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The point of qualifications, for a fair days work, for a fair days pay?.
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Posted October 7, 2013 at 11:52AM
Over the years there have been on a number of occasions, comments made of qualifications or ability to do a job, Whether that is how to build computers or some of the far more serious sides of life, and this topic perhaps more so recently, as raised its head on this forum.
Two examples recently on this forum, was the death of a child, and a central heating problem. In each of these discussions/debates the qualifications of the people directly involved in the incidents, came for some criticism or doubt of competence. Whether that be a social worker or a central heating engineer, all with approved qualifications or seemingly so. And what those qualifications might be worth in real terms, now and the future?.
I recall the days when paper qualifications meant very little, except a full term apprenticeship, in one or more of the then major trades. If you could prove that you were competent in doing the job applied for, the job was usually yours. Even the likes of Bank Manager's or Nurses had to climb the ladder of promotion?.
Which brings me to the reason why I have raised this issue for possible discussion or debate. Yesterday I was with a person who had spent well over 35 years as a plumbing and heating engineer, employing people in the process. Two years ago, he decided that he had had enough, and gave that business up. He said that his main work in later years, was repairing or putting right other peoples work. In some cases it was costing more to rectify this work, than the actual job should have, if done correctly in the first place. Customer's were thinking that he was charging to much, to rectify a job that had already been done, was the every increasing impression. A fair days work for a fair days pay?.
What was surprising was how this person referred to the fact of how some of these 'qualified' people (in his industry and many others) had obtained those 'approved' qualifications, by possibly paying £2000.00, spending a few days at a 'training school/college' sit an 'exam' and you could then enter the world where he had to serve a five year apprenticeship, and gained his experiences by 'being trained'.
It would be interesting to hear a few views on this subject, from other forum member's?.
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Posted October 7, 2013 at 12:14PM
There are a lot of cowboys out there so best sticking to recommendations from friends.
Some big companys installing central heating double glazing etc get contractors to do the work and that is when the problems start.
I was looking for a couple of double glazed doors at the beginning of the year and just looking up the customer reviews for some of them would frighten you.
All big names but the reviews were pathetic.
Ended up getting a local firm in to replace them, At least if you need them for any problems they are just up the road a bit and not spread all over the Uk.
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Posted October 7, 2013 at 12:29PM
But I tend to find that the "chap up the road" is a vanishing bunch. Always seem busy, with only the 'fit in option' available most of the time. Perhaps this is why there are a lot of cowboys about, or seemingly so.
The person I was talking to yesterday, gave up his business, and made staff redundant, due to getting fed-up with correcting other peoples mistakes, and having to charge a price for doing so.
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Posted October 7, 2013 at 12:49PM
I don't think even an apprenticeship is any guarantee of skill/workmanship. I did a 4 year apprenticeship and worked with quite a few individuals who were not the best (To say the least), but there was no final exam, or test, you just completed the 4 years in the relevant departments/trades and you got a certificate at the end. There were college exams along the way, but they didn't seem to have any great bearing on the overall apprenticeship cert.....and that was Dunlop, who were massive at that time.
In relation to larger organisations, I feel the buck must stop with management, as it is they who rubber stamp who they employ, so must also take responsibility for ensuring they are competent and confident. In smaller businesses, or one man bands, I don't know any other way that go with recommendations where possible, as that is very difficult to control without stringent legislation
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Posted October 7, 2013 at 12:58PM
I must admit my wife gets her husband to do all of the work.Plumbing.Electrics.Tiling etc.
Jack of all trades and master of none.And cheaper than anyone else.
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Posted October 7, 2013 at 1:18PM
I'm not sure someone who is disaffected with his industry is the best source of information about qualifications. Certainly the National Careers Service gives a very different idea of how much goes into becoming a qualified plumber.
I wonder how many of the complaints about bad workmanship (whether plumbing or other house-maintenance work) come from people who were more interested in finding someone who would work cash in hand than checking to see if they were competent.
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Posted October 7, 2013 at 1:49PM
A lengthy apprenticeship suits some trades more than others.
If we consider a fast moving technology, the older members of a workforce may well be struggling to keep up themselves and aren't in a position to pass on much of the new skill now needed.
In the field of electronics, I mainly studied transistor technology and digital techniques. The old hands I worked with were brought up on valve technology and the new fangled stuff was a bit of a mystery to them. I expect it's much the same in many other industries.
There's also a concerted effort to de-skill many tasks to reduce labour costs, so the lengthy apprenticeship is no longer appropriate.
The bottom line is that some people do a good job and some don't, irrespective of the qualifications they may hold, but qualifications do give some reassurance that they have reached a minimum level of competence in the absence of other evidence.
Moving on to other than craft jobs, the skills are much harder to define and possibly acquire.
My daughter can quickly recognise someone with a drug dependency for instance and has been trained to recognise those with suicidal tendencies and how to diffuse potentially hostile situations. She attends training courses several weeks every year on a diverse range of topics loosely related to housing. On top of that she has had day release for the last two years to gain a formal housing qualification having started on this career path from university, so she's trained to the nth degree.
Prior to this I thought a Housing Association provided a house and collected the rent. Simple!
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Posted October 7, 2013 at 2:31PM
Surely, someone with 35 years plus in the industry, and having their own plumbing and central heating business, including employing people in that industry, would be one of the best sources for information, and not a government website?.
I seemed to have suggested earlier, that some of the 'approved qualifications' can be easily obtained for a £2000.00, a few days in a 'training centre/college', with an exam and certificate/diploma issued shortly afterwards.
If you want to refer to government websites, then perhaps a check on visa applications for training might not go amiss, and how some applicant's and colleges came under deep investigation, and still do.
If you look on the PCA website today, you should find a thread that was locked by the Forum Editor. That post was about a person with 'Advanced' qualification requesting exam help. This isn't the first time that these type of request have appeared on this forum?.
Picklefactory makes a valid point about the buck must stop with management, and that possibly includes training methods and procedures. In my recent contribution to the central heating thread, it was pointed out quite clearly that 'competence' was in question with the central heating work being undertaken for me. Yet try as I might, the company (employing many 'approved and qualified' people) involved, and those raising a grant didn't seem very interested?.
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Posted October 7, 2013 at 2:36PM
What I probably should have also mentioned, that spending a couple of hours with an ex central heating engineer of 35 years plus, I learned more about Worcester Bosch combi boilers, that spending all the time with those responsible for installing my new system!.
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Posted October 7, 2013 at 2:44PM
Some good points raised in your post.
Regarding technology, I was watching a documentary the other evening, and it was mentioned how some 'technicians' nowadays need to rely on a laptop for a diagnosis. If there is a component failure, then this is replaced, because long gone are the times of a mechanic turning up with a toolkit of spanners etc, and repairing the faulty item.
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Posted October 7, 2013 at 3:11PM
FM "I wonder how many of the complaints about bad workmanship (whether plumbing or other house-maintenance work) come from people who were more interested in finding someone who would work cash in hand than checking to see if they were competent"
Something my neighbour is always boasting about but when I see the quality of the workmanship I wonder how he can live with it, especially some of his brickwork which is clearly visible to all.
I was once told "imagine a triangle with the three points labelled good/cheap/available and pick any two you wish"