Recent events have impacted all corners of society and in England & Wales the focus has shifted onto ‘A’ Level students. So many it seems feel they have been wrongly graded and understandably feel upset. It’s been interesting hearing the different reactions, from anger to acceptance.
This possibly doesn’t help them right now, though I feel it’s true. Qualifications on paper very soon become less important as experience and confidence take over.
My partner didn’t get in to her first choice of university but achieved Distinction in her second choice and bagged herself a well-paid first job in a fast-growing marketing agency. Her first choice course was tourism, not sure she would have hit the ground running quite as fast in that field.
At agricultural college, where I learnt how to shear, I struggled to hold the sheep in the right place let alone get the wool off in one piece! Now it is a different story. I walk the sheep through the process as if it is a dance between the two of us.
I’ve never won the Golden Shears (the top accolade) or been the fastest shearer by any stretch of the imagination and never wanted to be. Instead the sheep and I are both relaxed and everything happens with ease. Well, on a good day!
In my early days as a shepherd I would shear as part of a gang. It was hard, relentless work with thousands of sheep to shear day after day. It gave me heaps of experience however and taught me about teamwork.
This has paid back throughout my time as a contract shepherd when dealing with customers is as important as handling their sheep. In their eyes I am an advanced level shepherd.
Exam passes and their grades are just one filter for others to judge our advanced level of competence. And this is developed far more by repeatedly doing, getting better results and building confidence. The root of the word confidence – confide – means trust and this is what others really buy into.
“The trust we have in people and in organisations comes, in part, from believing that they do care.”
Stephen M R Covey – The Speed of Trust – The One Thing that Changes Everything
And if there’s one other word that sums up what we always need to demonstrate, it’s care. Take a listen to this book (or read it if you’re not as dyslexic as me!) – there are so many great points about how trust, and his particular point, the speed of it, impacts on all areas of our lives.
Those years of experience have a far stronger influence on how our lives work out than any paper qualification.