International news: Work experience goes towards qualifications

A bill introduced by French Secretary of State for Vocational Training
Nicole Péry in March is set to establish "validating vocational
experience". The principle is that every person in employment has the
right to have their work experience validated and counted towards a vocational
diploma or certificate. This principle has existed since 1992, but there has
been a low level of take-up by employees (only 7,000 a year) and it requires
taking at least one academic test. In France, continuing training mainly
benefits the best qualified workers, while 26 per cent of employees still have
a level of initial training below that of the certificate of vocational
aptitude. A manager in a company with more than 500 staff is 10 times more
likely to be given training than an unskilled worker in a small or medium-sized
enterprise. Under the proposal, all experience of work must be taken into

Good reputation counts according to top staff

Eighty-one per cent of top-performing employees, identified by their
employers, say maintaining a good personal reputation motivates them to achieve
peak performance, according to a Watson Wyatt survey of 551 large employers and
over 500 employees in the US. Only 15 per cent say expectation of financial
reward is a very significant influence.

Compromise needed on US minimum wage

The US House of Representatives passed a minimum wage hike on 9 March. The
$1/hour increase would be spread over two years. The Senate passed a $1/hour
increase spread over three years. Pension portability was included in both
bills. House and Senate leaders will need to work out a compromise bill to send
to the President before the minimum wage will be increased.

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