Previous Article Next Article KateO’Connor is director of development at media skills organisation Skillset and aalso rising star in the vocational skills firmament. Simon Kent tunes in to hernew agenda under the forthcoming Sector Skills Development AgencyTo say that the new year will be busy for Kate O’Connor is something of anunderstatement. As this edition of Training Magazine was going to press, she received thenews that Skillset, the National Training Organisation for broadcast, film,video and interactive media, for which she works as director of development,has been granted a two-year licence to operate as a Sector Skills Council”trailblazer”. The arrangement, which kicks off this month, will entail offering advice andguidance to other potential SSCs (drawn from 72 former NTOs which will find outover the next few months if they will be reincarnated). These trailblazers will, to borrow other government jargon, act as”pathfinders”, identifying the targets for improvement for skills andproductivity from connections with the Regional Development Agencies. Skillset has long received important endorsement from the industry itrepresents. Both unions and employers gave their backing when it first was putforward for recognition as one of the six proposed “trailblazing”SSCs. In effect, five have been announced (see News, page 4). The NTO National Council, where O’Connor acts as chair of the Standards andQualifications Committee, will disband and a new Sector Skills DevelopmentAgency will appear to manage the SSC network. O’Connor herself has secured a further role in the future of vocationaltraining, having been made an adviser to the Employer Champions Group, createdby the DfES and NTO National Council in November to identify how both NationalOccupational Standards and National Vocational Qualifications can be promotedto raise skills levels and overcome shortages throughout industry. Many changes are afoot, but the proposed remit of Skillset for its ownindustry has been identified, thanks to the conclusions of an 18-monthprogramme of consultation and research into skill requirements throughout theaudio visual sector. The final report, Skills for Tomorrow’s Media, was published in September2001 and contains clear initiatives for the organisation as well as indicatingthe role of employers, employees, Government and unions in providing effectivetraining. Challenges “Skillset has been successful because we’ve always taken a specificfocus on the needs of the industry,” says O’Connor. “Those needs arenot unique to this industry, but many are, including challenges of dealing witha freelance workforce and a predominantly SME employer base.” Since its creation as an Industry Led Body in 1991, Skillset has workedtowards providing a completely integrated skills and training service for thesector. It has monitored industry needs, raising and managing finance fromwithin the sector and from external sources to meet those needs. At the same time, it has represented the sector back to government, seekingto influence policy and priorities in this area. The challenges met by Skillset may not be unique to the industry, but inmany ways the media’s experience has been a concentrated version of trendsexperienced throughout industry in general. The early 1990s saw radical changes in the media industry. At a time ofrecession, new technology was changing the way many employees worked. Restructuring occurred throughout the sector as ITV companies bid for theirlicences and the BBC’s charter was assessed and renewed. One result was that, almost overnight, employees had to switch fromlong-term job security to short term freelance work. The creation of Channel 4, the emergence of new media and the greateremphasis on commissioning programmes meant new training solutions needed to befound to address entrants and freelance workers in a growing independentsector. “Skillset emerged from the need and recognition that training had to beorganised in a suitable way for the industry,” says O’Connor. “The industry had to work together, forgetting the distinctions of video,TV, radio and corporate work to identify common standards for the training ofindustry professionals. “We created a set of standards and competence levels within theindustry which could be used across training from apprenticeships to continualprofessional development programmes. “Delivery has always been through the industry using professionaltraining providers,” O’Connor continues. “Where Government programmesfit we have used them to their best effect, but we don’t try to bringGovernment initiatives into the industry for the sake of it. “We have also represented the industry’s views to Government to saythis is the kind of support we need with initiatives such as modernapprenticeships, given our workforce are predominantly graduate, freelance,specialists and aged over 21.” One reason for O’Connor’s optimism is the enhanced profile she believes willbe afforded to the SSCs, increasing employer’s influence at Government level. “Individual NTOs have made a difference, but we’ve always had to pushfor that status,” she says. “I hope one of the differences will be that the SSCs are seen as thevoice of their sector. John Healey [Adult Skills Minister] has supported thatand described the SSCs as the missing dimension which will fit alongside theRegional Development Agencies and the local Learning Skills Councils. What hasbeen missing is a strong network of sector representation.” O’Connor is also pleased by the emphasis placed on expected productivityincrease achieved through the restructure. “Education and training is about improving productivity,” shesays. “The provision of further and higher education cannot be exempt fromthat objective. Making sure that connection is clear will get buy-in to the newstructure from employers.” It is interesting to note that the current research aims of the EmployerChampions Group is to examine how National Occupational Standards and NVQsshould be developed and “used as a tool to raise skills levels and enhancebusiness performance”. The group will advise ministers, the Learning and Skills Council, the QCAand the RDAs on this subject by April 2002. Certainly O’Connor perceives a generally positive feeling among employersthat the SSCs will increase their influence in the training arena. Critics have argued that in some cases training has been led by education,irrespective of industry needs. The media has had its own problems with theeducation sector. “In the mid-90s there was an explosion of further andhigher education courses in the media and the industry was very critical ofmany of those courses,” says O’Connor. “Employers found themselves bombarded by requests for work experience,but at the same time, when students had completed their courses, they hadlittle or no idea of what the industry was about.” Through working with employers and reflecting their needs to the educationsector, Skillset has reduced the antagonism that developed over this period.Formal education now offers more relevant degrees and employers expect to recruitqualified individuals. In line with Government policy, Skillset is supporting the drive towardsrecognising centres of vocational excellence in further education to deliverspecific skills to the industry. At the same time, a framework for course accreditationby the industry is being developed. Higher education courses meeting certainstandards will gain a “kite mark” of good quality. “Courses will be measured to straight-forward criteria,” explainsO’Connor. “These will include whether they meet national standards, ifthey taught by people with professional experience, if they use professionalequipment and so on. “We hope the establishment of the SSC network will help in this area bygiving the industry more power and influence on policy within the higher andfurther education sectors.” Positioning Naturally, there is a reverse side to hopes held for the new councils.”Employers are positive about the SSCs because of their generalpositioning, their increased influence and the increased government fundingthey will receive,” says O’Connor. “However, they are also nervous that there simply won’t be enoughgovernment funding for the new organisations to be effective.” In addition, the restructuring is destined to result in a reduction oftraining representative bodies. A figure of 25 SSCs is rumoured – compared with over 70 currently operatingNTOs – but whatever the final figure, some industry sectors will have to merge.O’Connor resists the idea of a merger. “Our sector is very clear itwants to retain its current remit and size,” she says. “The sectorcannot get any bigger, otherwise the impact of our work will be diluted.” She notes that any such merger could delay the implementation of Skillset’scurrent agenda. The sector report Skills for Tomorrow’s Media carries over 70recommendations for moving training practice forward and O’Connor is clearlyeager to get on with the work. “There’s a lot to be getting on with in the sector and any kind ofdelay will be frustrating,” she says. One role which will disappear from O’Connor’s portfolio next year is that ofchair of Standards and Qualifications Committee for the NTO National Council. The committee comprises representatives from 16 diverse NTOs and has advisedon policy issues including the development and funding of National OccupationalStandards to organisations such as the QCA and the DfES. The committee may disappear along with the NTO structure but O’Connor willcontinue to act as an ambassador for National Occupational Standards whenevershe can. “We have delegations from all over the world talking to us to find outhow we set up these standards in the TV and audio sector,” she says.”In some cases, other countries have taken our standards and ideas andused them to greater effect. I think that has been partly due to this notionthat the standards are linked with NVQs and in some areas NVQs have never beencompletely accepted. “There are difficulties of implementing those qualifications andassessing on the job. It’s a major investment for employers to take on, and canbe difficult in a freelance environment.” World leaders “I’ve always felt passionately about the value of occupationalstandards and qualifications because we are world leaders in this area,”she says. “In the late 1980s, we set out to develop standards and a vocationalqualification framework which would operate from mail room to board room andwould involve all industries. “It’s been very exciting and very frustrating because 15 years laterthe National Occupational Standards have improved immeasurably but they havehardly been used outside the world of NVQs.” While next year’s restructuring provides the ideal opportunity forrelaunching the Standards and NVQs as separate and effective training tools,O’Connor believes ultimate success in meeting the skills challenge lies in athree-way relationship between the Government, the employers and employees. “Government has a role in funding education and training, settingpolicy, developing and implementing initiatives such as the standardsframework,” she says. “There then needs to be a genuine partnership between the industrysector and individual employers in terms of funding, implementing, informingand influencing that policy. “The third part of the triangle is the individual. They must have aclear commitment to learning. The individual has a role to play in finding thetraining they need and investing in their own skills. It’s a three-waypartnership.” Kate O’Connor – the story so far1995 Director of development asSkillset becomes an NTO1993 Skillset – O’Connor worked with director on developing andimplementing industry training strategy as Skillset was launched as an IndustryTraining Organisation1991 Skillset – Founding member. Project director for industryled body, responsible for development of National Occupational Standards, NVQsand SVQs1984 City & Guilds of London Institute – Various rolesculminating in test development manager, managing a team of assessment expertsworking for employers, training providers and first industry-led bodies1982 Manpower Service Commission (Department of Employment),Large Companies Unit – Management of YTS schemes Related posts:No related photos. One to watchOn 1 Jan 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed.
The Parkland survivors should be taken seriously, and sincerely, by those who agree with them and those who disagree alike.Liberals shouldn’t call these children essential to an important debate at one moment and too delicate to engage with the other side at another, just as conservatives shouldn’t say the survivors are too innocent to participate and at the same time criticize them as conniving leftists exploiting their friends’ deaths for fame or political gain.But what Cooke and his opponents don’t spare the time to articulate is the difference between bashing Hogg’s arguments and bashing Hogg himself.No one likes ad hominem attacks, at least in principle.But in this case, those attacks are even less constructive, and even more callous, than usual.That’s because they’re being leveled at a child, and because that child just saw 17 gunned down at his school.And because of the way the debate over Hogg began: with a far-right conspiracy campaign to cast him as a “crisis actor.” For every conservative who has pointed out the inconsistency in Hogg’s defending the deputy sheriff who stayed outside the school during the shooting and then excoriating Florida Gov. Rick Scott, R, for that officer’s failure, there are tens of others who have left substance aside.Instead, they call into question Hogg’s motivations.They accuse him of climbing over the dead bodies of his peers.They accuse him of pretending the killed were his peers at all.It’s one thing to say Hogg gets it wrong on guns, or that threatening boycotts of everything and anything isn’t the surest route to legislative change.It’s another to cry out that Hogg is a liar or an idiot who doesn’t deserve a spot on our television screens.No wonder liberals are on alert when reproof comes Hogg’s way or the way of his fellow survivors. Categories: Editorial, OpinionThe Parkland kids are all right — and then again, they aren’t.This tension between viewing the victims of an untold trauma as the best available advocates for gun restrictions and viewing them as, well, victims of an untold trauma has forced commentators on both sides of the debate into contortions.When National Review editor Charles C.W. Cooke tried to slice through one of those knots in an essay on Tuesday, it did not go well.Cooke’s piece, titled “David Hogg Is Fair Game for Critics,” made an already angry Internet angrier still.Cooke was cruel, he was heartless, he was attacking a child who was speaking up only because he and his classmates had been attacked already.What Cooke really argues is this: Many liberals say the Parkland children are the perfect people to explain how to prevent an experience they themselves have had — but that, though they’re adult enough to helm a mass movement, they’re still too childlike for critics to come after them.Cooke says liberals can’t have it both ways. He has a point. That reproof is so often tinged with vitriol not simply for what these kids are saying but also for who they are.It’s natural to want to protect young people whom society has failed to protect.And while Cooke may be correct that it’s inconsistent to inoculate a movement’s leader from criticism on the merits, shielding a child from spite and slander is another matter.In a country where everyone is mad all the time and everyone has the tools to put that madness on the Internet, we often avoid the challenge of addressing someone’s arguments and go after their character instead.Changing that culture might be a big ask in the 21st century, but teenagers who’ve just been through tragedy seem like a fine place to start.Molly Roberts works in The Washington Post’s opinion section.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motorists
Usually, when a team’s starting quarterback goes down with an injury, there is a big drop in production when the backup comes in.Unfortunately for the Wisconsin Badgers football team, this is not the case for San Diego State head coach Chuck Long. With starter Kevin O’Connell out for a few weeks after undergoing surgery, Darren Mougey will get a chance that he has wanted from day one of training camp, freshman year — a chance to start — and for him Saturday cannot come soon enough.Mougey, a sophomore from Scottsdale, Ariz., will make the first start of his collegiate career against the Badgers. After redshirting his freshman year and backing up O’Connell for much of 2005 and the start of this season, Mougey will finally get the opportunity to display the talent that earned him SuperPrep All-American honors, and he will do it in front of a hostile Camp Randall crowd.”I’m really excited for the opportunity,” Mougey said at an Aztec press conference Tuesday. “I’ve been here for a couple years now and gotten some playing experience, but this is my first real test. I’m excited for my first test to be a big test against (one of) the best in Wisconsin. I’m excited to prove to my teammates, myself and this community that I can play at this level.”In his most recent performance, Mougey proved not only that he could play at the D-I, but that he could dominate as well. Mougey came on for the injured O’Connell midway through the third quarter with his team trailing 27-3 against Texas-El Paso and led his team on three consecutive scoring drives, capping two with touchdown runs of his own. Despite the furious comeback, the Aztecs fell short 34-27. For the game, Mougey completed 12 of 16 passes for 178 yards and ran for another 41. Against a Wisconsin team that has struggled defending mobile quarterbacks, coaches expect big things out of Mougey.”We think it’s an advantage to have a quarterback that can move around — that can do some damage with his legs as well as his arm, and Darren can do that,” Aztecs head coach Chuck Long said in a phone interview.While his running ability may leave the Badgers linebackers bewildered, it’s his size and athletic ability that sets him apart. At 6-6, 230 pounds, Mougey is the complete package. In fact after O’Connell was named the starter in training camp — albeit in a tight race — and Mougey remained the backup, Long was concerned that Mougey’s running ability, size and athleticism were going to waste. Coach Long tried him out as a wide receiver.”He’s so athletic that we feel like we need to get him on the field somehow, someway,” Long said. “You know we want to put our best players and athletes out there and he was one of them. He was a top-22 athlete for us on the team, so we did [just] that. But since he’s been a quarterback, those days are over now.”Although the experiment didn’t last long, it shows just how valuable Mougey is to the Aztecs. Before thoughts of trying Mougey at wideout trickled into coach Long’s head, the sophomore was putting up a heck of a fight for the starting role.”Darren was really sharp all the way through training camp so much so that I felt like ‘OK, we have two guys here … and we had to name a starter in Kevin O’Connell, but we felt like we had a 1A and a 1B as opposed to a one and a two,” Long said. “That’s how close Darren was, as far as being behind Kevin in terms of production and what he did during training camp.”Over the past two weeks the gap between the two Aztec quarterbacks — if there ever was one — has all but disappeared. Since Mougey took over the starting role, he has the opportunity to get the reps in practice that he could not get as the backup. The impressive thing about it, according to Long, is that he has picked up the system and commanded the huddle very well in such a short time starting.For now, coach Long is just pleased that he doesn’t have to worry about keeping a phenomenal athlete on the sidelines.The only thing left on Mougey’s agenda now is to guide his team to victory over a heavily favored Wisconsin team.”It would be huge for this team and this program [to beat the Badgers],” Mougey said. “These types of games put us on the map — get us some recognition and respect.”
Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments After failing to record a stat in SU’s season opener, junior Massimo Ferrin made his presence known for the Orange at about the 17 minute mark, putting a shot on goal from the top of the box. Portland goalie Kienan Weekes made the first save of the night, though, keeping the contest scoreless. But Ferrin wasn’t done, creating another opportunity 8 minutes later, this time for a teammate. A Pilots shot sailed wide right of the goal and Syracuse pushed the ball up the field to Ferrin, who found fellow forward Tajon Buchanan just in front of the box. Buchanan sidestepped his defender and found a hole by the left post past Weekes, and the Orange was on the board. “We still haven’t seen the best Massimo,” SU head coach Ian McIntyre said. “He’s gonna be an important part of us moving forward. We’ve got to get him in better spots. He’s a creative handful. I think he was good tonight, but he can be better.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWhile the first 25 minutes of the game saw six shots and eight fouls, the following 20 minutes of the half were increasing choppy. The teams combined for 11 fouls and failed to record a shot, and Syracuse went into the break with a 1-0 advantage. “I think the referees, especially in the second half, called it a little bit tight and maybe a little bit inconsistent,” McIntyre said. “It was a combative, competitive game, it wasn’t over the line. The fouls did disrupt the flow of the game a little bit.”The dry spell continued after halftime, as neither goalies were tested through the first 12 minutes and the Pilots earned two yellow cards. But in the 57th minute Portland finally broke through, attempting the first shot of the half and converting on it. Benji Miller connected on a header to the right post for his second goal of the season, and the game was tied at 1.Four substitutions by the Orange in the next 16 minutes failed to spark its offense, and Portland continued to stop the SU attack. Syracuse earned a corner kick but it was all for not, as the Pilots deflected it away and turned toward the Orange half of the field. An overzealous challenge in the penalty box by freshman Ryan Raposo got him a yellow card and gave Portland a penalty kick. Rey Ortiz snuck the attempt past SU goalie Hendrik Hilpert, and the Pilots took the lead. The Orange couldn’t find its footing until the 89th minute, when it nearly tied the game with two last-chance opportunities. Raposo almost made up for his earlier blunder with a shot on goal from the left wing, but Weekes was there to make his second save of the night. Ferrin corralled the rebound and got off a second shot which sailed wide left, ending SU’s chance at a comeback.“We’re still trying to work things out in the attacking area,” McIntyre said. “We didn’t have as much quality in the final third. Tajon, Massimo, Severin (Soerlie) were causing some problems, I just don’t think we executed that final pass and created enough to merit a win.” On Friday, Syracuse traveled to Oregon State for its season opener and never trailed, putting all seven of its shot attempts on goal and earning just six fouls en route to a 2-1 win. On Sunday against Portland, the Orange took just five shots, tallied 25 fouls, and found itself on the other side of a 2-1 game.Both teams struggled to get much going offensively early on, combining for just one shot attempt through the first 11 minutes. That’s when Portland (1-0-1) managed its first threat of the night, having a shot blocked and followed by a corner kick. The ensuing kick was thwarted however, and the Orange (1-1) took possession, looking to attack the Pilots’ side of the pitch. Published on August 27, 2018 at 1:32 am Contact Eric: [email protected] | @esblack34