Coming Soon, the McA-Level

Today’s media oulets all seem to be carrying the story that McDonalds is going to be offering A-level equivalent courses. See here, for example.

According to the Guardian, the McDonalds course is a “basic shift manager course” to train staff in everything they need to run a McDonalds outlet, including marketting, human resources and customer services.

This would appear to be an internal McDonalds training course being granted national recognition. Gordon Brown has said that the intention is to create apprenticeships in order to produce the skills the economy needs. Other company’s being mentioned as potentially offering such courses are Network Rail and the budget airline Flybe.

I suspect that there will be some opposition to this but personally, I have no problems in principle with private companies training and educating their staff. I think there are going to be problems in practice, though. In the past, most school-leavers did employer-based apprenticeships which included on the job training plus one day or a couple of evenings a week at college. The qualification they received, be it City and Guilds, ONC, OND, HNC or HND was nationally recogised and the employers themselves did not set the standards.

Unfortunately, as I understand it, the Government’s proposal is that the employers themselves will become recognised examining boards, so they are hardly going to disapprove of their own courses, which are at risk of being over-specialised – too orientated to the needs of the particular company that set the course. Finishing up with a set of such qualifications will not enable employees to compete in the job market. They risk having qualifications that are only useful to one employer and thus being tied to them.

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