Have a rant: Ageism and the pledge

It’s all very well the government saying it wants employers to promise (that is what a pledge is, after all) to bring all their staff up to level two equivalent, as outlined in the Leitch Review of Skills. But that aim takes no account of the changes to the education system over the years.

The call to employers to sign the pledge is asking them to sign up to something that is inherently ageist.

I’m old enough to remember when ‘O’ Levels (for more academic kids) and CSEs (for the more practically oriented) were the norm at what we now call level two.

There must be about 20 years’ worth of those qualifications left in the workforce, so who’s going to decide what level of CSE constitutes an equivalent to today’s level two?

And what if you did OK at history or geography but failed English? (By the way, I’m only middle-aged I’m not old.)

And at the top end of the age scale there are substantial numbers of pensioners joining the workforce because they can’t live on their state pensions or their private pensions have collapsed. Many of them will have left school at 14, some without even a school certificate.

Is DIY retailer B&Q really going to be expected to supply maths and English lessons to bring workers up to GCSE standard when they’re quite happy mixing paint a few days a week?

The pledge is just more hot air, calculated to make a good soundbite for the press, which has clearly not been thought through properly.

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