Thursday, 11 March 2010
What's so wrong with McDonald’s?
McDonald’s has been accredited by Ofqual (the national exams watchdog) and the fast food chain is now able to serve up its own certificates to teenagers who successfully complete a ten-day work placement at McDonald’s. Each participant will earn a ‘BTEC Level 2 Certificate in Work Skills’ endorsed by the exam board Edexcel. It will be the equivalent of a B or C grade at GCSE.
Educationalists complain that the certificate in work skills will be awarded for young people who’ve merely spent their time flipping burgers, serving customers, handling cash and cleaning tables. They condemn the McGCSE for ‘devaluing the currency of the GCSE’.
Putting aside the argument that the government has already devalued GCSEs by lowering the pass rate year on year and dumbing down the curriculum, I know which qualification I’d value more. Working in a fast food outlet, dealing with Neanderthal diners, cleaning filthy tables and still remaining cheerful is one hell of a skill to acquire. One McGCSE must be worth five ordinary GCSEs in child minding, psychology, media and tourism studies… or whatever silly subjects today’s exams are taken in.
The UK is still a very snobbish country while pretending to be a beacon of equal opportunity. And perhaps none are more snobbish than the Guardian-reading liberals who sneer at McDonalds and supermarket workers while steering their own kids into the safe haven of teaching, social work and other public sector managerial positions. And we all know how wonderful and efficiently run public services are compared to the likes of McDonalds and Sainsburys… organisations that must give their customers what they want or else face bankruptcy.
I’d like to speak up for the people who do work in McDonald’s or Sainsburys workers. At least they know how to put in a hard day’s graft and the skills they pick up are invaluable to today’s employers. There’s no shame in working within the service sector.
Roll on the McGCSE… and let’s hope there will be many more employers willing to offer young people a proper taste of the world of work and a bite at the opportunity to be usefully employed.