Faking it 

Day two of my course began with not being able to get a parking bay in the row that was allocated to those with visitor permits. I did, however, manage to find one elsewhere in the carpark, just under a bright yellow sign that threatened to wheel clamp vehicles that were not displaying permits. I wondered whether my temporary vister bay permit stretched to the other bays in the carpark which were not allocated to staff.

There was a lovely young lady at reception  who assured me that I would, ‘probably be OK because there was another course on today.’ I have to admit, I had a little difficulty following her logic, but as she had told me I would be OK, I just went with that and headed into the room.

Today, we had been told we would be completing an exercise where in small groups, we would each take the role of a Minister in a portfolio, each of whom was trying to get their hands on funding for a program to support their department’s objectives. The total amount in the pot was $30M. There were five ministers and in the spirit of things we had all chosen portfolios about which we knew little or nothing. For some reason, that completely escapes me now, I had chosen Corrective Services. I know nothing about prisons or how they run, but I suspected that neither did anyone else, so I could probably get away with a bit of bluffery.

My cunning plan, having completed the required reading for Day One of the course last night, was to do the research to provide back up for my presentation today in the half hour preparation time we were told we would be given before we had to start the activity. I had a rough idea of what I wanted to say and had also had a quick look at a couple of websites and made some notes about which pages might provide a good place to start.

My plan to get in early to do that research was thwarted by traffic and the whole parking permit thing. My plan to use the allotted time to do the work was also somewhat thwarted when the facilitator announced we were running a little late and as most people were prepped and ready to go, we had ten minutes.

In haste, I scratched a graph to illustrate recidivism in WA which was bucking the national trend and made a couple of notes on prison populations. Then we started.

I have to admit my fellow students’ work put me to shame. They had really done some research and all had detailed notes. One woman had even done three pages of typed submission with a goddamn cover sheet.

As we went around the table, the amount of budget each was pitching for varied. I decided to go for $10M. It sounded like a reasonable amount to get the program funded but not too greedy. I built into the presention the idea of leveraging off exisiting infrastructure amd local knowledge, then pitched a program proposal to take early offenders out of corrective institutions and into a different pathway.

Ms Coversheet went for the entire $30M pot. I felt bad because she had done a lot of work, but I managed to flick a couple of holes in her argument. To be honest, it was not hard as we were all working with hypotheticals and no one knew all the answers to the questions, including me. With little or no research to fall back on, the only advantage I had was experience in improvisation and a terrifying ability to deliver complete balderdash with utter confidence.

Of course this was a role play activity and has no assessment weighting. I will not get away with this kind of behaviour when the first assignment is due in a week and a half. It is only 1500 words – three blog posts – but will need to include a position delivering critical analysis and research with citations to back up its points.

For now though, I am just about keeping my head above water. And I got my $10 million.

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