14 Nov 2012
Someone with only a rudimentary grasp of economics might conclude that the global recession could be the primary reason for worryingly high unemployment rates in some parts of the UK. The lack of decent tans among the able-bodied, working-age population would probably come fairly low down my own personal list of potential joblessness causes, but I guess that's why I'm an IT reseller and not a careers consultant.
The clearly more economically clued-up folk at the not-for-profit Wellbeing and Training Academy in the south Wales town of Aberdare are offering those serious about getting back to work a free spray tan and makeover to help with their job hunt.
Academy director Sarah Sweeden told The Telegraph: "We want to give people that extra confidence - or that Gok Wan makeover - to give people the incentive to find work."
Candidates will be referred by the local Jobcentre, but the scheme is not in any way publicly funded.
Which, let's face it, was never going to stop Robert Oxley of the not-very-self-awarely named TaxPayers' Alliance spouting his two penn'orth.
"It is verging on the ridiculous that this is the authorities' answer to getting people working," he wailed, despite a deeply limited grasp of the facts or context of the story.
"It's political correctness gone mad. You couldn't make it up. I never thought I'd see the like. Won't somebody please think of the children?!" he probably added.
In off the postcode
I bet you'll be as shocked as I was, dear reader, to learn that a commercial entity called Postcode Anywhere is not vehemently in favour of proposals for Royal Mail to provide for free their big database of postcodes anywhere and, indeed, everywhere.
In a piece of marketing bumpf that somehow manages to argue contradictory points equally speciously, a headline screams "calls to make the postcode address file data available for free will not benefit business, argues Postcode Anywhere".
Swiftly before chief executive Guy Mucklow says: "I would certainly agree that small businesses benefit from having access to the latest addressing details." Right you are.
The calls for the Postcode Address File (PAF) to be made free emanate from the Open Data User Group, which apparently believes "that removing the charge... would bring benefits to business". But the Postcode Anywhere PR gubbins tells us that "Mucklow points out this doesn't necessarily add up", shortly before he fails to point out or add up much of anything in particular.
"The Open Data Group seems to live under the misguided belief that just because something is free at the point of use, there will be mass adoption," he fumes.
Exactly, Guy - it's only worth making something worthwhile available for free if everybody everywhere will use it all the time. I've looked at the numbers and, since they made the Science Museum free, it gets a paltry three million-odd visitors a year. That's less than five per cent of the population.
Imagine my delight to see the coining of another barely comprehensible portmanteau nonsenseword in the IT industry this week, with UKFast urging us all to "invest in intrepreneurs". Okaaaaaaaay.
The word is an awful melding of "internal" and "entrepreneur". The company recently showed its commitment to its own crew of potential interpreeners with a so-called "hackathon".
"The event saw 20 engineers coding at the company's City Tower HQ from Saturday morning until Sunday evening," chirruped the PR release.
Technical director Neil Lathwood added: "Not only was the hackathon a chance to show off your coding skills, it's also a really fun way of coming up with new ideas on how to improve our services."
Good on you, guys. And far be it from me to suggest that investing in ultrapreneurs seemingly only involves making your doubtless already overworked staff toil away for the entire weekend for your benefit.