Friday, 5 April 2019

#EdTechStrategy Vs #GoDo #ScotlandCan & Fair Start Scotland?

12th April 2019 Update
Well! I 'get' what commentators say when they observe that
'A week is a long time in politics!'

This time last week I was being extremely angry and exasperated on here about the Skills Minister Jamie Hepburn (@JamieHepburn). 

It would appear that I was not only wrong but, perhaps also in the wrong too! Unfortunately, I've also been here before (and that's AFTER telling someone just yesterday boasting that I don't make the same mistakes twice as well!)

The last time I was here I changed an #IndyRef post that had the title 'Declaration of War' to 'Make Love Not War' after #CmgrHangout/#CMAD Founder and #CEduAD organiser Tim McDonald had a quiet 'Love in Action' kind of word.

The relevance to the content of that post both for me personally after the week I've had AND online in general with the UK Government's White Paper #OnlineHarms... Is a just bit spooky!

"Trust the Currents" Indeed!

...As he and Ayelet Baron (@Ayeletb) might say.

So what changed in a week?

After some private email exchanges with Mr Hepburn, his staff and Routes to Work South... I went along to my first Job Club meeting and did so with a willingness to hear all the ways that they might be able to help. No barriers! 

No 'Because I had a bad early experience.' chip on my shoulder
No 'Politicans are all idiots' because I was less enthusiastic about a political view I was once supportive of.
No Anti-authoritarian 'Bankers this...' and 'Vince cable that'
(But IMHO The Vince Cable view IS justified!...but was absent from the conversation, all the same).

Just "I need a bit of help!... I'm a little bit stuck... Can you help me to 'lower the barrier' and 'flatten the path'"

I don't know how long the Job Club normally runs for but not only was I there for hours! But I had a number of staff who dropped everything and supported me... and with some bespoke solutions too.

Man! Did we get a lot done! I highlight that it feels like 

'Some of the ideas I have can sometimes feel like they are ahead of their time... and this can be frustrating as I feel mis-understood when trying to help'

'There is no EdTech industry here in Scotland, but the UK Government have just published an #EdTechStrategy' 

Add to this that I am also aware that I am what @ThisIsNewPower calls a 'Crowd Leader' according to Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans' books' quiz (Which Tim McDonald is involved with).

When I read New Power I recognised what Kony2012 CEO Jason Russell did with the grassroots movement for Invisible Children (@Invisible) by visiting schools to raise awareness of Kony's use of child soldiers (Dexter Dias highlights how the practice of forcing children to fight creates formidable killing machies).

Siara's dad told her book loving daughter that 'Anything is possible' but, living in CAR and faced between staying where she was and turning to violence, a perilous desert crossing like The Alchemist's Santiago, or a migrant boat... It's a lot harder to do anything you set your mind to when those are your choices... It feels like as dangerous a message as whatever tactics Scottish School Girl Asqa Mahmood used to encourage Shamina Begum and others to lose her UK Citizenship. 

@Invisible's Kony2012 strategy is what I thought Marialice Curran (@Mbfxc) and David Ryan Polgar's (@TechEthicist) #DigCitSummit movement was going to do but... as I discovered it's freaking hard - in fact near impossible! - to get right!! 

Jason Russell got SOOO MUCH right! He got SOOO MUCH done! But then disaster struck!

Jason suffered a nervous breakdown: What Jason Russell Remembers about His Breakdown
Image result for What Jason Russell Remembers About His Breakdown

New Power highlights how tough being a 'Crowd Leader' can be! 

Equally Ayn Rand highlights how hard it can be to try to bring new and original ideas to life, check out tough Howard Roark, Hank Rearden, Dagny Taggart, John Galt and Kira Argounova (Most definitely WON'T be spoiling the end of what happens to the heroine in We the Living!) 

...I'll be including the extract of when Roark met Stephen Mallory in my next post.

Can you imagine my surprise when I saw a quote from The Fountainhead on one of the notepads of one of the people who was helping me yesterday?! 

I've got no idea if that was a quote they wrote, one of their mental health partners who can provide a life link to people who are having a hard time...or one of their clients who's ideas are also a little bit new and crazy.

So, perhaps a little bit like a former collaborator, and the person who gave me my first paid experience in Community Management, Ramona Pierson... I found in Routes to Work (South!) Job Club yesterday, an Unexpected Place of Healing.

BUT (obviously!) I hasten to add NO WHERE near as painful as her experiences... Both physically or of with the kind of makeovers she had to endure.

But MAN! does the idea of cuss (swear) scrabble sound fun! I wonder if *SIGH-Grrr-Argh!* counts as a swear word in cuss scrabble. I would go along to a Routes to Work swear scrabble club!!

Image result for ramona pierson an unexpected place of healing
Check my Community Management Resources Collection
on Declara: Extreme Radical Collaboration... & Wisdom

"Words on a screen hurt people" Howard Rhiengold (@Hreingold) in Virtual Communities after Blair Newman committed suicide just before scribbling (deleting) all his posts on the early online community, The Well 26 years ago.

Howard highlights how this event affected the 'Well Beings' 

"There was the real-life funeral, where we brought our physical bodies and embraced each other and Blair's family. We were learning how fond we had grown of Blair, and how his death put a milestone in cyberspace. Marriages had happened and others had unraveled. Businesses had started and failed. We had parties and picnics. But death seems somehow more real, even if your only participation is in the virtual funeral"

26 years later, weeks after Tim Berners-Lee's call for people to fight #ForTheWeb followed a few days later by the New Zealand killings where online hate spilled into the real world and Molly Russell's suicide is a new milestone in Cyberspace... People are telling us before they hurt themselves or others and we are not noticing... we are not replying... We are not offering people the same virtual hugs that EDL member Ivan Humble (@NewDayStarts) got IRL. 

My last post details how I almost quit Twitter and why I didn't! Because I had learned the lessons of The Well and the importance of #YOYOW.

The value that a kind word can have never ceases to amaze me... 

Whether the words that launch people on a journey, as mine started with James Stanbridge (@Stanbridge) via Sarah Thomas and her #DigiDiversity #SXSWEdu session, as well as Education Scotland's Ian Stuart (@IanStuart66) and Bob Baldie (@BobBaldie) taking the time to listen to my ideas at the Developing the Youth Workforce launch at the 2015 Scottish Learning Festival in 2015.

...Or Sarah Clark (@Sfm36) telling me that I would be missed if I quit Twitter #YOYOW-> Or people like Bev Cripps (@BCripps078) & Ritu Sehji (@Rsehji) noticing when I wasn't around -> Or Ian Gibson (@GibsonI) encouraging me to submit my own Tedx Presentation -> Or my dear friend Andrea Tolley (@TolleyA) for EVERYTHING! Eleven times over!!

And Chrissy and David for trying to help me @BeYonderLtd since we met last August as a result of an Edchange Global (#ECGlobal) conversation with Michael Sinclair (@FillthegapLearn)... I've tried to be a Courageous Follower, but being courageous sometimes means you get it wrong too.

...Or Routes to Work (@Routes2Work) yesterday to being there when a weary traveler needed a rest!

But Sairah (Pronounced Sigh-ra, I believe), if you do refer me to any services to try to thow me a life line, please don't do to me what The Alchemist author Paulo Coelho's parents did when he was following his dream to be a writer... and put him in a mental institution.

...At least not without a good internet connection and a decent library!
I promise not to do a 'Julian Assange' to get my internet access revoked!
There's a guy that needs some help!

(Talk about biting the hand that feeds you!! Something for anyone who is going through a rough time and gets taken in by a 'fake friend' and decides to flee Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, The United Kingdom, Great Britain - or however you identify your nationality - only to moan a few years later when your Citizenship is revoked!)

Why would I need an internet connection if anyone thought I was nuts?

Because as @BeMorePirate highlights in their Tedx Talk... there are a lot of problems out there to be changing! And... as the Think Differently advert goes:

"Sometimes the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones who do"

Here's to the Misfits (And their creative power) helping other rebels at @Routes2Work to find their own route to work.

Happy Birthday #FairStartScotland for #FSS Sake.

Apologies to Mr Hepburn and Ms Haughey and all staff doing good work on this new initiative.

It's tough out their folks! So Be Kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle!

...Oh yeah and 'Check your premises' too!

6th April 2019 Update
The post below was written yesterday in line with Jay Baer's comments from the 'Hug Your Haters' #Cmgrhangout regarding how:

"Haters are not your problem... Ignoring them is" 

I had raised a number of concerns offline and heard nothing back, so took my complaint, grievance and frustrations online.

As Jay highlights, if people have tried calling, emailing etc and got no response they already have 'one foot out the door' as a customer, so the content of response and speed of response are key!

To his credit, Mr Hepburn, came back to me immediately after I posted the content below... and with a satisfactory response, which was (and is) appreciated!

With the EdTech Strategy being launched earlier in the week + hearing about others in Scotland in the EdTech scene who are struggling (Doing innovative work... but are looking to leave), I created a moment of conflict in order to make sure I was heard.

I leave the post unedited and raw (Although will tone down a little), so that others can see how I am exploring and dealing with #NewPower storms and Be More Pirate 'Tell Tall Tales'

...And what I hope will be the #SeaTurtlePirates compass if/when encountering any @BeMorePirate #NewPower Storms = The #YOYOWJOI compass.

I don't like being in snarky mode, but if it helps in any way for those who are Lost in the Ghetto, I will!

But kudos to Mr Hepburn for addressing this the way that he did, and my apologies for any and all snark below...Including to the service providers who are doing good work

(But a little more joined up thinking and collaboration though, Yes? No? Maybe?)

5th April 2019 The Original Angry Post! (But edited and toned down a little)
This post details my experiences as an unfortunate victim of Jamie Hepburn's flagship skills program 'Fair Start Scotland' (I've already suggested an alternative name for the initiative).

It is written in the hope of either

1) Warning others of the dangers of trying to innovate in a backward looking place and/or
2) The challenges that can come from your ideas being ahead of their time.

If you like the sound of the latter do yourself a favour and read about Henry Cameron's experiences in The Fountainhead... It sure ain't easy!!

Not the Tories Fault... Not this time ScotGov/TheSNP
If there are two things that will wind the Scottish Government up it will be to either say:

1) That things are no different after 17 years of SNP being part of the Scottish Government than under Margaret Thatchers Tory Government

And yet, with parents struggling to make ends meet because of banks, mortgages and decisions made by the Bank of England, the economy tanking and educator moral being pretty low, what's really changed?

Only politicians could go from 'celeb rock star status' to 'Meh! no different to Thatcher years' within 4 years!

2) That the current Conservative Government are NOT to blame for at least one area of the economy and/or Scotland's issues.

Not when the EdTech industry is both thriving south of the border AND is getting support by the Education Secretary and the UK Department of Education with the launch of the EdTech Strategy document this week.

There is not much of an EdTech sector in Scotland and, in my experience - and the experiences of a few others - there isn't anything by way of support.

I have been fortunate enough to be connected with people where I've seen very clearly where the future of work is headed.

This is not always a benefit when you don't have a voice, when you share your ideas with the wrong kind of people and/or when you're trying to pay the bills.

A few years ago the UK Government Education Departments would tell you

"We can't be seen to be recommending any particular company or product... even those doing good work"

Compare this with the ideas I had in 2014 and with their shiny new EdTech Strategy (Which, just like Gazelle and FELTAG did, has some key flaws)... and the differences in the kind of response the suggestions got.

9th January 2014 Vs April 2019
Email to EdTech Suppliers
"I am writing to you today to see if you thought it would be useful if there was a regular Twitter Chat where suppliers to the education sector could share ideas, collaborate and network with each other. A PLN for Edu suppliers. Please find more details on this idea in this blog post;

StartUpEduChat -"

Example reply from suppliers
Thanks for your thoughts - it's an interesting idea, and very worthy.

I can forsee a few issues:
  • It feels overly utopian. Most successful edtech suppliers may feel a conflict of interests sharing their hard won formulae.
  • Twitter is poorly used and understood (IMHO) by most Educational suppliers, and not monitored regularly enough by those that do to develop any meaningful conversation

  • Company twitter accounts are often staffed by marketing advisors, juniors, or similar who may not have the product/business experience to contribute in a way that delivers value to the stream

  • When would the conversation happen? Can't be in the day as people are working, and wouldn't work in the evening as that's when (most) have clocked off for the night.

  • If staff are going to spend time on Twitter I suspect most companies would prefer they were talking to customers, or supporting the brand.

  • Many followers of edu suppliers Twitter accounts will not be overly interested in seeing tweets of this nature and short of blocking the hashtag, won't be able to avoid them

  • Hashtag spam, dull promotional tweets, commercial agenda driven tweets
Those are mainly probs with using edu suppliers branded twitters. If it's down to individuals, then the problems are less. But most still apply.

Startups are naturally more open and willing to share, by definition. But those they seek to learn from (those that have made it) may ironically fall into the issues above.

I promise I am not trying to be negative (BrainPOP is one of the most open and socially savvy edutech brands out there) but it might simply be that trying to achieve the aim of sharing best practice on Twitter might be the wrong tool to choose.

Of course, this should not stop you from trying, I could be completely wrong.

Then either compare with a few months later when I ceded the idea to Katya Hoyt and Steve Isaacs and supported them with their #SXSWEdu #EdTechBridge idea... OR (more crucially) with the #EdTechStrategy that pretty much is doing what I suggested that #FELTAG should be doing (See The Problem with FELTAG)

My Fair Start Scotland Journey
Only having the good and the great connecting with you when your ideas are ready for them to make a name for themselves has two consequences

1) It has a negative impact on those who are truly collaborative... The edu data informs me that social media is FULL of these kind of relationships (And that those who are truly collaborative are adjusting for this!)

2) Helping others in their career and with their personal brand doesn't pay the bills very well.

And trying to reskill to an EdTech Community Manager in a land with no EdTech industry and who have no clue what Community Management is... That has been an error of judgement on my part, who knew geography mattered so much today.

Indeed, the UK EdTech Strategy really should be called the London EdTech Strategy.

As I will state a number of times in this post, there is absolutely ZERO criticism of the people I am in contact with - especially those at Rutherglen Job Centre and Routes to Work Cambuslang.

Conversely, there's nothing but scorn for the pointless politicians that have done such an abysmal job that they have seen a former advocate become so disillusioned by the sheer level of their incompetence in a few short years... Is nothing short of astounding!!

It beggars belief and is a marvel to behold (Go check my Rah! Rah! Rah! IndyRef/SNP posts... they're all still there! #IfIKnewThenWhatWeKnowNow!)

1st November 2018
Coming to the end of one of the worst years I've had in a very long time (If not ever!) With my job search going nowhere and me being desperate to find anything at all... my work coach suggested Fair Start Scotland and Routes to Work. 

The aim of going onto this program being so I can ‘dumb down’ my CV as there is no EdTech industry here and no #Cmgr roles.

I met a Routes to Work rep at the Job Centre and agreed to get referred to this voluntary program.

I had a letter and initial meeting scheduled with Laura Sloan, this then changed to Fiona Davidson between the appointment being made and the actual meeting. At the end of the interview Fiona recommended Routes to Work and I spoke to Maureen (Who was absolutely freaking AWESOME!)

A letter came through for Remploy. I thought that I was with Routes to Work? Must have been referred on to them? That's a shame! I liked Maureen. Oh well fine! They know best (Yeah right!)

An induction set up for the 12
th November.

12th November 2018
Totally Unimpressed with the induction!

It felt like I was a name and a number - after seeing the £96 million over 3 years I can now see why this was the case - The induction was held with Craig in the main reception (All the meeting rooms had been taken, apparently).

This was a day after my mother-in-laws funeral and I left feeling underwhelmed when I got the hard sell to fill the form out there and then... 

'Don't let any of these walking £6,000 mugs leave without signing up'
You can almost hear in the weekly team meetings from the 'Just fill it in... No you can't take it with you'

16th November 2018 
Tell my Job Centre Work Coach how underwhelming the whole thing was and a ‘What have you got to lose’ convo with her sees me agree... "Yeah you're right. I'm pretty desperate"

17th November 2018 

Remploy’s apprentice followed up with a call asking if I’d like to arrange a meeting following the induction, a meeting was arranged.

W/C 19th November 2018 I went back and filled out the application with Chris AFTER I asked 

"Will me signing up to this exclude me from any other initiatives"
And made a point of referencing the challenges with being on Working Links and New Enterprise Allowance

Was the reply... This turned out to be a lot of shit!! Thanks Chris!! Hope you got your commission or whatever you get for signing me up!

28th November 2018 
On my second appointment with Chris where we were going to go through my CV after complementing me on my CV and saying how he thinks he can help, he logs on and gives it: 

"William you’re not on our system... We went through all the paperwork last time didn't we?"

Went away and came back and said 

"You're supposed to be with Routes to Work"

"Right OK! Well if I’m not impressed with Routes to Work, can I come back to you?"

"No!" was the reply 

"Here we go again" thinks I!

 28th November 2018... Later that Day
I stopped off at Cambuslang after this meeting and asked to speak to Maureen who said 

“William where have you been? I wondered why you’d been taken off the system. You’re supposed to be with me and with Routes to Work” 

Helen at Rutherglen Job Centre confirmed this.

 I had two meetings with Maureen when she did tonnes to try to help, including meeting with the guys at Be Yonder to assess how they both might be able to find funding for a role they were exploring and looking into Community Jobs Scotland.

Progress was made as I would be eligible for Community Jobs Scotland... but the age had changed from anyone of any age is eligible, to under 29. #FFS #FSS!!

20th February 2019 
Maureen had been off so I was referred to one of her colleagues, who has also been super friendly, supportive and helpful.

They've also been extremely patient and understanding as they've had the shitty end of the stick as I've been in

"I'm getting fucked about by this Fair Start Scotland shit" mode (Not a pretty picture, I can tell you!). 

I have met with this advisor once or twice and have dropped in for updates a few times.

21st February 2019
I asked Helen at Rutherglen job centre if I was eligible to go back onto New Enterprise Allowance as Fair Start Scotland had, in spite of any good intentions and some really helpful people, not actually much has been done since Nov 2018 

The reply was that I was eligible for NEA but NOT if I was on Fair Start Scotland (#FSS? Most def should be changed to #FFSS For Fuck's Sake Scotland!!)

So if I was
NOT on Fair Start Scotland I would have been referred to NEA* 6 weeks ago.

*Not that NEA is much better, ask about VC funding and you get laughed at! Their slide and advice on credit rating = "If you have a bad credit rating... Do something about it." No shit sherlock! We are not all NRAM and RBS with Vince Cable on speed dial and billion pound bail outs within 24 hours mate.

[*Waves*] To Vince '#TooBigtoFail' Cable... 

How are your buddies at NRAM and RBS getting on there? 
9 Consecutive years of losses and numerous fines... and their business is what's that? Money? Interesting!
Are the execs enjoying their bonuses while they close all the branches? 
Or are they still sending 'Give 'em rope' memos? Still shafting their customers?

 21st March 2019
Go to Fair Start Scotland/Routes to work to ask a Question) "Am I eligible for NEA?" Answer)
"Yes but you’d need to come off Fair Start Scotland"

Stop in on a critical friend to have a complete RANT!

Rutherglen Job Centre
Evidence is based around EdTech business plan

"But you’re not on that yet… and Helen tried to call you (Phone and internet had been cut off) to let you know that Fair Start Scotland has something similar"

Back to critical friends place to rant some more... Poor souls!

Back to Fair Start Scotland/Routes to work

"Yes we do have something similar but NEA would be better for you"

God love these people for treating me like a human being and thinking of my best interests over their

"Get them signed up these guys are worth £6k to us"

1st April 2019
Routes to Work are not taking me off Fair Start Scotland until they know that I have been referred to NEA as if I leave I can't go back to them, again thinking of me as a human being more than anything else. TY!

Called Rutherglen Job Centre to see if anything had been progressed and there was nothing on the system (My work coach has been off).

Called People’s Plus to see if I could go back onto NEA and he said the only way to get referred onto this is via the Job Centre

If I was NOT on Fair Start Scotland I would have been referred to NEA some 6 weeks ago and my business plan would not be being scrutinized as part of my claimant agreement.

That’s 8 people across two organizations where the majority of the scheduled meetings has been me saying in triplicate what my work aims are and at NO POINT has anyone sat down to do what I had originally signed up to this program for… to ‘dumb down’ my CV to get any old job as well as get assistance to get through interviews for whatever mundane jobs might be out there.

In a week that sees the EdTech ecosystem down in London getting more support and my being aware of others in Scotland involved in EdTech who are also having a rough time? #GoDo #ScotlandCan... Fuck Off!!

My ‘Fair Start Scotland’ experience has not been a good one!

I detail this in the hope, however slim the chances, that others don’t have to go through any of this.

Ian Blackford "Scotland Will Not be Ignored" <- What a lot of shit!
Nicola Stugeon "Scotland is open for Europe and their talent to come here" <- That comment is right up there with Chris van der Kyul's "Scotland lacks talent" shit

Perhaps stop with all the Tory bashing and Brexit obsession and fix the Attainment Gap and/or unslum the many deprived areas and believe in the workforce with a £100 million upskill package like the Tories are doing instead of a substandard Fair Start Scotland offering

...Or perhaps simply get Andrew Mawson's book to see how what he and Jane Jacobs did that has worked.

"The customer is not a moron. She's your wife" David Ogilvy.

Would you send your kids to some of the services that you run - whether the schools, housing or services like this? Or is it Eton for Boris, Gove, Cameron etc and sod the JAMs?

17 years and the 'It's the Tories fault' is wearing a little thin... What's the point of Holyrood if you're this ineffective?! Just go back to having one Parliament that does nothing but bicker rather than two.

And btw my business plan could kick the Tories EdTech Strategy ass! Their ideas are 4 years behind my plans! All you need to do is look at my blog posts from 4 years ago. Here's just one (of many!) examples

EdTech is Tough... Welcome to Scotland
(Taxi for one to California... Perhaps one day!)

No comments:

Post a Comment