2 in 3 employers think plumbing qualifications 'aren't

A majority of employers may be sceptical of the value of the qualifications plumbing and heating professionals possess - with many admitting to being unsure of what they indicate.

These are among the findings of a new survey conducted by City & Guilds in conjunction with the Plain English Campaign. It revealed only 35 per cent of employers believe today's qualifications adequately prepare individuals for the world of work.

But perhaps more worryingly for industries such as plumbing, there was also a widespread lack of understanding about what qualifications actually entail - with many respondents saying they have trouble understanding the frequent use of acronyms and abbreviations.

Some 95 per cent of people said they could not identify the most advanced qualifications a job applicant possesses when presented only with a list of abbreviations. In fact, 57 per cent of employers polled found acronyms on CVs to be confusing, while 64 per cent admitted they had to look up abbreviated qualifications on the internet to discover their meaning. 

Graeme Dryden, training and technical manager at the Association of Heating and Plumbing Engineers, said the results of the survey should be concerning to both employers and job-seekers.

"I would urge employers to invest the time in staying up-to-date with the latest types and titles of training available," he added, highlighting City & Guilds' online 'Education Jargon Buster' resource as a good place to start.

"The aim is to lift confusion around qualification abbreviations and the jargon buster could well be a useful tool to help employers to understand the level of each qualification and to be better informed when next recruiting," Mr Dryden said.

Worryingly, some employers are even sceptical about the value of professional qualifications such as BTECs, AVQs and HNDs. The City & Guilds survey revealed 64 per cent of respondents regard such abbreviations as 'jargon' and see them as an attempt to cover up a candidate's lack of skill, rather than viewing the qualification as proof of their knowledge.

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