Looking back and forwards – 25 years in qualification development
24 November 2014
The World Wide Web was born in 1989, though it took until 1991 for Tim Berners Lee to publish the first ever website.
A quarter of a century later, websites are the norm rather than something new and innovative and many businesses would grind to a halt without the internet. In truth, it’s hard to remember life BG – Before Google!
WAMITAB shares its birth year with the World Wide Web and November 2014 sees us celebrating 25 years of designing qualifications to meet the needs of industry. In the early days, WAMITAB’s primary focus was on the waste and recycling industry but over time, reflecting the widening focus of key industry players, we have moved into the wider integrated facilities management market, covering cleaning, street cleansing, parking, and facilities management to complement our original offer.
Admittedly, less ubiquitous than "www”, WAMITAB nevertheless has a key role to play in keeping the wheels of industry turning by developing relevant qualifications to deliver the right skill sets for the workplace – and keeping it safe. Over the years there have been a number of changes to how government manages the skills agenda; one significant change was devolution in 1998 that meant each country took responsibility for education and training (amongst other things) in their region. This can make it problematic to talk collectively about the skills agenda in the UK, although it is clear that whether in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales, there is a clear drive towards improving workplace skills, albeit not always backed by government funding!
One of the key changes in England in the last few years has been a move towards the employer ownership of skills, and a corresponding reduction of the financial contribution from government. This, coupled with the recent Ofqual consultation on regulated qualifications, means that things are likely to be very different in the future.
Also on the horizon is the general election in May 2015, which could result in a whole host of new challenges for industry, and the education system. With an eye firmly on the future (whichever party is in power), WAMITAB has been addressing how to support employers in their quest for bite-sized learning, increased flexibility and industry-relevance.
We now offer an accreditation service for in-house training and development programmes, as well as Validate, an easy-to-use assessment toolkit that is designed to check the competence of staff carrying out regular workplace activities.
In a time when funding is thin on the ground, we are very pleased to have secured funding for a suite of qualifications that covers key cleaning activities. Information about the Practical Cleaning Skills qualifications was included in last month’s blog – and I urge you to look at our website (thanks, Tim Berners Lee!) to get more details. Make the most of the funding whilst it’s still available.
Who knows what the next 25 years will bring, but one thing is certain there will continue to be lots of changes in the world of skills and work.
Written by Chris James, CEO of WAMITAB