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Certificate Of Personal Development 

(CPD) In Employability Attributes

There are four levels in this scheme. Bronze award for any 5 units; Silver for any 10; Gold for any 15 and Platinum for any 20.  Each certificate is signed jointly by the Pro Vice Chancellor, Student Experience & Academic Standards and the Head of Training & Development, Skills Development Service. 

 To achieve a Certificate of Personal Development you need to:

  • Attend and actively take part in all of the chosen units applicable to the appropriate award 
  • Complete a short online evaluation and reflection following completion of the final unit at the applicable level

You may work towards achieving these over several semesters or even academic years.  All units are of between 90 minutes and 2 hours duration.

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 are recommended you keep copies of all the exercises, activities and notes featured in each of the units.  It may prove helpful for you to keep a record of your attendances by date and session title.  Once you have completed multiples of 5 units you will be invited to undertake a short online evaluation and reflection.  

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


Units available in this certificate provision with their skills orientation in brackets: 

Assertiveness (Leadership, Communication, Interpersonal)

Auditing Case Study (Business)

Breathe - Managing Anxiety & Stress taught version (Wellbeing)

Coaching Skills (Leadership, Interpersonal)


Commercial Awareness (Business, Personal Effectiveness)


Customer Communication Skills (Communication, Business)


CV Masterclass (Job Application)


Dealing With Examinations’ Anxieties taught version (Wellbeing, Self-confidence)


Dealing With General Anxiety (Wellbeing)


Dealing With Perfectionism (Personal Effectiveness, Wellbeing)


Dealing With Presentations’ Anxieties (Wellbeing, Self-confidence)

Having Difficult Conversations (Leadership, Communication, Interpersonal)

Introduction To Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (Wellbeing)

Interview Techniques (Job Application)

Leadership In Difficult Situations (Leadership)

Leadership Styles (Leadership)

Listening & Awareness (Communication, Interpersonal)

Managing Anger & Communicating More Effectively (Communication, Interpersonal)

Managing Procrastination (Personal Effectiveness)

Managing Anxiety & Stress taught version (Wellbeing)

Mood Booster - Managing Low Mood & Depression taught version  (Wellbeing)

Motivation (Personal Effectiveness)

Negotiation Skills (Communication, Interpersonal)

Practical Presentations (Communication, Self-confidence)

Problem Solving (Personal Effectiveness)

Psychometric Testing (Job Application)

Relaxation Techniques (Wellbeing)

Sales Skills (Communication, Business)

Sleep Well (Wellbeing)

Speaking & Presenting (Communication, Self-confidence)

Stress Management (Personal Effectiveness, Wellbeing)

Striking The Balance (Personal Effectiveness, Wellbeing)

Successful Networking (Personal Effectiveness, Communication, Self-confidence, Interpersonal)

Team Briefings  - e-learning format (Leadership, Communication)

Teamwork (Leadership, Personal Effectiveness, Self-confidence)

The Confidence Factor (Communication, Interpersonal, Self-confidence)

The Feel Good Factor - Self Esteem (Wellbeing, Self-confidence)

Time Management (Personal Effectiveness)

Any new titles which are introduced during the currency of the academic year count towards the awards.



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 and enable you to state your points in a firm but assertive way.

Auditing Case Study

Useful for anyone interested in management or entrepreneurship. Within Assurance you’ll be providing decision makers with information they can trust and giving investors confidence. High-quality audit adds insight and value and shows if a company is sustainable and profitable. Auditing companies do the most interesting work for the biggest clients, and are constantly innovating and creating new opportunities. This work offers you the opportunity to develop your strengths and discover your purpose. Find out more about work that really matters through this interactive session that will cover Financial Audit, Government & Public Sector and Risk Assurance.

Breathe - Managing Anxiety & Stress

This workshop runs each term and is aimed at helping you manage anxiety and stress. We will explore what anxiety and stress look like and how they are maintained.

We 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 that maintain anxiety and stress.

Coaching Skills 

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 which you can use to show someone that every little piece of effort is a significant step in leading to greater achievement.  “When selecting candidates, we look for people who will have a positive impact on others.” (Ed Fox, Barclays Bank).

Customer Communication Skills 

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.  This unit concentrates on how communication plays its part in overcoming difficult customer behaviour and how to bring transactions to successful conclusions.  A recent survey showed that employees performed badly in areas such as “going the extra mile”.  

“Eighty per cent failure at work is due to an inability to relate to other people rather than a lack of technical skills” (Robert Bolton).  

Commercial Awareness  

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. Employees 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. Learn simple steps you can take to help you become commercially aware during your time at university and ensure that, when the time comes, you’re all set to wow employers and turn that dream job into a reality.  

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, putting into practice the lessons learnt. 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’ Anxieties>

This workshop will teach you effective strategies to gain control over your anxiety, enabling you to concentrate and think clearly when studying for and sitting your exams.

Coping strategies that you learn in this workshop will stand you in good stead in the workplace. Working to deadlines, planning your time and communicating well with others are all skills that many of you will use every day throughout your working life. Gaining control of your anxiety will enable you to develop these skills effectively and thus improve your employability.

Dealing With Perfectionism     

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. Having a healthy balance between high standards and your psychological well-being will enable you to not only achieve your goals, but enjoy life more whilst you are achieving.

Dealing With Presentations' Anxieties

This workshop will offer you effective strategies to gain control over your anxiety, enabling you to concentrate and think clearly when giving a presentation.  

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, enabling you to get a healthier, more balanced outlook on life.

The Feel Good Factor

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 help you to develop a kinder attitude towards yourself and to think in a more balanced way. You will learn how to manage interpersonal relationships more effectively by developing self awareness, and communicating more assertively.

This workshop will encourage you to think about your general health and well-being, and suggest simple tips that will enable you to look after yourself.

It can support you in developing good interpersonal skills, teamwork and self-awareness all of which are competencies highly valued in the workplace environment.

Having Challenging Conversations

A difficult or challenging conversation is a conversation 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 to have those difficult conversations and provides you with an insight into why some conversations are harder to have then others.

Interview Techniques

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. 

Introduction To Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

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 is underpinned by two main principles: Accept the things you can’t control, and: Make a commitment to do what you can to improve your life. 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.


You will learn new ideas by listening, watching some short videos and taking part in simple activities during the session.


Leadership In Difficult Situations 

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 unit looks at how effective supervision helps smooth the transition from team member to team leader and how to overcome some interpersonal challenges you may face in the leader role.

Leadership Styles 

This unit covers the roles and functions of leadership, the different types of leader and how to develop leadership qualities and characteristics within you.

Listening & Awareness 

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.

Managing Anger & Communicating More Effectively 

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, such as spoiling our relationships with loved ones or friends, limiting our life experiences and our ability to achieve happiness.

Techniques that you learn in this workshop will stand you in good stead throughout your working life.  By learning to think and act more calmly, you will equip yourself to handle the stresses and pressures of the work environment, communicate your feelings better with colleagues and peers and develop your teamwork skills with the aim of being happy in your working life.

Managing Procrastination

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.

Strategies that you learn in this workshop will stand you in good stead your academic studies and in the workplace. Working to deadlines, planning your time, and communicating 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.

Mood Booster - Managing Low Mood & Depression

This workshop is aimed at helping you cope with low mood and symptoms of depression. We will explore the different types of depression people can experience, how depression can develop and the things that can maintain it.

We 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.


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.

Negotiation Skills

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 by looking at how to prepare your goals and take part in a negotiation situation.

Problem Solving 

How do you react when you encounter a problem?  The most successful organisations and individuals change the word problem into “opportunity.”  You will be entering environments where the buck will stop with you.  This unit 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.

Practical Presentations

This unit is completed either by carrying out a 5 minutes or longer individual presentation anywhere during your studies at university or attending a session at the Skills Development Service (SDS). If you choose the former you will evaluate your presentation and obtain a witness testimony from your supervisor/other to verify that an effective presentation took place.

If you choose to attend at the SDS you will have the chance to present in front of an audience in 2 short separate ways.   In the first part everyone present will talk on a topic of interest without notes to rely on following a thread of a topic provided. The second part consists of you practicing your fluency by thinking about ideas from images that are previously unseen on screen and describing what you see to the audience.  You will also engage in giving and receiving feedback and evaluating yourself throughout the process.

The overall purpose of this unit is to instil brevity, confidence and fluency, attributes which help keep you going when undertaking presentations.

Psychometric Testing

Many graduate employers use psychometric assessment tools to assess candidates for their organisations. This session will give you an introduction to various types of psychometric assessment tests and gives you an 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.


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, and will increase your ability to handle workload demands, and positively manage working relationships in the future.

There will also be a chance to practice some of these strategies during the workshop.

Sales Skills 

This unit will focus on the customer journey and how the seller must adapt their style and approach with different personality types.  We will explore objection handling during the customer interview and sales aftercare. 

Sleep Well

When you’re stressed and anxious (such as at exam time) or dealing with changes to your normal routine (for instance, starting a new experience like coming to university), it’s perfectly normal for your sleep patterns to be disturbed. For some people your sleep will naturally sort itself out when the stress is over or you get 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.

By learning to relax and improve your sleep patterns, you will have increased your energy and concentration to ensure you can handle the stresses and pressures of life.

Speaking & Presenting 

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. It gives you practice in using various resources and equipment to help you get your message effectively across to your audience.

Stress Management

This workshop is aimed at helping students manage their 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.

Striking The Balance 

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 take things forward.

Successful Networking 

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 recognise and quantify your assets, create a positive impression and maximise the opportunities to get yourself known by potentially influential people.

Team Briefing (e-learning)

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 covers how to select appropriate material and the actual briefing process.  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.


Teamwork is 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 which will provide the chance of reviewing how effective teams should work. We will also look at all the “roles” required to make the “ideal” team.  A recent survey showed that employees performed badly in areas such as teamwork. 

The Confidence Factor 

Are you ready for interacting with others in the workplace? Whilst work is something that can improve our confidence it can also knock us 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 and deal with criticism through using defusing techniques and at what confident communication looks like.

Time Management 

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