The correct Protocol

13th May 2005 at 01:00
As organisers of the New Horizons award for FE staff, we are concerned about the tone of the article headed "Part-time money for full-time effort" (FE Focus, 6 May). Your story implied by association that Protocol Professional endorses the critical opinions expressed in it - which is simply not the case.

We do not support the view that colleges are using overworked part-time lecturers as "cheap labour". On the contrary, we have found that they are immensely proud of the quality of their part-time staff. This was the story that came through loud and clear from the many nominations we received from colleges all over Britain.

Neither do we agree with the implication that many of the nominees we spoke to felt exploited or shut out from full-time work. We found that most favoured the part-time arrangement, either because it helped them achieve a good work-life balance or because it fitted in well with other work.

For those who do want to go full-time, our experience is that this happens frequently.

We are also finding more and more people coming to us from industry who wish to add to their portfolio, or simply want to pass on their skills, by teaching part-time in college in addition to their "day job'. We encourage this because it's a win-win situation. They find a new outlet for their talent and our clients gain the benefit of people with the most up-to-date knowledge teaching in their college.

One of the themes we saw time and time again coming out of the New Horizons award process was the appreciation that students have for those lecturers who could connect them directly with the industry or sector in which they want to work.

May I also take the opportunity to list the judges: Dr Joanna Martin, former MD of Protocol Professional; Jacqui Henderson, regional director, London of the Learning and Skills Council; David Hunter, chief executive of Lifelong Learning UK; and Ian Nash, FE editor of The TES.

Mark Ellis Sales marketing director Protocol Professional

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