Monday, June 6, 2011

What’s the point of qualifications?

As an advisor I hold various qualifications in respect of what I do (see here for shiny certificates) – but in light of changing standards, awarding bodies, expectations of others, and so on, I recently considered: “what’s the point?”.

For the groups, peoples and communities I support, they certainly aren’t bothered – what’s important to them is the relationship I build with them and my ability to get them where they need and want to be.

However, Commissioning bodies, especially public bodies, are keener to see these pieces of paper. But having been involved in both developing and gaining sector qualifications, and my knowledge of some of my ‘peers’ who also hold them, they’re not a guarantee of true knowledge or ability – only proof that you’ve been taught something.

Why then do I have them? As a freelancer I recognise that they offer me a structure through which I can reflect on my own gained knowledge and experiences, and build on them through being ‘forced’ to consider other theories and models (not all of which turn out to be that useful, but are a good way to reassure me as to why I take the sometimes unorthodox approaches that I do).

So – if the people we support aren’t bothered by qualifications, and they don’t offer commissioning bodies the assurances that they should in terms of the quality of the person, maybe we need to rethink the place and purpose of them in our movement?

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