Tuesday, January 29, 2008


In Britain you can now earn nationally recognized school credits through the employee training program at McDonald's.

"Prime Minister Gordon Brown enthusiastically praised the program, along with related plans to expand the number of apprenticeships for young people. Addressing a conference of business leaders Monday, he spoke of historical importance for the British economy: "A generation ago, a British prime minister had to worry about the global arms race," he said. "Today a British prime minister has to worry about the global skills race."

He added: "The biggest barrier to Britain's success in the jobs of the future: a skills deficit particularly amongst the low paid."

This is true, but can you really overcome the skills deficit by rebranding the training programs for low-skilled jobs? What I know of jobs at McDonald's (see Fast Food Nation), they have been systematically de-skilled, so that you barely have to read or add to nuke the food and push the buttons at the register (which have pictures of the dishes on them).

Youth unemployment remains quite the scourge in Britain as indeed throughout Europe. Still, higher education in Britain is in an interesting state of transition. Up to the 1990s, even ,they had many fewer people enrolling in college than we do. Now they have more short, topical programs with much lower fees than we do in the US, with what is meant to be better paths to employment. You can also receive government support as a young person under 25, including months of paid job training and employment counseling.

1 comment:

Manny said...

We have a similar 'scheme' here in Australia. I operate an Outback Steakhouse in Sydney and offer staff a 'traineeship' where they also earn credits towards a Hospitality Certificate. They also receive a fair hourly rate of pay. In theory if that employee stays with the restaurant long enough they can earn an equivalent diploma