Wednesday 19 September 2018

Learn, unlearn and relearn - those are the skills of our age

Apprenticeships are far from being the only alternative to a university degree

HERE TO SERVE: ‘They are the reality’, Mary Mitchell O’Connor meets a robot. But can it pull the perfect pint?
HERE TO SERVE: ‘They are the reality’, Mary Mitchell O’Connor meets a robot. But can it pull the perfect pint?

Mary Mitchell O'Connor

Sometimes, you read a newspaper column going, "Ah, here". And the further you get into the column, the higher the volume: "Ah, HERE." That's how I read Eoin O'Malley's article last Sunday. You can't have missed it. It was the one where he said people would soon need a PhD to pull a pint.

He's making a small but good point. Credentialism is the word for an escalation of qualification, which means that what a Leaving Cert qualified you for, 20 years ago, now requires a primary degree. That's a consequence of Ireland educating so many of its young people so well. This is a good thing. On the global stage, it's a very good thing. When it comes to attracting foreign direct investment, it's a great thing.

Of course, we need to constantly examine credentialism to see if using a primary degree as a qualifier or disqualifier for a job is functional or just plain lazy.

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