The skills of a clown take the winning ticket

April 9, 1999

Dressed to sell body and soul

Among the criteria used for judging the competing exhibition stands was "effectiveness in attracting visitors".

It was impossible to miss the offering of countryside management students from the Welsh Institute for Rural Studies. Its red, white and blue striped roof and red dragon flags towered several feet over other exhibits in the arts centre foyer and the seven-strong team were dressed as clowns and jugglers.

They and their numerous visitors enjoyed themselves immensely.

But the circus gimmick had a serious purpose. Team member Nick Young, a third-year HND student, says: "It came to somebody in a flash. The countryside manager needs the skills of the clown to be able to juggle and balance all the aspects of any job."

Their presentation was also different - while appreciating the training in Powerpoint computer graphics given to each team, they were the only entrants not to use it, opting instead for the simple visual device of team-members building a structure out of boxes, each marked with a word denoting a skill.

Andrew Bottomley, universities manager of PriceWat-erhouseCoopers, a member of the eight-strong judging panel, said the presentation was: "superbly focused."

The institute garnered so much interest in the competition that it held a pre-competition to select departmental representatives.

Aber careers chief Monica Jalloq encourages pre-competitions as a means of spreading the get-skills message through university departments, where there is still much room for improvement.

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