I received a press release today from a PR agency representing the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) highlighting the fascinating fact that many technology workers do not have hobbies.
The release, which was intended to promote the government's Informal Adult Learning programme, berated technologists for their unwillingness to learn new things.
“A third (35%) of those working in the electronics and telecommunications sectors haven’t learnt a new activity or hobby, while one in 10 hasn’t read a book for pleasure during the past 12 months, according to new research out today from BIS," it said.
"Last year, a BIS consultation found that people were keen to take up learning opportunities if they were made available and easy to find. Following the consultation, the government committed an additional £30m during 2009/10 to support informal adult learning under the banner of The Learning Revolution.”
This is all well and good, but given that the BIS is under intense fire over the Digital Economy Bill, shouldn’t it and its outside public relations team be concentrating their propaganda efforts there?
In the grand scheme of things, does it matter how many electronics professionals read books in their spare time?
A spokesman for the PR agency admitted the release was part of the government’s final promotions push before the general election.
“We are just doing the final push before purdah,” he said. 'Purdah' is the period before a general election when political announcements cannot be made.
The agency also admitted to being completely responsible for the subject of the press release, which actually used data collected by YouGov.
BIS should monitor what the agency sends out on its behalf more closely.
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