6th March 2009 at 00:00

Surf crashes on Btec

The wave of indignation that has broken around Bournemouth and Poole College for running a two-year "Mickey Mouse" Btec in surfing seems a great injustice.

How dare they take Mickey's name in vain? He is clearly one of the most clever Disney characters, a veritable Renaissance mouse, able to turn his hand to anything from aviation to conducting.

And as probably the world's most famous former apprentice - NVQ level 2 in sorcery - he deserves the support of all in FE.

On top of that, critics of the surf academy, some of whom seem to think it offers a degree, miss the point when they compare the Btec with two- or three-day courses. You might as well tell Rebecca Adlington, who powered to two Olympic golds off the back of her advanced apprenticeship in swimming, to get back to the municipal pool.

And why pick on surfing? The same Btec also allows you to do powerboating, which presumably has sufficient academic rigour to escape criticism. Or perhaps critics are saving that for a later attack, along with Filton College's ping-pong academy, and all the other weird and wonderful things that are taught in colleges because of the huge range of skills that are needed in the real world.

Designs on winning

Good luck, Ilsa Parry. The lecturer in 3D design at Liverpool Community College is about to grace our screens in a design-themed version of The Apprentice.

She will be competing with 11 other hopefuls in Phillipe Starck's School of Design on BBC2 to win a six-month job at his Paris studio.

Ilsa will be hoping that her ideas in a series of challenges can win over the engagingly bonkers Frenchman. Among them is a design for a "space- saving vertical coffin" which, FErret hopes, is a bit more sophisticated than, er, a normal coffin turned on its end.

"You make a good designer if you think about life, love, sex, flesh, sweat and things like that," Phillipe tells us. The coffin is definitely about flesh, but may not be quite what he was looking for.

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