An investigation of knowledge and skill requirements for employment as a machine operator : a case study of a large textile company.
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This research, which took the form of a case study in a large textile factory, is primarily concerned with finding out if there is a link between a particular educational level (i.e. ABET level 4 Communications/Language and Mathematics) used as a measure for the first stage of selecting prospective employees as machine operators, and a hard skill (i.e. actually operating a machine). After conducting interviews with nine people in the workplace; doing observations of three machine operators performing their jobs, and analysing various documents, such as the tool used for assessment, I found there to be an incongruence between the ‘requisite’ knowledge and skills and the actual knowledge and skills needed – the language and maths’ competencies needed in order to be deemed ‘competent’ in the assessment are of a higher ABET level than the language and maths needed ‘on-the-job’. But, this research is not simply about language and mathematics competencies. It is also about the ‘new workplace’ that has emerged with the advent and spread of globalisation. My study looks at the appropriateness of the ‘measure’ used as an entry requirement for a job, and by so doing it explores issues of inclusion and exclusion, and power relations. My study is, therefore, located within the critical social science paradigm and I raise questions around issues of morality, ethics and social justice.