I cruise through job boards. Not because I want a job – I love the one I’ve got! – but out of curiosity mainly; as part of our constant drive to recruit and retain the best people at TQUK, I’m always looking to understand what the market is doing and benchmarking what we do. 

Recently I came across an advert for a remote exam invigilator. As pioneers of the remote invigilation revolution, this was of particular interest to me, especially as we move to start offering Functional Skills exams and aim to meet the needs of our customers who, quite rightly, demand the flexibility to, in turn, meet the needs of Generation X. 

Or Y and Z. I’m not sure where we are now, just that I’m most definitely not in the young one anymore! 

This company is offering £10 an hour for the role. That’s above minimum wage: great. It’s flexible: excellent. And it would be a great opportunity for someone looking to supplement income or work around other commitments: all good. 

The list of responsibilities is as you’d expect. Our Assessment Team perform these duties every day as part of their roles and I’d say the short bullet list accurately summarises what they do.  

  • Hosting multiple Zoom meetings daily
  • Ensuring Zoom meetings are recorded
  • Checking customer ID and camera positions
  • Providing test rules, ensuring they are followed
  • Correctly naming and filing Zoom recordings

It’s an important role and in the current climate is becoming even more so. We need a veritable army of IT literate, confident, trustworthy invigilators to safeguard outcomes of assessments that are used to award qualifications and provide opportunities for learners and Apprentices.  

The right candidate

Note that I don’t include in my list of ‘perfect candidate’ attributes ‘degree educated’. And that’s where I and this advert differ. Because this company, asking for the list of duties above to be performed consistently and accurately, has taken the decision to require candidates to have a degree. Not a degree in invigilation, or a 2:1 in Educational Assessment. Not even a teaching qualification: just…. a degree. 

This got me thinking again about Gavin Williamson and his dichotomous comments about ‘second-rate’ qualifications. This, right here, is an example of this dangerous attitude playing out in the real world. Suddenly, we have jobs that are important but largely driven by pre-established processes, available only to the ‘elite’ who have achieved the ‘right’ kind of qualification.  

I can name at least 20 people, off the top of my head, who do not have a degree, some who did not achieve A levels and had questionable success at GCSE level, who could perform this role perfectly. I could also name as many who have a degree who I wouldn’t trust to invigilate anything without getting distracted by online shopping, TV or a dog walking by!  

My perfect candidate would be diligent, committed, take pride in their work, be reliable and have a personality that puts learners at ease. Problem-solving skills and some experience using IT software are also a bonus. Does a degree guarantee these skills? I’ve done a lot of interviews in my time and I can confidently say ‘no’.  

The TQUK Way

At TQUK we champion qualifications. We value them and the effort that is required to achieve them. Anyone who studies outside of their comfort zone is a winner in our books. But we don’t associate worth with qualification. 

We don’t assume that a qualification makes you a perfect employee and we’ve many examples of staff members, excelling in their jobs, who didn’t take the traditional route, or who trained and qualified in a different discipline. We’ve got call centre staff, retail managers, restaurant managers and chefs. We’ve got experts in gender studies, people with forensic science degrees, media degrees and even an ex-detective amongst our ranks! 

Our management team is made up of those with and without degrees, neither status playing any part in the hire or promotion of those individuals. Our Senior Manager of Sales Danielle Fallon has just achieved her degree through a degree apprenticeship, and our MD Andrew studied for his whilst working full time after starting his career in warehousing.

We believe in hiring people, not qualifications. 

And that is why, no job advert for TQUK will ever include the word ‘degree’. 

Fancy working at TQUK? We’re always looking for bright new staff, so head over to our Vacancies page to see our current open roles or email recruitment@tquk.org with your CV.