Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Brown's Backing for A-Levels in Big Mac Management

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Brown's Backing for A-Levels in Big Mac Management

Article excerpt

Byline: JOE MURPHY

GORDON BROWN today denied claims that a new "A-level" in runningMcDonald's burger bars would devalue qualifications.

The Prime Minister hit back at critics of his latest welfare to work drivewhich will involve companies, including the fast food chain, giving out theirown exam certificates up to degree level.

McDonald's will offer courses on managing a restaurant business while airlineFlybe will offer qualifications for cabin crews, engineers and call centrestaff, some of which will reach degree level. Network Rail will offer coursesup to A-level to track engineers.

"If McDonald's do it it's not that the standard is going to fall," Mr Browninsisted. "In fact, it's going to be a tough course. But once you have got aqualification in management you can probably go anywhere." The idea is at theheart of a Downing Street drive to revive traditional apprenticeships and bringin new forms of qualification. "We have got to win the skills race of thefuture," Mr Brown told GMTV this morning. Successful candidates may get a lumpsum payment at the end "as an incentive", he added.

But shadow work and pensions secretary Chris Grayling said qualifications fromMcDonald's could backfire. "It must not serve to undermine existing courses atuniversities and college; we don't want to bring down A-levels and degrees,these courses have to add real value," he said.

He also warned that the idea would not, on its own, get young Britons who arecurrently out of work into a job. …

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