Labour promises to end civil service qualifications ‘snobbery’

The move is intended to allow a greater range of applicants to reflect diversity of modern Britain

Tuesday 20 November 2018 01:31 GMT
Shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner
Shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner (Reuters)

Civil servants will no longer require academic qualifications such as degrees or A-Levels unless they are generally relevant to the role being sought, the Labour Party has pledged.

The party says it is looking to tackle the “snobbery” over qualifications by ensuring the civil service recognises and values an individual’s skills, knowledge, and potential, regardless of their background.

The move will look to ensure that public adverts for jobs, short-listing requirements and interview processes will only look at academic qualifications if it is a necessary occupational requirement.

The intention is to allow a greater range of applicants for posts in the civil service and ensure that the civil service reflects the diversity of British society.

Speaking at the Association of Colleges annual conference, Angela Rayner MP, the shadow education secretary, called for a “deep seated culture change”.

“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,” Ms Rayner said.

“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.”

There has been a significant move towards this in other industries.

Companies such as Google, Penguin Books, Apple, IBM and Virgin Media have all removed degree and other academic qualifications requirement from jobs where it is not an occupational requirement.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in