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Last Updated: Sunday, 27 January 2008, 15:41 GMT
McDonald's 'A-level' is launched
McDonald's employees
Workers will be trained in customer service
Fast-food giant McDonald's has become one of the first firms to offer its own nationally recognised qualifications.

It will offer a "basic shift manager" course, training staff in skills such as human resources and marketing.

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority said the company had been approved to develop courses up to the equivalent of A-level standard.

The QCA will also allow Network Rail and Flybe to award qualifications based on their workplace training schemes.

'Exciting step'

David Fairhurst, senior vice-president and chief people officer from McDonald's, said it was "an important and exciting step" for the company.

"We want to ensure that our approach to recruitment, training, and development continues to create real opportunities for social mobility," he said.

Last year the company launched a campaign against the dictionary definition of a "McJob".

It said the definition as "an unstimulating low-paid job with few prospects" was insulting and out of date.

Network Rail will pilot its first qualification this year in "track engineering". It has been given permission to develop courses equivalent to GCSEs and A-levels.

Training commitment

Airline Flybe will develop its "airline trainer programme" later this year and courses will cover everything from engineering to cabin crew training.

Skills Secretary John Denham said: "It is right that we recognise and accredit employers that have shown a commitment to training and developing their staff.

"This is an important step towards ending the old divisions between company training schemes and national qualifications, something that will benefit employees, employers and the country as a whole."

Ken Boston, chief executive of the QCA, said the move recognised "employers' commitment to training".

He said: "We look forward to considering further applications from employers to have their valuable work-related learning programmes validated."

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