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Nick Booth: Need a new gimmick, Dave? Make Michelle Mone csar of all bootcamps


There is no modern problem, it seems, that cannot be solved through an online course, a csar or a bootcamp.

How long will it take before people see through them? Has the government gone a csar too far? Does anyone ever trust anyone who tries to sell any of these concepts?

There’s an amazing range of online training being offered. The amazement stems from the sheer scale of gullibility of the public that sustains all these spivs.

Certain merchants would have you believe you can learn everything from crime scene investigation to gene splicing through the medium of a glowing screen. No human contact seems to be required. It really is that easy.

If, say, you want to start your own business and become a millionaire, there are three steps. One: download the course software and two: work through the lessons. Then, three, it’s the easy part. Simply tap into the national zeitgeist, understand the human condition, find something that people are crying out for, invent a product, develop it, patent it, launch, publicise, fund and distribute it (taking care not to give away your margins despite your enthusiasm for momentum), keep on top of production and market trends and fluctuations in material costs and workforce motivation and, Bob’s your uncle, you will be a millionaire in no time. It really is as simple as that. (Terms and conditions apply – you may fall out with your friends, lose your best opportunities for a conventional career, and waste the best years of your life, falling behind everyone else).

The appointments of csars and the creation of bootcamps are no less ludicrous and shallow responses to society’s problems. And yet David Cameron seems to love them.

Barely a day goes by without another bootcamp being organised. Unemployed youth are the latest group to be threatened with military-style basic training. I’m not sure it will work.

When the IT industry wants to get more women into programming, they’ll be invited to pitch up at a coding bootcamp. Surely, learning how to talk to machines andcommand them to do whatever you tell them to is an exciting enough prospect on its own. You don’t have to dress it up in macho military terms. Besides, learning machine language isn’t anything like training your body for combat. Who knows, all that shouting may put the more cerebral women off, and they are presumably the target demographic. “Gimme twenty lines of Code. Now! You horrible little woman! Then I’m going to inspect your variables.”

Then there’s the csars. When did the Balkan aristocracy earn its reputation for efficiency? There’s nothing about it on Wikipedia. And yet, the Government can’t get enough of csars. Michelle Mone, the figurehead of bra brand Ultimo, is apparently the latest great white Russian hope. I don’t know why they don’t just take this csar/bootcamp obsession to its logical conclusion and anoint Ms Mone as the Csar of All Bootcamps and be done with it.

Michelle Mone is undoubtedly stunning and charismatic but her fitness to advise start up companies is a matter of some conjecture at the moment. It would be fantastic if she did live up to her billing. But she does seem to have her critics.

I was once involved in a start up company, followed by a period of unemployment, after which I enrolled in a government IT training course. Which didn’t live up to its billing at all. I wish they had made us do press ups all day. That would have been some use at least because they weren’t qualified in any way to teach. Neither did they have any knowledge to pass on. I hope the current government initiatives are more substantial, but somehow I doubt it.

I do have knowledge of how to help start up companies, the unemployed and would be IT workers, if anyone from the Government is interested. In fact, my course is on Special offer this week, down from £1million to just £399,999. Search Amazon Local for “Online bootcamp training course for Csars.”

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Nick Booth
Nick Booth
Nick Booth is a freelance writer.

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