I set up Glamorgan Blended Learning Ltd in 2007, as a way to gain work experience for myself, while at the same time regenerating my local community in the way I wanted to in public life, and increasing the employability of students in the area. I had the chance to do something simliar with Steve Powderhill when I was doing my HND, BSc(Hons) and MSc, but my success at doing this for other students has been limited and not enhanced by government programmes funded from tax payers money who get in the way of this, in many cases because they believe following rules is more important than achieving what they are there to do. Other schemes where I wanted to increase my profits, both to become more self-sufficient and also to provide match funding for GBL’s project, got turned down for reasons not based on business potential but other factors, including unnecessary rules. A number of these projects are listed below, and I will add more as they occur or when my complaints regarding them are concluded.
I approached Ross Edwards at GoWales to offer students accredited work taster programmes where they could enhance their CVs with real accomplishments, like a peer-reviewed research paper – all they would have to pay for was the accreditation fee that was charged by the accrediting body – I would have supervised them pro bono (i.e. for FREE), with the only benefit to me being CPD points. This seemed fair to me as it was win-win between the student and me, but this is what Ross Edwards from GoWales said:
GO Wales Work Tasters is an employability scheme whereby both host and participant give their time over for no monetary remuneration, with no monetary costs nor formal expectations that should relate to paid work are placed upon the participant. Perhaps you’d wish to advertise these roles as GO Wales Work Placement opportunities, a scheme to which they seem more fitting?
Ross Edwards has given all reasons under the Sun why I can’t access the university’s students to provide them with work experience. When I ask in the summer he says ‘there is no point getting any students this time of year they are all international and their English isn’t good enough’, and in the autumn he says ‘we have run out of funding for now, come back later in the academic year’. It seems to me that Ross is on to a nice litter earner in his job – Have HEFCW who fund them audited them?
Software Alliance Wales
I got turned down from seeking involvement of university students in developing commercial smartphone applications that would look good on their CV as they would be in the mobile phone application stores. Universities that pride themselves on having “close links with industry” but it seems they are expecting private firms like mine to be charities and provide work experience with no return on our investment. This is what Jaime Hindle from Software Alliance Wales said:
After consideration it was deemed your project proposals would not be suitable for SAW Student Development Projects. The intention of these projects is for students to investigate options and develop proof of concepts, over the duration of the academic year. It is not the intention for students to develop commercial alternatives from pre-written specs.
This scheme is funded by the European Social Fund. Have the Wales European Funding Office audited whether the aims of the funding have any benefit on those who are meant to be more employable, or is it another ‘jobs for the boys’ exercise?
I got turned down for a loan/support for my business from the Welsh Government’s official finance arm, with the messenger being Chris Tolley. The reason was because my business model was to focussed on making profit and not enough on expanding the number of direct jobs it offered. To quote him exactly, Chris Tolley said:
I fully understand your comments concerning risk and it is refreshing to note, you do not wish to expand your company, only your profits however, we could not lend on the basis you desire.
Looks like the money the government spent supporting my studies at Kingston Business School and Cardiff School of Management was wasted if they are expecting the private sector to be as bloated and inefficient as the public sector! This is what I said to him:
I come from a family of three generations of entrepreneurs, I am not going to waste my time with an out-dated business models to satisfy people like you […] I went to Kingston Business School, and learned from the best minds in the country. Outsourcing operations that are not core to one’s business is what one does.