achieve your goals, but enjoy life more whilst you are achieving.

Managing Procrastination – “Why not do it now?”

This workshop will help you to understand the process that leads into, and maintains, your procrastination. You’ll be taught techniques and strategies to challenge and change your procrastinating behaviour.  Working to deadlines, planning your time, and working well with others are all skills that many of you will use every day throughout your working life. Gaining control of your procrastination will enable you to develop these skills effectively and thus improve your employability.

Motivation – “Re-light your fire” 

Why are we able to accomplish some tasks with relish yet abhor others? How can we be flexible enough to accomplish those things we don’t like doing. This unit is an interactive journey to help you understand how to create drive and energy in order to raise your standards and accomplish all tasks with enthusiasm.

Striking The Balance – “Love your work, love your life”  

This workshop is for anyone who struggles to find a healthy balance of work and play. We will look at what a healthy balance is and how to recognise when you are juggling too much. We will also look at your values and how introducing activities that are in line with your values improves mood and well-being. Finally we will problem solve specific barriers that might get in the way of you making changes and look at what you can do now to implement a healthy work-life balance.

Successful Networking – It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you”

Networking has been referred to as the “new way of working” and is thus a critical skill that everyone should master. There are going to be occasions where you need the confidence to sell yourself and the ability to ask the right questions at the right time. This unit will teach you how to create a positive impression and recognise and quantify your assets in order to maximise the opportunities to get yourself known by potentially influential people.

The Confidence Factor – “Be yourself and don't worry what others think of you" 

Are you ready for interacting with others in the workplace?  Whilst work is something that can improve our confidence it can also knock one back at times. It is important that you build resilience and learn to deal with criticism in order to maintain your level of confidence in what you are doing.  This workshop will look at ways you can boost and build confidence and show you how to focus on your positive qualities.  It will also look at how to build resilience so that you are able to deal with criticism through using defusing techniques.

Time Management – “Got 99 problems, but time ain’t one” 

Ever wondered why you’re always doing that essay at the last minute or you’re always late for meetings?   This workshop is designed to help you prioritise and organise your life so you can get the most out of all of your commitments.

Group 3: Self-Awareness

Breathe - Managing Anxiety & Stress - "Stay calm and take it easy"

This workshop runs each term and is aimed at helping you manage anxiety and stress. You will explore what anxiety and stress look like and how they are maintained.  You will then focus on strategies you can use to manage anxiety and stress. These will include tools for managing anxious patterns of thinking, ways to deal with difficult emotions and also ideas for changing unhelpful patterns of behaviour so that you can let go of stressors and anxieties.

CV Masterclass

This is an interactive session on how to present yourself effectively in your CV. After attending you will be equipped with the skills to develop your CV into a lean but meaningful and purposeful document.  After attending, CV reviews are available at the Careers Centre, 51a Park Place. Drop in available weekdays 1-4, no need to book beforehand. Alternatively you can book with your school careers adviser via your careers account on the intranet. We recommend you do this to ensure your CV is ready to stand out to employers! Book an appointment with Cardiff University Careers Service.

Dealing With Examinations’ and Presentations' Anxieties (2 separate sessions). "Feel the fear and do it anyway" (Jeffers S.)

These workshops will teach you effective strategies to gain control over your anxiety, so that you are able to concentrate and think clearly when studying for and sitting your exams or giving a presentation.  Please note that the content is very similar in both cases and only one attendance counts as a unit in the certificate.  Students though are welcome to attend both if need be.  

Dealing With General Anxieties

This workshop will help you to understand the process that leads you into and maintains anxiety. You’ll be taught techniques and strategies to challenge, and regain control, over your worrying thoughts, so that you can get a healthier, more balanced outlook on life.

Introduction To Acceptance and Commitment Therapy – “Accept the things you can’t control, and make a commitment to do what you can to improve your life”.

Are you doing your best to control things and to make life better for yourself, but sometimes feel that the more you struggle, the worse things seem to get?  Many people have found that their quality of life can be improved, and their suffering reduced, by using ideas and strategies taken from a Therapy called “ACT” – which stands for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.  ACT utilises mindfulness and assists you in clarifying what you value most in life and setting goals based upon these. Come along to this 90 Minute Intro to ACT session to learn more about it and leave with some thought provoking and useable strategies.

Managing Anxiety & Stress – “Keep calm and carry on”

This workshop is aimed at helping you manage their stress levels.  You will look at what stress is and try to understand how this affects you in terms of thoughts, feelings, physical symptoms and behaviour.  You will cover strategies that will support you to recognise what triggers your stress and to manage stressful thoughts and feelings.  Finally, you will look at how to calm your stress levels through various relaxation methods, including mindfulness so that you can go forward with more peace and tranquility in your busy routines.

Mood Booster - Managing Low Mood & Depression

This workshop is aimed at helping you cope with low mood and symptoms of depression.  You will explore the different types of depression people can experience, how depression can develop and the things that can maintain it.  You will explore strategies for improving low mood, including ways to manage negative patterns of thinking, ways to deal with difficult emotions and ways to change unhelpful behaviour.

Psychometric Testing – “Forearmed is forewarned”

Many graduate employers use psychometric assessment tools to assess candidates for their organisations. This session will give you an introduction to the various types of psychometric assessment tests.  You will get the opportunity to take a practice test in preparation for any recruitment testing you might be asked to do.  Please bring a calculator along to this session.

Relaxation – “Chill out and take it easy” 

This workshop will introduce you to a number of strategies that can help you relax. Learning to relax and maintain a calm attitude towards the challenges of everyday living is a core self-management skill.  There will also be a chance to practice some of these strategies during the workshop which means that you increase your ability to handle workload demands, and positively manage working relationships in the future. 

Sleep Well – “Enjoy the land of nod”

When you’re stressed and anxious it’s perfectly normal for your sleep patterns to be disturbed.  For some people, sleep will naturally sort itself out when the stress is over or one gets used to the new routine or situation. However, for others your sleep may get ‘stuck’ in this disturbed pattern, increasing your stress levels and making it more difficult for you find the energy to get on with life.

The first part of this workshop will help you to identify different types of sleep disorders; increase your understanding of the effects of poor sleep and explore the physical, emotional, lifestyle and environmental causes of sleep problems.  The second part will focus on teaching you practical strategies and ideas on how to improve your sleep, including relaxation techniques, and recognising and challenging unhelpful expectations and anxious thoughts around sleep. It will teach you a technique to ‘retrain’ yourself to sleep properly and give you a series of useful ‘Sleeping Tips’ along with a list of books and websites for further reading and information.  Come along and learn how to improve your sleep patterns so that you can increase  your energy and concentration to ensure you can handle the stresses and pressures of life.

Stress Management

This workshop is aimed at helping you manage your stress levels. We will look at what stress is and try to understand how this affects us in terms of our thoughts, feelings, physical symptoms and behaviour.  We will cover strategies that will support you to recognise what triggers your stress and to manage stressful thoughts and feelings. Finally, we will look at calming our stress levels and various relaxation methods, including mindfulness.

The Feel Good Factor – As James Brown sang “I feel good”


The aim of this workshop is to help you to develop skills and techniques that will enhance your self esteem and increase your confidence.  It will to teach you how to tackle self criticism, and negative automatic thoughts.  It will also help you to develop a kinder attitude towards yourself and to think in a more balanced way.  You will also be encouraged to think about your general health and well-being, and will learn some simple tips that will enable you to look after yourself so that you feel refreshed and energised.

Wannabe Well

This workshop is aimed at helping you improve your wellbeing. The workshop will be delivered by our trained student Wellbeing Champions. We will explore what wellbeing is and the importance of improving emotional, mental and physical wellbeing.

We will then focus on strategies you can use to strike a good balance, look after yourself and improve your wellbeing. 


Group 4: Leadership

Leadership Styles – “Be a leader not a follower” 

Wednesday 27/03/19 2-4pm

Book at https://www.cardiffstudents.com/jobs-skills/skills-development-service/signing-up/

This unit covers the roles and functions of leadership, the different types of leader and how to develop leadership qualities and characteristics within you.  At the end of this sesssion you will have identified your own leadership style and learnt to adapt according to the situations you face.

Leadership In Difficult Situations – “It doesn’t have to be this way” 

Many people are put off from aspiring into a leadership role because they fear possible confrontation and adverse reactions from the members of staff they will be responsible for. Others handle these situations indifferently resulting in a bad working environment.  This workshop will help you understand effective supervision and how to it can help smooth the transition from team member to team leader,  You will also learn some tips to overcome some interpersonal challenges you may face in the leader role.

Problem Solving – “I don’t know what all the fuss is about” 

How do you react when you encounter a problem? The most successful individuals, departments and organisations change the word problem into “opportunity.” You will be entering environments where the buck will stop with you.  This workshop introduces you to a range of methods which help identify the sources of problems, provide both theoretical and practical advice to help solve them and help you learn how to reflect upon the successful outcomes of problems faced.

Teamwork – “Play your best role” 

Thursday 28/03/19 2-4pm or 6-8pm

Book at https://www.cardiffstudents.com/jobs-skills/skills-development-service/signing-up/

A recent survey showed that employees performed poorly in this respect.  Teamwork is thus effective when qualities which individuals possess are harnessed in order to contribute to team success. The ability to work effectively as part of a team is becoming increasingly important in every business environment.  During this interactive unit you will have the chance to take part in a team challenge and provide the chance of reviewing how effective teams should work.  You will also look at all the “roles” required to make the “ideal” team in order to understand the benefits of team dynamics.

Team Briefing (e-learning)  - “They never told me that”

More and more organisations recognise the value of passing on vital information to subordinates in an effective fashion. Team briefing is about good face to face communication between three parties – the manager, the team leader and the team.  This unit will inform you of how to select appropriate material and the actual briefing process so that you will feel authorative, confident and and competent when leading team meetings.  As this unit is completed in e-learning format there won’t be any dates and times advertised but you will be emailed the link upon request or once you have completed the other 4 workshops in this group.

Recording Attendances

While we keep records of attendances, you are responsible for managing your learning including ensuring you arrive punctually for each session and signing the register, and it is recommended that you keep copies of all the exercises, activities and notes featured in each of the units.  It will be necessary for you to keep the Personal Progression Record (mentioned at the top of this page) updated before and after each workshop.  Once you have completed 5 units in the same group you will be asked to send in your completed PPR.  

Certificates  are issued in e-format and will be emailed to you around 1-2 weeks after receipt of your PPR.  You can print the e-certificate at a library, University print centres or print it off yourself. 

We will invite you to complete an optional online evaluation which provides us with some key information appropriate to the units undertaken.


The timetable for the 2018-19 academic year, autumn semester is available here.