Licences for manual workers would do little for standards: work practices

Forcing employees, such as care workers, kitchen staff and railway track maintenance engineers, to obtain licences to prove they are fully trained is unlikely to improve standards, according to HR consultancy Croner.

City & Guilds, the UK’s largest provider of vocational training, has urged the government to make skilled craftsmen, technicians and trades people subject to ‘licences to practice’ to minimise the number of ‘cowboys’ operating and to help close the UK’s skills gaps.

Earlier this month, Chris Humphries, chief executive of City & Guilds, said: “It is bloody madness that it is acceptable in the UK for unqualified people to lay our railway tracks, look after our elderly in care homes, and handle and prepare food in restaurants and factories – all despite the huge risks to health and safety.”

But Nasar Farooq, health and safety technical manager at Croner, said vocational qualifications were not sufficient to guarantee a standard of workmanship.

“While we support training and education, it is un-realistic to equate an imposed minimum level of vocational qualifications to improved industry standards,” he said.

“There is no fail-safe approach, and employers should encourage best practice through recruiting competent workers, complying with regulation, and providing on-the-job training.”


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