26 September 2023

UNITED KINGDOM: Call for curb on ‘snobby’ degrees

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The Opposition Labour Party has called on the United Kingdom Government to end consideration of academic qualifications for Public Service jobs apart from where they were directly related to the post applied for.

The party’s Deputy Leader, Angela Rayner (pictured) said this would end the “snobbery” over degrees.

Ms Rayner said degrees and advanced level school qualifications (A-levels) should be taken into account only where they was a genuine occupational requirement, such as jobs related to science.

Her call follows a speech by the Minister who oversees the Public Service, Michael Gove in which he promised to open up the bureaucracy to more external talent.

Mr Gove said all senior Public Service roles would be advertised externally and there would be new flexible entry routes into Whitehall.

Ms Rayner, who went to a further education college, said the Government should go further and make it recruitment policy that public job advertisements, shortlisting requirements and interview processes should only consider academic qualifications when they were strictly role-related.

“This will allow the Civil Service to choose from a wider pool of candidates and those with a broader life experience,” Ms Rayner said.

“This Government has long talked a good game on parity of esteem, but that rhetoric has not been matched by action,” she said.

Ms Rayner said the Government should set an example by showing it was skills, experience and hard work that mattered “not a particular type of education or where somebody went to school or university”.

“If Michael Gove really wants to attract the most talented people to work in our Civil Service, then he should end the ingrained snobbery that underpins attitudes towards different types of qualifications and the outdated assumption that academic qualifications should be a basic entry requirement for Government jobs,” the Deputy Leader said.

London, 25 June 2021

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