Standard professions?

The Times Higher Education reports this week on comments made by Vince Cable at an event hosted by the Sutton Trust. According to the THE, the Business Secretary:

[…] has criticised the “qualification inflation” that means entrants to “very standard” professions such as nursing require a degree.

In truth I find the THE‘s report a little disjointed, as elsewhere it quotes Vince Cable on a host of other matters including private schooling, support for postgraduate study and the promotion of social mobility.

But I understand enough of it to take issue with the Business Secretary’s side-swipe at graduate nurses. On what grounds might we distinguish ‘standard’ from ‘elite’ professions, or sustain the argument that only those joining the latter must of necessity possess degrees? We await an explanation. In the meantime, for a considered review of nursing education I refer readers to the report of the Willis Commission, which I wrote about on this blog last year. For a research-oriented post on the division of labour in health care (and particularly, on professions in the mental health field), try this post.


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