Qualifications are an important part of progressing through life. We need qualifications to get jobs and advance through society, and for most people, they form the bulk of adolescence. After all, you go to university or college (depending on geographical location) and study to become proficient in something.
Entry-level qualifications are arguably some of the most important out there because they provide a good benchmark for people who want to start a new qualification. This makes qualifications not only an important part of everyday life but also a vital tool for getting the best possible career entries.
When we sit down and ask the simple question of “why do we need qualifications,” the answer isn’t as straightforward as we think.
On the surface, it seems simple enough – you get the qualifications to acquire a job that works for you. However, it’s a bit more complicated than that surface-level ideal, which is good for anyone trying to succeed in the world of work.
Qualifications, ultimately, are what make your life skills visible to employers. These qualifications serve as proof that you have had the determination to persevere and apply yourself to whatever you have set your mind to, which is a useful skill to have. The whole point of the qualification is that you’ve been able to do all aspects of the course to a level high enough to pass and advance to the next chapter.
These kinds of life skills are often very important for employers to know. It gives them proof and confidence that you can thrive under difficult situations, that you have built up some durability, tenacity and grit, and that you know how to adapt to different circumstances.
Every qualification that somebody has achieved will say something about them. It says something about their dedication, the lengths that they will go to to achieve their goals, and the amount of commitment that they’re prepared to put in. It’s a very easy way to gauge, at a glance, whether somebody is going to be anywhere near the right fit for a position.
Of course, that’s just a very basic understanding of why qualifications are important, but at the same time, they equip us with the skills necessary to embark on some of the most challenging careers. It’s all well and good wanting to do something skilled at a high level like practice medicine, but if you don’t even have the entry-level qualifications to learn how to become a doctor, then how do you expect to achieve your goal? It’s very much a case of not running before you can walk, so think of entry-level education and qualifications as being the part of the journey where you learn how to walk.
Qualifications are an important part of good business practices. Think about it like this: If you’re going to sit down and hire somebody for a position, you don’t just pick any random person off the street and give them a job. What happens if your job role requires basic knowledge about the industry? What happens if they need to have a certain level of technological proficiency, or the ability to do mathematics, or speak English properly?
Now, you could train this person, but if you’re going to have to train somebody to be able to fulfil the role anyway, then having to take the time to train them in the most basic of skills is going to be even more of an investment. Furthermore, what happens if a particular job doesn’t work out? What happens if that person isn’t a good fit for the role?
Businesses have just wasted time and money training someone to the basic level, then training them for the specific duties of their role, and then, a few months later, they’ve lost all of that time and investment because the person quit. It’s just not worth it.
Ultimately, entry-level qualifications are a good way of separating people who have neither the ability nor the enthusiasm for the industry from those who do. This means that when you sit down to try and hire somebody to fill a new position, you are automatically drawing from a pool of applicants who are all educated and trained to a certain standard. This means that whatever it is you need to teach them that applies specifically to the relevant job role, that’s all you need to teach them.
The thing about taking the time to gain a qualification is that it’s not just a single skill-set that is only applicable to one particular situation. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Yes, technically speaking, you are learning skills and knowledge that are relevant to your specific industry. So, for example, someone with entry-level qualifications in English is going to walk away with a better grasp of the English language. They’re going to know how to word sentences better; they’re going to have a better grasp on articulating themselves and they’re going to be able to create essays and form structured arguments. That’s a very obvious benefit to a course like that, but the truth is that they have other benefits that most people don’t even think about.
Consider it like this. The average participant of an entry-level course has to learn how to work under a schedule. They have to learn how to complete tasks on time, how to discipline themselves, how to prioritise time management and learn how to stay organised. These are all skills that employees like.
An entry-level qualification is not just evidence that you have knowledge or ability in a particular area; it’s proof that you have developed some passive life skills that can help you. These are the kind of skills that are transferable from one industry to the next because they’re not bound to any particular subject. If you know how to manage your time effectively, that’s a skill you can take anyway. If you know how to operate Microsoft Office, that’s a skill you can take anywhere. There are things that you learn along the road of education that you can employ in any different situation.
Developing skills for qualifications is not something that is usually forecast in the same way as a qualification. After all, there is no roadmap to successfully developing time management.
It’s an individual process that everybody has to go through in their own unique fashion, but there are things you can do to develop the skills in a practical way whilst being able to gain a qualification.
When you think about it, your ability to master the skills are often directly linked to your success in the qualification. So, a good way to develop the skills is to practice using them whilst you’re gaining the qualification, and then the final result that you get is indicative of how well you’ve managed to master each of the individual skills in question.
It’s definitely not the easiest thing on the planet to do, but there are definitely rewards to doing it. Being able to learn that sense of time management, discipline, organisation, and then using that as a benchmark for everything that you do will really help you in later life.
So ultimately, these kinds of qualifications, especially entry-level qualifications, are important stepping stones for people to use as pathways to get into the jobs and careers that they want. Ultimately, we have to explore how qualifications not only equip you for specific roles, but also provide you with transferable life skills that can be used in a wide range of different situations. At the end of the day, you gain more from a course than you might think.
The importance of qualifications can’t be overstated. They are something that we need in order to successfully integrate into society and gain the jobs that we want, but above and beyond that, they provide a high level of importance to developing life skills. Essentially, the qualification, in addition to being a platform to demonstrate your knowledge, is also a way for employers to see what life skills you have.
Taking the time to secure entry-level qualifications is a good way to demonstrate commitment to the role. Employers love to use this as a way for people to showcase what they can do and at the same time, demonstrate their dedication to what they are doing. It’s also practical from a business sense not to have to try and train someone completely from scratch, as everybody who applies for the job should, therefore, have a basic level of knowledge regarding the qualifications and skills necessary for the position.
It’s definitely up to each person to figure out how to utilise qualifications in the most effective way. They provide a very good framework for key skills that will help you in the workplace and in life, so it’s up to you to develop them by taking entry-level qualifications and securing those accreditations.
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The Level 6 Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI) is widely regarded as the highest level of interpreting qualification available outside of a university.
The Level 6 DPSI is a very difficult, degree level qualification and is not recommended for anyone other than experienced interpreters who already have a Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting due to the high level of knowledge and experience required to pass. Even experienced interpreters and those with legal qualifications regularly fail the Level 6 DPSI.
If you are just starting out in your career, we advise obtaining the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting, then gaining at least 2 years professional interpreting experience before undertaking the Level 6.
For those who want to work in data protection as well as privacy, the Practitioner Certificate in Data Protection is considered to be the best practical qualification. This is because it covers all of the information and data that relates to the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
The DPSI is a degree equivalent qualification that is seen as the ‘gold’ standard for interpreters. It has a very low pass rate even for experienced interpreters so at Learn Q we wouldn’t recommend even attempting it without a minimum of a Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting and 2 years professional interpreting experience, otherwise you would probably spend 12 months and £1000 or more working toward an exam that you are likely to fail. To be successful at the DPSI, we recommend you study the Level 3 Certificate in Community Interpreting, gain 2 years work experience and then if you still wish to obtain this qualification to take a thorough course, practice your skills daily and then attempt the DPSI. Realistically the journey is likely to take 4 or more years and some never make it.
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