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Smoothie's skills sell council

Jonathan Mackey, the smooth-talking civil servant once tipped for the chief executive's job at the lifelong learning sector skills council, has something about him that reminds people of James Bond. Or so the ladies tell me.

In the end, the equally smooth-talking Ulsterman David Hunter got the job, and I hear his persona has been giving people the impression that post-16 education is a little more exciting than is really the case.

He was approached by a wide-eyed young lady from his native Northern Ireland who was simply fascinated about his organisation.

"Tell me," she asked him breathlessly, "what exactly is the sex and skills council?"

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