Gardeners’ World: Plug-n-play planting

FE is not about getting people into jobs. Making ‘the job’ (and only a first-rung job, at that) the end of the FE rainbow is the equivalent of the 1970s careers advisor telling the boys to try the NCB and the girls to look into short-hand typing. We need to train our young people for the jobs of tomorrow – the ones that haven’t been invented yet; hell, we want our young people to be the ones to invent them. To do this, we must reformat our conception of Rainbow’s End. Yes, of course, learners will need to study a chosen or small range of specialist subjects, and yes, certainly, it’s ideal if they are inspired by the careers that await them, but these courses are merely the vehicles through which we can achieve our main magical transformations. FE’s job is to create resilient, articulate learners who have the confidence to push outside the hot edge of their comfort zones, think creatively and use critical reflection and problem-solving skills to move theirs and others’ worlds forward.

Back in the early 80s, I studied for a degree in Creative Arts (a degree certain politicians, I’m sure, would look down on). I’d limped through my A levels with their misplaced focus on short-term memory, then soared when I reached my degree; a degree who’s only real aim was to create people who could think differently. And I still use all of those skills today and the mindset that can take you anywhere and everywhere.

It will come as no surprise that my organisation is called The Centre for Creative Quality Improvement, and that we love to work on innovative solutions to perennial problems in FE. But it may surprise you that this post is actually inspired by a perennial problem of a different kind.. And I’m delighted to say that a short film of this issue has been chosen by the Gardeners’ World team for this Friday’s programme. So if you’d like to laugh at my lock-down hair do and see my attempts at a magical transformation of a different kind, then do tune in this Friday, July 31st, 8pm to see my plug-n-play planting in the rain.


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