The government wants to regulate industry-created certifications - and charge industry for the privilege.
That's what Qualifications and Curriculum Authority boss Ken Boston wants to see. Not to mention Lord Leitch - author of the Leitch Report on education standards and how to achieve them.
It's a topic whose practical aspects are lost on journalists, who generally prefer to focus on the absurd. Take, for example, this BBC story on M&S. In what would M&S offer qualifications? How to rack blouses neatly? How to fail to notice changing High Street fashions for years before employing a new buying team? How to manage retail outlets? If this is an intelligent press, hold on while I pull out Viz comic.
The real story starts in the eight paragraph, where we discover that tKen Boston is focused on the £33bn industry spends on training. And is that spend a problem that needs a goverment solution?
It sure is, says Boston: "The submerged mass of the iceberg is unregulated."
Yes, the problems created by unregulated industry certifications are so great that government feels that our civil 'servants' and examination boards employ people who are better placed to ensure that RHCEs have a genuine grasp of, oh, Logical Volume Management.
Excuse me while I vomit - I always do that when I explode into rage and die laughing at the same time.
So what's this really about? Are these the first steps of a government that is finally reining in the unregulated tech training industry?
Well, yes. But not in the way you might think. As the story says - it really does ties in with the more or less simultaneously-announced return to commerce-sponsored apprenticeships in the form local 'academies' sponsored by local businesses for further education colleges.
And yes the government does recognise that the tech industry has done a good job of providing its own training. Meaning: it sees that vendors have created the standards; employers have found that certifications based on those standards provide pretty-well skilled staff; commerce and industry have rolled along providing ever more fantastic tech treats for the public to buy. And for the banks and public sector organisations that care about macro-economic stuff, it all appears to have boosted productivity and GDP.
So, no, the government has no real problem with the quality of industry certifications.
But it does have a problem with being cut out of the money. Other than the VAT spend, which goes to Europe.
It has a problem partly because it is greedy and partly because it is running out of money (ask the Health Service - formerly the National Health Service - or a teacher).
And so goverment needs a solution, which is to lay costs on the private sector. But more than that, it wants to get its hands on the money that industry spends. To do that, it must invent a vital need for itself.
The need it is inventing is the need to verify certification standards.
And that's hard to do when the tech industry is riding, oh, approximately 20 years ahead of the education system - and much of industry - in providing tough certifications.
So the way to do it is to integrate industry into the creation of standards. Until industry is paying the salaries of a bunch of people who couldn't get a technical certification in popping CAT5 into a NIC socket.And the tech industry - because of its seeming success in already providing certs - will be leading the way.
But the real reason is that the tech industry spends the money. So watch as the government holds the tech industry up as an example of great standards-setting.
While that strange sensation in your back pocket will turn out to be a tax bucket-grab ensuring industry pays its 'certification levy' to the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.
Because even though the average bureacrat couldn't tell an RHCE from the RAC, paying government to supervise tech certifications is a good thing... isn't it?
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