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Is a McDegree next on the menu?

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A new not-for-profit consultancy will be launched in March to help employers that want to develop their own higher-education qualifications.

HE@Work will help organisations develop their in-house training programmes to meet the standards required by higher education institutions. Instead of being restricted to a company-specific qualification, employees will be awarded recognised and transferable higher education credit within an externally kite-marked company scheme.

Supported by the Edge Foundation and the University Vocational Awards Council – and headed up by John Mumford, ex vice president at BP, and Simon Roodhouse, an expert in higher vocational learning – HE@Work will provide the specialist advice required by employers looking to take their in-house training programmes to the highest levels.

John Mumford, executive chair of HE@Work, said: “By allowing McDonald’s and others to award qualifications, the government is reinforcing its current focus on developing employees at GCSE and A level. However, there is an additional workplace need to develop people to degree level and beyond.”

Simon Roodhouse, the organisation’s technical director, said that employees themselves are keen to develop their professional skills.

“Companies that offer recognised, accredited programmes at higher levels will find themselves becoming employers of choice as skills gaps and shortages become greater and the inevitable war for talent ensues.”

HE@Work’s claims are backed up by independent research the company commissioned to test the market for its consultancy services. Nearly 5,000 individuals working for organisations with more than 2,000 employees took part in the survey during January.

Almost 80 per cent of this sample said they would like to have more opportunities to develop professionally – and a staggering 85 per cent want to learn more about studying for an employer-specific accredited degree or postgraduate qualification.

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