Louise Smyth: 2018 Graduation Ball Special Award Winner

Louise Smyth was awarded the Advanced Qualifications Special Achievement Award at the DMS Ireland Graduation Ball and explains how her qualification has enabled her to think more strategically and has renewed her focus and passion for learning and development.  Louise completed the CIPD Advanced Diploma in Human Resource Development within 15 months with DMS Ireland.


Name:                  Louise Smyth    

Job Title:             Training & Development Advisor

Organisation:    National Museums NI

Number of years with your organisation company:          12.5

Brief Description of what the organisation does:  National Museums NI are Northern Ireland’s premier cultural, learning & tourist destinations.  We operate over 4 sites: the Ulster Museum; the Ulster Folk & Transport Museum; the Ulster American Folk Park and our Collections Stores. We are the custodians of the National Collection of 1.4 million objects and across our unique sites, we care for and present inspirational collections reflecting the creativity, innovation, history, culture and people of Northern Ireland and beyond.

Brief Description of your role within the organisation: I am responsible for staff training, learning and development within the museum.  It is a varied role which takes me across all of our sites where I design, deliver and/ or facilitate training, learning and development opportunities; lead on our organisation’s Vocational Qualifications; undertake organisational development and partner projects; advise colleagues and manage the day to day operations of the Learning & Development function. No two days are the same!

Why did you choose to embark on the CIPD Qualification with DMS Ireland? At this stage in my career I wanted to focus on my professional development and further my membership of the CIPD, following on from the Certificate in Training Practice which I undertook earlier in my career.  Whilst DMS had been recommended to me by previous learners, I fully researched options available to me to develop myself further and work towards Chartered CIPD membership.  Several distance learning options were an option, however, in terms of cost, credibility, delivery and support, DMS Ireland were best placed to facilitate the learning I required – as evidenced in communications from them and informal discussions pre/ at commencement about how we could work together and what we could realistically achieve.

How did the CIPD Qualification help you in your role the workplace? The CIPD Qualification has helped me in my role within National Museums NI in developing my confidence as well as my professional capacity.  Whilst previously aware and working to the CIPD Code of Conduct, undertaking my qualification has brought new perspective to this framework and the ethical practice of working to this standard on a day to day basis.  Additionally my qualification has enabled me to think more strategically about my outputs and the outcomes these aim to bring about, as well as inspiring me to shape and facilitate organisational development activities with greater consideration, professional and currency.  The qualification has renewed my focus and passion for learning and development but also extended my interest to engagement, communications and the tenants of both HRM and HRD that are the foundations for these.

How has your organisation benefited from you completing the CIPD Qualification? National Museums NI has benefited from my completion of the Advanced Diploma in HRD by increasing the professionalism of the wider OD&HR Team.  The team and wider organisation have benefitted from my up-to-date knowledge and self-reflective practice which I have brought to bear in day to day as well as project working.  Completion of the qualification also reflects that National Museums NI is an organisation keen to develop individuals, teams and the organisation itself via a variety of short, medium and long term opportunities as appropriate.

How would you describe your experience working with DMS? I found my experience of working with DMS challenging.  It was challenging for me personally to find the balance between my learning needs and expectations.  As my time with DMS progressed, however, I became more aware of the level I was working at and what was required professionally and personally in order to achieve the results I did.  DMS staff, chiefly Lynn and Chris supported my development in one-to-ones, workshops, via feedback and encouragement and much needed coffee breaks along the way!

How did it feel to win a Special Award at the DMS Ireland Graduation Ball 2018: I was thoroughly surprised to win a Special Achievement Award at the DMS Ireland Graduation Ball 2018.  Once past the shock, however, I was pleased that my focus and the hard work I had put into my professional development over the past two years was recognised in such a way.  It was the ‘icing on the cake’ to achieving my Advanced Diploma in HRD.

 This Award was sponsored by Graphite HRM and presented by Moira Grassick, Associate Director.  To find out more about Graphite HRM, please click on the logo above.

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