Help! My qualification is based on experience not certificates

Dear Aunty,

I am currently working in a plastic manufacturing company as a machine operator...I acquired this job without any certificates which qualified for the job, I just had a secondary school certificate. Also note that I was trained by the same company for the same job, therefore my qualification is based on experience and not on certificate. And this is the point of my concern because it’s not only me but also other employees, all facing the same problem in which we are held hostage, paying us less, we can’t get a job anywhere because no papers for the job.

Please help. 

Aunty says,

I sympathize with the situation that you and your co-workers find yourselves in.  It must be extremely frustrating to feel that you are trapped in a job because of a lack of formal qualifications. I think that there are two main issues in your letter and I will address each one in turn below.

1) Lack of formal qualifications

Unfortunately this is a common situation. People find employment and gain vital on the job training and experience but do not gain formal qualifications. Let your letter serve as a reminder to all workers that is important to obtain formal qualifications alongside experience. The jobs market is becoming increasing competitive and it is vital that you do all you can to gain as many skills and qualifications as possible. Have you tried engaging with your employer to convince them of the benefits of a skilled workforce where formal qualifications play an important role? The benefits for the company are obvious in terms of improved efficiency, however it may be up to you, the employees, to put forward this recommendation in a formal business case. It may also be worth contacting TEVETA to find out more about how they can help with qualifications. TEVETA provide a number of modes of training delivery including (a) institutional based training systems (b) workplace based training systems, (c) dual based training systems, and (d) open and distance training.

If it is the case that your employer is still unwilling to help you to gain the necessary qualifications then you may need to think of your future personal development and how you can acquire qualifications.

2) Problems finding alternate employment due lack of formal qualifications 

Regarding this point I would not lose hope altogether of finding alternative employment. If you are as experienced as you suggest employers will value this, perhaps even more so than someone with formal qualifications but no experience. If I am wrong then the only options available to you are to try and convince your current employer to help you gain formal qualifications or to personally fund your own personal development.

Have any of our community faced a similar issue? If so it would be interesting to hear how you approached this problem and how you were able to resolve it.


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