McQualifications – official qualifications in the workplace

Diploma-scroll Talk about cognitive dissonance – I thought I was still asleep and dreaming when I heard on the radio this morning that three large corporate employers (including a certain well-known fast-food chain) have been granted the right to act as examination boards by the UK government. This means they can grant their employees qualifications which (theoretically) have value beyond the walls of the company where they were earned, unlike many current vocational qualifications. [Image from stock.xchng]

I expect that, certainly at first, an A-Level in McManagement won’t be worth the paper it’s written on, except with similar employers – but if the scheme sticks, that will probably change. You could probably argue that more people will end up with qualifications if there’s the financial incentive of receiving a working wage while earning them.

But what if this is the thin end of the wedge? What if, in a few decades, kindergartens and primary schools are run (or sponsored) by corporate interests? In a climate of growing deficits, it’s not that unlikely a scenario – and we’ve already been softened up to the idea by supermarket vouchers-for-equipment schemes. But then again, there’s little difference between governments and corporations as it is … once again, Snow Crash seems eerily prescient. Or am I just engaging in knee-jerk cyberpunk paranoia?
[tags]corporate, training, education, qualifications[/tags]

9 thoughts on “McQualifications – official qualifications in the workplace”

  1. No you are not being paranoid. In the current economic paradigm no single state can afford to be too excessive about taxes, maintaining a decent infrastructure, wellfare, insurances and justice. If you tax too heavily business will move to the next country where rates are lower.

    I can already see this swing backwards. In a few years, when the pax americana is seriously over, countries may opt to decide to start taxing imports from COMPANIES that do not provide tax revenues and/or employment. This will become more and more nesessary as it becomes easier to automate production processes, as corporations lay off more and more people, as more and more work is outsourced – and the domestic popular becomes more pissed.

    Something like this will happen first in europe probably which still has a humane wellfare net in place. Obviously the murrcans will whine and nag about unfair trade practices (as at the same time US cities will be burning in riots, homelessness and starvation) and after that it will spread.

    The pendulum will swing back. Capitalism as we see it now is completely unsustainable and sooner or later that’ll sink in HARD with voters.

  2. Successful companies only exist because people vote for them every day by purchasing their products. I can only vote for my local school board representative once every 2 to 4 years. And I NEVER get the chance to oust the bureaucracy that supports them.

    McCredentials programs will be more useful to students and employers because they are actually more democratic and responsive to society’s needs than government run schools are.

  3. Frankly, I’d put more weight on a diploma provided by a corporation than I would the government.

    As stated above, companies are more responsive than governments; I left school because I was treated like a number by a faceless bureaucracy that was never held to account for it’s many, many failings.

    Consider for a moment the fact that Universities provide degrees based on a fairly rigid and fixed schedule, a schedule that does not respond to the actual learning progress of individual students. What if you could learn a four year program in two years? Too bad. You got to spend the extra two years, twiddling your thumbs, wasting your time because the system does not accurately measure or respond to the real progress made by real people.

    Universities don’t bother conforming to the needs or skills of their students; they’d much rather their students conform to their needs. *spits*

    Worst of all is the fact that the government accredits universities, creating a government backed monopoly on education services. I’d rather the government *not* corner the idea market. Hell, I’d rather the government not be involved in the idea market at all.

  4. Honestly, I am not quite worried about this. I have a credential issued by a private organization that is worth almost as much as my university degrees (the PMP).

    If the accreditation process is relatively rigorous and tests actual ability, whether the issuer is corporate or not matters little. Hell, Toyota has done this in Japan (with Toyota Technical High Schools) for a long time. I’d wager the quality of education (where students are actually expected to perform well on work rather than just meet some arbitrary state exam and have high self esteem) might actually go up.

    And as for the ‘capitalism being unworkable’, the present state of economic affairs is hardly capitalism. (Look up: John Maynard Keynes). As long as we can remain in a system that is remotely close to the rule of law, we can expect these institutions and credentials to be fairly useful.

    And, to be blunt (and write a novel here), there are a lot of people with no business going to college. If those people can get some value-added out of working somewhere and receiving credentials (like my father did with those union things we used to have…), more power to them. Also, has anyone heard of a CCNA, CCNP, A+, Microsoft Certified, etc etc? None of those are goobermint credentials 😉

  5. I beg to differ on IT certification. It’s only IT management who don’t consider them jokes. After all, when a person pays for a qualification, it’s in the issuing authority’s interest to ensure they receive it. If people keep on paying to take an exam and never pass it, they’ll stop paying…

    I’ve met no end of useless people who have “qualifications” (i.e., certification from Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco, Novel, etc.). In a choice between someone with a certificate and someone with experience, I’ll take experience every time.

    Company-created education is designed to meet the needs of the company, not those of the person being educated. And in a competitive market-place, no company is going to train up candidates for their rivals to hire.

  6. That’s certainly one opinion. I suppose, being in IT management, I get lumped in the latter category. I haven’t found many people with those certifications who haven’t been experienced… but then again, I’ve never even considered someone who’s had under five years of experience. The certifications prove, combined with experience, largely that those people have some working knowledge of a particular technology. All other things being equal, I’d prefer the novell-certified guy to work on the novell environment.

    (and I should note I have none of those certs, except the PMP, which I would contend has value largely because of the extensive education and experience requirements, and PMI’s independence from any given company)

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