9th January 2009 at 00:00

Sir Alan supports the dummkopfs

As an avid fan of The Apprentice - it's so much more fun to hear someone bark "you're fired" at home rather than in the office - FErret can only look forward to seeing Suralan promoting real apprenticeships in a new series of government adverts next month.

When the deal was announced, the schools secretary Ed Balls said: "I know young people and employers will listen carefully to his support for apprenticeships and that his backing will ensure that they are given the recognition they deserve."

Well, let's hope they don't listen too carefully, for colleges' sake. The former Amstrad boss was caught blurting out to millions of viewers in series two that FE colleges were "where dummkopfs come to learn where to make mistakes".

Principals whose noses were put out of joint will be gratified to see the grumpy millionaire promoting at least part of the FE system on their screens: consider it community service.

College boss in boots

It's not every day that a picture of a man in high-heeled dominatrix boots arrives in your inbox. Not unless you subscribe to meninhighheels.com, at any rate.

So FErret's paw was hovering over the "delete" key when it became clear that this was no email spam, but an image of the principal of Bedford College, Ian Pryce.

Mr Pryce had been photoshopped onto the boots - or possibly caught in a private moment - to highlight the dangers of slips and trips from inappropriate footwear to students, something which had drawn the praise of the British Safety Council.

It certainly made FErret pause for thought, before strapping on ice-skates to get to work in permafrost Britain. But while the concern for physical safety is admirable, who can measure the psychological damage these posters might cause?

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