Thursday, 31 January 2008

Workplace Qualifications - whats the problem?

I am both pleased and disappointed about the announcement concerning the introduction of the new accredited workplace qualifications being introduced by McDonalds, FlyBe and Network Rail in the UK. These new qualifications will be recognised by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) and courses can achieve upto 'A' level equivalence - or Advanced Diploma. Companies involved have met all the very rigorous criteria set out in the Qualifications Credit Framework (QCF).

Pleased because I genuinely believe that all employees who want to undertake continuing education or professional development should have the chance and also to have their efforts validated and be given credit for it. It allows employees to gain additional relevant qualifications which will broaden their career opportunities within that industry.
Disappointed though to read some of the online comments to this story with people dismissing this development as worthless, and talking about 'A' levels for flipping burgers - which just demonstrates that they have no clue what they are talking about. Unfortunately they tend to come across as old duffers who are still complaining that we don't still learn Greek and write with quills. Times have changed and the pace of change is quickening - they obviously haven't.
Some universities have also noted that, at this stage, they may not recognise these qualifications - for the majority of the people that these courses are aimed at this will not be a problem - initially!! I am sure that even these bodies will be more flexible in their response as they become more established. If the more traditional universities don't recognise them - there are other agencies that are, right now, developing workplace degrees - right up to Doctorate level. NO agency can afford to say a catagoric 'No" - times are changing too fast.
I am confident that these are really just the start of a flood of such vocational qualifications - the three companies indentified are just the trendsetters and give their employees a real opportunity to develop a career path for themselves - isn't this a really good example of developing life long learning opportunities?

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