11th March 2011 at 00:00

Initial reaction

Is all publicity good publicity? WorldSkills UK seems to have had second thoughts. Despite gaining coverage in the Daily Mail and Metro, a press release has disappeared from its website.

It concerned a survey which found that many people in Britain didn't have the skills to carry out basic tasks like wiring a plug or changing a tyre. So far, so uncontroversial: the publicity team must have been worried that no one would pick it up.

So they reached for the marketer's most cynical tool: the acronym-based social stereotype. Some of these - yuppie, nimby - make it into everyday use.

WorldSkills UK went for People Lacking Everyday Basic Skills, or plebs. Oh dear. Educators who have spent their careers trying to persuade adults that there is no stigma in wanting to address deficiencies in skills were aghast.

Soon after, the press release disappeared, although not before it had been sent to thousands of subscribers to the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills' email updates.

Perhaps the real story is that, however stupid, an acronym will get you attention in newspapers that wouldn't normally touch skills stories with a bargepole. Get cracking, Public Relations Agents in the Tertiary Sector!

Call number 10!

Good news for stationery suppliers in Burton and south Derbyshire. Burton College has won ministerial approval to change its name to Burton and South Derbyshire College.

The only thing more surprising than hearing that a college demanded an unnecessary name change when budgets are being cut across the board, is learning that it has to get the approval of ministers to do so. Has no one got anything better to do?

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