With an ever-changing world, the world of learning needs to adapt. But, at the same time, it is important that our qualifications are standardised for them to mean anything. A possible way forward is to introduce ‘unitisation’. (Some work on this has already began) This is where all qualifications are broken down into standardised modules which can be mixed with other standardised modules to make up a ‘personal’ qualification which helps match the requirements for a specified job more precisely. Having qualifications based on modules and not a ‘whole qualification’ means that things can be kept up to date more easily. (NVQ’s only have a shelf life of a few years). Also, it would mean that only modules where there has been significant changes need to be updated, instead of taking a ‘whole qualification’ to do so. That helps employers to become more relevant and thus competitive and employees to have more ‘saleable’ skills in an ever-changing jobs market where employment is no longer guaranteed for life.
At the moment a qualification usually only forms part of the requirements for any given job, and the applicant then has to take other qualifications to make up for the shortfall. The other issue is that employers are not very precise as to what sort of qualifications they require of their workers. Also, the needs of employers are changing at a faster rate than in the past, and thus qualifications on their own become obsolete. ‘Unitisation’ helps deal with these issues.
This ‘unitisation’ will also need to apply to degree qualifications, which often vary in quality and/or standing in the world of business.
All this would mean that current skill sector bodies having to widen participation to include universities, professional bodies as well as non-vocational groups. This last group is important as employers not only look for qualifications which demonstrate one’s skills but also for proof in such things as academic integrity, analytical capabilities, literacy and numeracy skills and abilities in communication as well as IT and social media provision.
This process could also help reduce the number of modules currently available through focusing on ‘niche’ markets that only the UK can provide in the global market. But, there still will be the need to provide ‘general’ modules to encourage studying to improve the mind and widen one’s interests as well as ones specifically to encourage research into ethics, processes and potential new ‘niche markets’. Hopefully, it will also help employers improve their job descriptions.