Saturday, 15 October 2011

An A4e degree

Now A4e will soon be able to award degrees.

WalesOnline broke the story on 14 October in what was clearly a press release from Glyndwr University and A4e. "The company relationship is set to be launched in January with a means to achieving maximum participation in higher education from socially and economically disadvantaged sectors of society. It will take on innovative approaches to learning, tackling social exclusion and generational joblessness." There's more stuff about partnership, "re-skilling the workforce" and "transforming their lives". But it's not at all clear what the nature of this partnership is. For that, we had to wait till today and a piece in The Times Higher Education. "Glyndwr will train A4e staff so that they can give higher education to unemployed people" and will "validate higher education courses run by the international recruitment company, A4e." It's going to start in Wales but "Glyndwr might follow A4e’s business into Europe." Much the same piece appears in The Daily Post. The two organisations have not yet worked out the financial side of the deal but they hope to be up and running by January.

Let's not be entirely cynical. If this results in A4e being able to offer genuine degree-level courses to their unemployed clients, that can only be of benefit. The university, based in Wrexham, will not want to repeat the recent scandal surrounding the University of Wales which had been validating useless or non-existent courses for money. And A4e will want to be taken seriously in the higher education sector. But we'll have to wait and see.


  1. Demonstrations in cities throughout the world to demonstrate against capitalism and cutbacks in expenditure today ..... A4e are so greedy. Whether a4e degrees if they come into fruition will have credibility, I doubt.

    Regarding the so called new House Swap scheme ..... Eh, there is one already!

  2. Predicted it.... If they do work on proper education then ok, but i doubt it. There are many courses out there that are essentially useless. Courses that are all an exercise in getting a piece of paper saying you can do it.

  3. They're going to train the staff to offer degrees? Does this not require the staff to have a degree? How can you teach to degree level in a subject if you yourself don't possess one? And if so, they won't get that up and running by January. IMO that's not a degree whatever A4E want to call it.

    And given that I know at least 3 people on the WP who have degrees in various subjects and can't find a job I don't see that right now it will be too much help anyway, although I guess the clients will be doing 3-4 years of degree work and so not be looking for a job.

  4. Perhaps they will get these graduates and others with degrees who are unemployed, teaching other people.. free teachers. Perhaps they will get people to volunteer to work in a4e to teach others...It would be interesting to see what kind of courses they will offer. Yes i am a cynic.. but frequently my cynicism isnt as bad as the real world

  5. The THES link says that they are only training existing A4E staff. You can't teach at any level unless you have a teaching qualification at that level though (and the university itself says you need Qualified Teacher Status to be able to do their Education diploma), so it will be interesting to see how they go about it considering that at the A4E office I go to 5 out of 10 (?) staff seem not to even have A-Level standard education. I am basing this on what I have seen them typing into computers and writing on notes and what I have seen them pasting into peoples' CVs, in addition to posters etc up on the walls.

    The university itself also says on its website that it has the highest level of success at placing graduates in jobs of Welsh unis and also gives its stats for placing UK and EU wide graduates (although it doesn't tell you how that compares with other unis!).

    I'd be interested to see though how an "A4E degree" would be treated by employers, would it be considered second-class even if the awarding university is highly thought of? I've been told that while the Open University is considered very good for Arts subjects, its Science degrees are not considered so good by employers, not because the learning falls down, but because there is a lack of practical training (you get 1 week intensive/year instead of several days through an academic year).

    Either way, A4E have to get their staff trained up so it will be an absolute minimum of a year before anything comes of this. I'm wondering though if it is designed to focus more on Welsh unemployment rather than UK wide.

  6. I've thought to myself it won't be long before we have the likes of Tesco, as they encroach further into our lives and communities, running schools. They'll be offering degrees in shelf stacking and cashier duty. This will be the great in great britain as we all become slaves ever more to corporations.


    CEO Andrew Dutton described the new deal as providing “education in its broadest sense”.

    Glyndwr chair of governors Michael Cant said: “This is about making a shift fundamentally in how we do things. We have the commercial acumen and the academic expertise.”

    He said there was no doubt the partnership would create new Wrexham jobs: “If we don’t create jobs we have failed. The question for me is, how many?”

    Prof Scott said the agreement would also mean Glyndwr would be offering qualifications through A4e across the UK and Europe.


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