Editor’s comment: Are McDegrees the future?

Most of you will have heard the clamour that accompanied the news last month that McDonald’s, Network Rail and Flybe are to award nationally recognised qualifications to staff who complete particular training. This has prompted howls of derision and calls of support in almost equal measure. So much so that we can be sure the term ‘McDegree’ isn’t far away.

However, we’ve heard little detail about how the accreditation process will work and how it will be monitored. It seems the Qualification and Curriculum Authority will grant accrediting powers to the threesome, but how this will work and how standards and output will be monitored hasn’t been made clear.

Yet this is absolutely key to this initiative – without the guarantee that employer-led accreditation is up to scratch and above board, it will carry little weight. How can this be addressed?

Perhaps this issue is best understood by thinking of how it should not be addressed: giving those who deliver and pay for the training the right to award nationally-recognised educational qualifications – which is what is happening in this instance. Just think of the muddle that would be generated if schools and colleges were responsible for awarding GCSE and A-level qualifications to courses they’ve developed and monitored.

It would be far better that a reputable and competent third party oversees and awards organisationally-delivered educational qualifications, rather than leave it to employers.

But should this be an existing one? I don’t think so. A new body with a specific remit would be more appropriate: one that could advise employers on how to develop in-house training and L&D that leads to externally valid accreditation as well as running the same.

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