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What The British Really Mean

My thanks to Trinity College Dublin for this wise advice to non-English speakers.

It is well known that the British do not always say what they really mean. So, with the growing international nature of the business, the definitions below may help people from other nations understand their British counterparts better.

What they say – What they mean – What is understood

1)I hear what you say - I disagree and don’t wish to discuss it any further - He accepts my point of view
2)With the greatest respect - I think you are wrong (or an idiot) - He is listening to me
3)Not bad - Good or very good - Poor or mediocre
4)Quite good - A bit disappointing - Quite good
5)Perhaps you would like to think about…I would suggest…It would be nice if… - This is an order. Do it or be prepared to justify yourself - Think about the idea, but do what you like
6)Where appropriate - Do whatever you like - Do it if you can
7)Oh, by the way…Incidentally… - This is the primary purpose of our discussion - This is not very important
8)I was a bit disappointed that…It is a pity you… - I’m very annoyed - It doesn’t really matter
9)Very interesting - What a load of rubbish - They are impressed
10)Could we consider some other options - I don’t like your ideas - They have not yet decided
11)I’ll bear it in mind - I will do nothing about it - They will probably do it
12)Please think about that some more - It is a bad idea. Don’t do it - Good idea; keep developing it
13)I’m sure it is my fault - It is your fault! - It was their fault
14)This is an original point of view - You must be crazy - They like my ideas
15)You must come for dinner sometime - NOT an invitation, just being polite - I will receive an invitation shortly

And you thought it was just Consultants who used doublespeak…

BLT – 25th Anniversary Year

It’s our 25th anniversary in 2012. If you’d like to contribute an anecdote about BLT, please get in touch.

I may have been one of BLT’s first consultant recruits but I was almost certainly the easiest!

I worked for Birmingham City Council way back in 1987 in an internal consultancy called the Management Effectiveness Unit. We had a great Chief Executive who gave me some honest career advice that I ought to see more how more organisations worked and experience the private sector. He was frankly pushing at an open door. I was only interested in Government consultancy and the market leader was Coopers & Lybrand. I had met the local Partner, Ken Crossland, when he tried to sell us an IT strategy, and I had warmed to him. So I asked Don Leslie to arrange a discussion with Ken. One week later I had met him and the lead consulting Partner in the Birmingham office. The following week I had an offer and moved. I am sure Don wished all assignments were so easy.

Alan Edwards
International Director

Alan Edwards went on to became a Partner at both IBM and KPMG

New Visa regulations from 01/04/2012

Any student educated at a UK university will be entitled to work under a Tier 2 visa provided the role pays at least £20k (or higher in some cases)

Any student educated outside the UK will be entitled to work under a Tier 2 visa provided the role pays as above, and the Resident Labour Market Test is satisfied (ie the role has been advertised and no UK/EU person can be found to do it.)

The Tier 2 visa is obtained from the UK Borders Agency, and the Employer issues a Certificate of Sponsorship which lasts 3 years, can be renewed for a further 2, and then the student can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

There is no limit to the number of Certificates of Sponsorship an employer can offer to UK-educated students. For those educated outside the UK, there is currently a limit of 15,000 Certificates per month.

There is also a Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa which lasts 2 years and in issued to those under 30 from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Monaco, Japan and South Korea.

Most employers are unaware of the current rules.

What Is The Point in Interests on a CV

You know the very last bit on your CV? Those few lines – almost an afterthought – where you write something about your outside interests and achievements?

I’ve been taking a closer look at what you’ve been putting down, and wondering What Is The Point?
In a CV you should try to present as much useful information as possible about yourself within the confines of a couple of pages of A4. So when it gets to that very, very last bit, why do you let yourselves down? What possible positive message is conveyed by “going to the cinema” or “reading”?

I remember, as a teenager, being desperate to impress at the first dinner party I’d been invited to by the parents of my girlfriend. “All you need to do is talk sensibly about the topics on the front and back pages of the newspaper” advised a friendly Uncle. (And it worked: the parents took a shine to me, even if the girlfriend decided shortly after that she didn’t.) Maybe that’s why “current affairs” and “watching sport/football/cricket ”pops up regularly on CVs – more advice from friendly Uncles. But it’s not good enough now you’re not 15.

So please: try to think of the interests and achievements – last year in high school onwards – which really say something about you, and make you distinctive. How about the charity fundraising, the reading support, the new society you founded at Uni? The team sports you captained, the community group you led? You owe it to yourself…..


‘Internship’ seems to be the ubiquitous buzz word amongst undergraduate communities, no longer contained within the somewhat more daunting world of university finalists. It’s now hardly surprising to come across first year students seeking work experience for the summer. In fact, many companies only consider students eligible for internships if they have one more year of university remaining, automatically rejecting the thousands of graduates that descend upon the UK job market every year. With youth unemployment at an all time high, internships are increasingly more of a necessity than an advantage; the competition for placements is as fierce now as the standard first-job hunt was perhaps five years ago. So are internships still worth their weight?

It is still true that internships are a good way to transition from a student environment to a professional working one and certainly offer valuable insights into business operations or a particular industry. In addition, an intern can gain new contacts, have a great selling point for their CV and could potentially leave with an offer for a full-time, post-graduate position. They might even find themselves a mentor, learn how to network effectively and leave with tangible accomplishments that prove their contribution to the host organisation.

Interest in internships, however, has reached unprecedented levels. With more graduates striving to enter the UK work force every year, budget cuts and new legislations regarding unpaid internships, opportunities are increasingly limited. Students find themselves embarking on a recruitment process almost identical to that for first-time permanent positions. The Guardian reported in November 2011 that, so far gone are the days when interns were reimbursed for lunch and travel, companies are now charging students for their months’ experience. It also revealed that selling internships had become a business in itself; the Tories last year auctioned off internships at City hedge funds. This in turn was seen as harmful to social mobility since ambitious students from poorer backgrounds could not afford to buy their way onto the career ladder.

Is it really reasonable for employees to make unpaid work experience during or after university a prerequisite for future employees? With escalating debts and living costs, many students use the summer and Christmas holidays for paid work that has no direct bearing on their future careers. In fact, the vast majority of students won’t have figured out the path of their professional life by the age of 20, and so hold off on applying until they have a better idea of what they might do. That can be a risky gamble in itself; once you’ve missed the internship boat, it’s harder to climb aboard once you graduate. One might think that leaves the option of graduate schemes. Not necessarily so. Big employers that offer the best grad schemes will often require prior experience as well as the usual 2.1 degree from a good university. For those who revert back to grad schemes a few years out of university could find that their irrelevant experience can be held against them for not showing the right kind of ‘commitment’ and ‘enthusiasm’.

Internships used to be a great way to research a potential profession or to try your hand at something new. But now the emphasis seems to be on ‘what prior experience do you have?’ Where should companies draw the line? How early are students now expected to start considering their careers? How will this coupled with the current economic climate shape the future of internships and their merits?

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