Angela Rayner, Shadow Education Secretary, yesterday (20 November) announced that a Labour government would remove the requirement for Higher Education qualifications in order to access civil service jobs wherever they are irrelevant to the role.
By valuing an individual’s skills, experience and knowledge equally to academic achievement, the pool of candidates for government jobs would be broadened and the civil service would come to represent the British public more closely, she told the Association of Colleges annual conference.
“Under the Tories, further education funding has seen billions of pounds of cuts, and too often opportunities are not available to those who do not pursue a traditional academic qualification,” Rayner said.
“We will end the snobbery that underpins attitudes towards different types of qualification,” she vowed.
The idea is not a new one. Major employers such as Google, Penguin Books, Apple, IBM and Virgin Media have removed academic qualification requirements for jobs where they are not needed in a bid to find the best person for the job, not simply the most qualified.
But Rayner acknowledged that encouraging more employers to take this approach required “leadership from government”.
“Government itself will lead the way in setting a clear example to other employers that a person’s skills and experience is as valuable as any particular type of qualification,” she said.
“And we will ensure that those working at the heart of government become more representative of the country they serve.”