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Talking balls and personal goals

The sun is out, the Pimm's is flowing, and, I'm pleased to report, the annual season of public-funded PR hype is upon us. And this year, there's even more inspiration than just the usual light-headedness.

While England remains in the World Cup, we can look forward to plenty of footy references from the world of FE as the "sector" attempts to make itself seem more exciting than it already is.

This week's FErret award for the most spurious World Cup reference goes to learndirect - the organisation so heavily branded it has no need for an initial capital letter.

I arrived home from the Jerusalem Tavern the other evening to find a press release headed "E-learning provider hails two million achievers reaching personal goals".

Get it? In case you don't, the release explains: "As the World Cup kicked off last week, a different British team was celebrating its own victory.

The 11 members may not have been footballers or national icons, but, like all teams, they put their success down to hard work and training."

Ah, I see the connection. The 11 in question were those who had been singled out from across the country to represent the two million who have, so far, done one of learndirect's computer-based courses.

Phil Hope, the skills minister, joined this celebration (sorry "cheered on the team") and encouraged people to be - wait for it - "on the ball" about learning.

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