Training Academy




On 16th October 2000, thirty people of varying ages and backgrounds were recruited into the newly formed TD Training Academy in Southend to train as IT developers - application software programmers - for 6 months.  2/3 of these were completely raw recruits to the department - the 'Externals'.  The rest of us were 'Internals' - all experienced in the ways of the dept for many years. We were the first.  We were the groundbreakers.  We were the guinea pigs.  Most have gone on to teams in search of success, fame and fortune  - some have not.  Far too long and distressing to tell in full, this is 'The Tale of the Internals' as we pose the question - Where are they now?

Key to terms

ACC    -    Absolute Chaos Caused
BATS    -    Barely Able To Stand
CRTI    -    Crawl Round Table Inebriated
CUPID    -    Can't Understand Plan, Intention or Design
EDCS    -    Every Day Causes Screaming
FASD    -    Free Acid Stops Desertion
LSDM    -    Last Slave Died of Mismanagement
NFA    -    No Fixed Abode
PPHT    -    Perhaps Phil Has Talent
RMIS    -    Really Must show Interest Sometime



And so it begins.....A photo call for the official Academy intranet web page.  Don't blame me for the picture quality, it's not my fault.   If I'd known about this I would have worn a tie  like I did the first day - honest.  It's only day 2 and Phil already looks bored out of his mind - a sure sign of things to come....!


It's nearly Christmas - parties, meals, drinking - hurrah!  Everyone else stayed in washing their hair but Eleanor, Karin, Richard & I went out and had a jolly good laugh at the HQ Party.  Don't know what perfume she had on but Karin's neck tasted really nice & Richard just giggled inanely the whole night!  Karin & Richard now keep everyone in their EDCS project team amused with their old married couple routine - or is it Abbott & Costello.

Jim & Phil at the Academy Christmas meal discuss weighty matters like how does a Visual Basic 'For Next' loop work & what on Earth has Bola got on her head?  At least it seems to be keeping her warm, she's not shivering all over for a change.  Bola has since emigrated to RMIS in the warmer climes of smog laden London and the last I heard Jim was supplementing his meager civil service wage as a Robert Plant impersonator (non-singing thankfully!)


Helen ducks to avoid a low flying mince pie thrown by someone who either wanted her to stop discussing her offspring's bowel movements in graphic detail or stop talking to herself.  Or it could all just have been in her imagination - you never could tell with Helen.  She is now impressing BATS team members with her impressive solo conversation techniques.   

Amita & Jo look suitably impressed with Phil's 'Secret Santa' present.  If he could just master VB like he had mastered his drinking hat then he could give Bill Gates a run for his money.  Phil has now worked briefly in just about every team not previously mentioned, plus some others I've never heard of.  One more move and he'll qualify for his very own mobile desk with integral recycling centre - Go Phil.... 


Richard did such a good impression of a very likeable person with little or no brain that he managed to keep the whole Academy fooled for the entire six months.  In actual fact he is a computer genius now working for Microsoft and is the mastermind behind their revolutionary future operating system based on a pair of micro semi-conducting unwashed thermal socks. 


Lana, or Lola, or Barbie, or whatever name she is going by now was the first to call it a day and bail out.  It was a gutsy move and we were all impressed as well as very sad to see her go.  Leaving do attendees had to comply with a strict dress code and here Lana & Anna demonstrate 'Pretty in Pink' as the order of the day.  Lana is now in the LSDM team in charge of yellow sticky labels and Anna is keeping Eleanor under control in CRTI.    


Yet another example of how alcohol can loosen your tongue.  I guess Karin must have lent Eleanor some of her Christmas Party perfume which Phil found as irresistible as I did.  Richard is still keeping up his 'Tim Nice but Dim' routine like the true professional he is.  Luckily, Eleanor did finally escape their clutches and made it safely to the CRTI team.  In her spare time she enjoys wing-walking and glider dog fighting. 


A rare picture of Ang sees her on prefect duty with Richard & Anna at the 'Externals' half term tea party.  A rowdy lot, they couldn't be trusted in public without proper supervision.  Being a responsible adult, Ang usually had much more important matters to attend to than hanging around with us but she was drafted in especially to take charge of this high profile event.  With her background in security Ang is now in BATS as Helen's personal bodyguard.


Ever camera shy, Karin tries to avoid being in the picture but with me behind the camera she's got no chance.  A rare view of the Training Academy office shows it's most popular feature - large windows.  Despite a poor view, gazing out of them for hours was a regular pastime for those of us who would much rather have been elsewhere.  It's a good job they didn't open very wide as I'm sure I wasn't alone in entertaining thoughts of diving out and letting the concrete below put us out of our misery!


Would you look at the state of this.  Being the obvious centre of the universe, Southend HQ staff naturally tend to view the 'Outfield' as the back of beyond and those that work in it to be country bumpkins.  At my leaving do I ably demonstrate that it's all completely true and that us yokels are much happier digging up turnips in a ploughed field than sitting behind a desk in a smart office.  I have now been issued with my very own tractor & wellies at FASD.  "This week I 'ave been mostly searching lorries."  


As far as I am concerned, Blondeness is next to Goddessliness and what better way to experience it than with 3 of my favourite Blonde Essex Babes - Eleanor, Anna & Lana.  I'd like to think they got this close to me because they actually liked me but more likely they were bribed by Phil to make me feel better about having to go home to Dover and leave them all behind. 


My last night in Southend was a depraved, drunken, lawless affair culminating in us all getting thrown out of the local Help the Aged Whist drive for inciting a riot.  Before that however we enjoyed a meal out and I was awarded with a complimentary Training Academy survivors medal  and a 'Goodbye & good riddance' plaque.  Everyone looked very happy, probably because they were relieved to finally see the back of me!  Honorary extra attendees were Naughty Nick Vic & Arsenal Alex - Go on The Gunners. 


Home page