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Labour to tackle qualification “snobbery” in civil service

Labour will announce today that the Party will take action to tackle “snobbery” over qualifications and establish genuine parity of esteem by ensuring the civil service recognises and values an individual’s skills, knowledge, and potential, regardless of their background.

Speaking at the Association of Colleges annual conference on Tuesday 19th November, Angela Rayner MP, the Shadow Education Secretary, will announce that Labour in government will end the requirement for academic qualifications such as degrees or A-Levels for jobs in the civil service, unless they are genuinely relevant to the role.

The move would ensure that the Government’s public adverts, short listing requirements and interview processes will only consider academic qualifications where it is a genuine occupational requirement.

The move will allow a greater range of applicants for posts in the civil service, including the Fast Stream, and ensure that the civil service reflects the diversity of British society.

Removing these restrictions will allow the civil service to choose from a much wider pool of candidates, with broader life experience, and find the best person for the job.Speaking at the conference, Angela Rayner will say that the move is part of the “deep seated culture change” needed to deliver genuine parity of esteem through Labour’s National Education Service.

There has been a significant move towards this in other industries. Companies such as Google, Penguin Books, Apple, IBM and Virgin Media have removed degree and other academic qualifications requirement from jobs where it is not an occupational requirement.

Announcing the policy, Angela Rayner MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Education, said
“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. We know that genuine ‘parity of esteem’ will need resources as well as rhetoric.

“But achieving a deep seated culture change, where employers both know and value different kinds of education, needs leadership from government as well. So a Labour Government will practise what it preaches.

“We will end the snobbery that underpins attitudes towards different types of qualification and end the assumption that academic qualifications should be a basic entry requirement for jobs in Whitehall, limiting them to where they are necessary. 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.

“And we will ensure that those working at the heart of government become more representative of the country they serve.”