Today I found myself wearing a badge. So far, not particularly unusual, as I go to quite a few conferences in the course of a year. However, this occasion was different in that my badge had the word 'trainer' printed on it. I like to think of myself as being quite versatile, but training is not one of my obvious talents.
So why today? English Candidates Committee launched its new training session for new policy assessors, a role which has been very much a minority pastime recently. The problem we have is that many of the people with the skills required to test others on policy knowledge, are the same people who want to be candidates themselves, thus ruling them out of consideration. Accordingly, our policy assessors tend to be more mature and have other commitments, so are not always available.
So, under the baton of our Chair, Dawn Davidson and Christian Moon, head of the Party's Policy Unit, and with the support of Rob Blackie and myself, we trained nine potential policy assessors in the art of testing individuals with varied levels of policy knowledge. It was a particularly fascinating experience for me, as I've never actually seen a policy interview carried out, nor had I seen the policy multiple choice test that forms part of the process, as I'm always occupied with other elements of a development day whilst they are run.
What surprised me, as someone who has never thought of himself as terribly hot on policy (I'm seldom in the hall for conference debates as I'm engaged in bureaucrat-type stuff), was how much I actually knew. The potential assessors were put to the test, and Dawn and I were 'encouraged' to join in. Imagine my surprise at scoring a maximum twenty out of twenty... although I did drop two out of ten marks when sitting the European test that followed.
I even think that I wouldn't disgrace myself in the more free form interview that normally follows, although I somehow doubt my viability as an actual prospective Parliamentary candidate.
The day itself was, I think, a success, and I look forward to meeting our new policy assessors at development days in the future...