Posts Tagged courses

Saturday schools

The Tories have said that they would bring back Saturday schools to help poorer children.

This is a good idea, but I came up with what I thought was a good idea a few years ago.

To have a one Saturday morning a month school for children from the age of thirteen to teach them about the things in life that schools don’t prepare them for. Things like how to plan with written goals. How a business works through project management. How to negotiate (not selling) with people such as their manager, their bank, buying a new car or home, even their parents! A little simple programming so that they can understand how algebra, trigonometry and geometry relate to programming, so they can see a useful reason behind these subjects. How to relate with others, understanding their needs and aspiration and how to interact with them. A little about national economics. Perhaps a little about all the political parties, not just the Socialists and the Conservatives.

These pointers are not a be all and end all, but are included to give the reader ideas with which to expand. A morning of three hours once a month for two years would prepare our future generation for the future. And, at the same time, enriching their lives.

But nobody thought it was a good idea so it died a natural death.


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How to price a conference

There are lots of opportunities, in life, to attend a conference to learn more about a subject that is going to be useful to you. However, some of these conferences can be expensive and it is often difficult to decide whether you will receive value for money if you pay and attend. Notice I didn’t say whether the conference is value for money, but whether it will be value for money to you.

We can approach this dilemma in a reasoned way. Take the cost of the course. Add to it the cost of getting there and, if you are going to lose money by attending, add that cost as well. So now we have the gross cost of attending. For our simple example, we will assume the cost is £500.

How much do you earn in an hour? Gross of course! If dividing your annual salary by the number of weeks in a year, take into account your holiday entitlement to get the true weekly cost, then divide by the number of days you work in a week, then by the number of hours in the day you work. Here, do not include overtime. Let us assume this figure is £25.

Now divide your hourly figure by the gross cost of attending the course. Which is 20.

Round up, not down, any decimals to get a whole figure. That is the amount of good ideas you will need to get from the conference to break even. These have to be real ideas that you will put into practice and use for at least a year. If you think an idea could be beneficial to you for the rest of your life, you can count it as two ideas for the purpose of this exercise. So, in the above example, if you don’t think you are going to get twenty good ideas, then the conference is over-priced. There may be other reasons you need to attend the conference for, such as networking amongst your peers, but at least you know what you will eventually be paying for.

Most conferences contain a detailed list of all the points that will be covered. Go over them carefully, and make a tally of any idea that you think you could glean from that section of the conference.

I have used this, whether successful or not, I could never be totally sure. However, those conferences or seminars I did eventually attend all produced the required number of new ideas I have adopted, and often many more. So, in my opinion, the costs were never wasted.


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