Few bosses would deny that having an educated and well-trained workforce is good for business. But some companies seem to be taking that logic into questionable territory.
By offering degree-level qualifications for training in the retail and catering sectors, companies such as McDonald’s, KFC and now Asda risk making a mockery of both education and themselves.
A small number of staff at the Wal-Mart subsidiary Asda will join the ranks of other service and retail employees in earning a degree for their training. McDonald’s famously offered foundation degrees through Manchester Metropolitan University in 2010. The company pays for the education and training of its staff, which is tailored specifically to the needs of the company.
For Asda, this means learning about retail or distribution, which is obviously of benefit to the supermarket giant. It also offers career prospects for the employees chosen for the scheme, which Asda is currently limiting to 30 members of staff. Allowing businesses to develop and award their own qualifications makes the representatives of big industry salivate. It provides them workers who are trained specifically with the company’s needs in mind.
There is a danger of what critics deem ‘Mickey Mouse’ degrees tarnishing the wider education system, which feeds every part of the economy, not just the retail giants who can afford to create their own degree programs.
John Lewis and Harrods have also set up their own degree programs for staff, which allows them to work and train simultaneously. But by tying education so directly to work – something the coalition government is keen to do – doesn’t just provide individuals with an ‘education’ and industry-specific qualifications; it gives business a tighter grip over education.
This obviously benefits companies – particularly the multinationals who can afford to play the game – in the short term. In the USA, for example, Microsoft clearly benefits from the state of North Carolina using an education system tailored by the company, since so many kids will be programmed to work for them when they leave school.
Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and Salesforce are all working with universities to offer credit-earning learning opportunities focusing on the latest tech advancements. Through these partnerships, students have access to 11 cloud technology certifications via Amazon Web Services alone.
But in the wider economy, it’s questionable at best. By giving large companies the power to get directly involved with education, it puts at a disadvantage firms who can’t afford to buy their own education system. Those who can award their own degrees instantly become entwined with the fabric of wider society in which other firms are not. They become indispensable, and have an even greater stake in the lives of those who earn their qualifications. Is that what society really needs?
Not Bad, Not Good
In the current jobs market, workers with genuine degrees end up competing with workers who have a ‘degree’ which is little more than company training, which devalues the currency of more rigorous academic qualifications. Some would argue, this waters down the education system as a whole, making it harder for businesses to find the right talent.
However in more recent developments many companies have abolished the need for degrees. So the whole subject is terribly up for debate. Join in.
- Lucy Walker is a journalist that covers finance, health and beauty since 2014. She has been writing for various online publications.
- December 7, 2023CryptoBitcoin’s Boundless Potential: Cathie Wood’s Parabolic Prediction
- December 6, 2023Stock MarketCoinbase Potential Revenue Boom from Bitcoin ETFs
- December 5, 2023Stock MarketFINRA Accused of Betraying Meta Investors in MMTLP Investigation Cover-Up
- December 5, 2023NewsWireDiscord Security Crisis: Hacked Accounts & Helpless Users