A song created word for word by a dream…

I have amazing dreams they often have a clear narrative, they’re colourful, and occasionally the effects are better than what I’ve seen on tv.

But this dream was unusual. And I wonder if the reader has experienced something similar?

I dreamed the scene opened on a female avatar in a gorgeous video game. She was on an overlook, the scene had every colour you can find in a Southern New Zealand landscape. It was beautiful. She was up high, I could only see the back of her, but she was looking at  road winding into shadows below. She started to sing to the road.

What was strange was her words were clear, articulate and organised,  that part of myself that watches my dreams, me,  was taken back. And though still asleep I become conscious. I let the song play out and fought my way out of my dreamstate so I could record the tune into my mobile and sketch down the words.

I didn’t capture it all, I remember the first and last chorus and verses but couldn’t remember what fell in the middle.

But here is a couple of the choruses and one of the verses… as sung by my dream self:

(Chorus:)
remind me, remind me, remind me, what I know
the path I walk is who I’ll be
and push ahead I go

Maybe our steps won’t last forever
for all things come to a still
but each step if truth it tracks
then the echo of them will

(Chorus:)
remind me, remind me, remind me, nothing is gone
all things imprint on the road
and it goes on and on”

 

Test-Ed and Good to Go…

WHAT I DO
My organisation; Test-Ed transforms young people between 18-24 so that they break through perceived limitations to learning and get employed in their dream careers.
testedFairfaxAteam
 
DOES IT REALLY WORK?
These young people I’m training get their first jobs making over $60K without University degrees, no debt and taking no more than 16 weeks. Here are some examples…
 
Malcolm
When I first met Malcolm, he had just spent two and half years of unpaid laboring work, because his family and disability service provider didn’t believe he was capable of more. Malcolm has mild autistic spectrum and a lifelong dream of working in IT. Out of fear of discouragement, he kept his dream hidden from his family including his studying at TAFE and completing Certificates 2 and 3 in Digital Media and IT. After completing his training, today he works as a Quality Engineer doing automation testing in APIs and UI for Qantas. A few weeks ago he shared with me that if it wasn’t for our training program, he would have committed suicide. That what made a world of difference for him was for the first time being recognised and treated as intelligent. His family is proud of him now.
 
John
John came from two generations of parents who had never held down a full-time job. He was different, he wanted to a job and he wanted it in IT. He was extremely shy and work placement programs put him into factory labour, believing that would be the level of his capability. He’d keep his head down when he spoke and because he wouldn’t look at you, the IT support role that he wanted was considered out of the question, by educational and recruitment professionals around him. I offered him the chance to learn how to communicate before his working day began and he left his home at 5.30 am in the mornings to come to be coached in handling people and technical issues. One week after his training with me, he landed a full-time technical support job with Tyro Payments. The ‘professionals’ were speechless.
 
Brendan
Brendan (like so many in school) was bullied, had anxiety issues and attempted suicide as a youth. With the help of a friend, he turned himself around and later came across our program at Test-Ed. He had always loved everything to do with computers, coding, testing for the unknown and found that our methods for learning really worked for him. Today he’s got a full-time job working for Fairfax Digital as a Test Automation engineer.
 
WHY DOES IT WORK?
I and other switched on recruitment professionals know that Australia and New Zealand does not have a youth unemployment problem. What we do have is a youth unemployable problem!
 
I believe that problem has come about because of a mismatch between education and the market. Our education system was designed in the industrial revolution around a factory process framework. On top of that, the current business models of Higher Education have revenue streams that are based on course duration; i.e. the longer a student stays the more they pay so there is no incentive to pare back bloated or irrelevant content.
 
Test-Ed challenges the status quo of what it means to be educated – particularly around higher education. Our new education model involves training unemployed youth, (usually marginalised), in Code, Test and Enterprise skills for various software development related roles in High Tech’ companies.

enterpriseskills2

 
And we train them for free for 12-16 weeks. Our graduates have competed and secured roles usually reserved only for degree qualified candidates in major companies like Suncorp, Fairfax Digital, Tyro and others. And we’ve placed these trainees in roles within 1-4 weeks of completing their training. How many universities can claim that?
 
What if, all young people could spend considerably less time in University, be better skilled, little to no debt and get a job a few weeks after course completion?
 
I care and others care too, Atlassian, ex-Googlers, Fairfax Media, Suncorp, SafetyCulture, Tyro Payments, Testing Times (See community page of https://test-ed.com.au.) Industry professionals from these companies train and coach our youth in their technical, enterprise and quality engineering skills or trial them for jobs in their organisation.
And you can join this community of supporters too and help us build momentum. Our plan is to scale up and train 60 plus young people this year and 180 plus next year. If you are inspired and want to be part of the community, I want to connect with you. Help me provide an alternative path to young people to jobs in high calibre companies without entering into debt, wasting time and bring value to their IT community.
 
HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED
We need companies trialing our trainee graduates for roles. Suncorp gave us a go and was astounded. They ranked my graduates on their internship trials as outperforming the university grads they hosted at the same time. These young people could skip Suncorp’s graduate entry program, saving Suncorp months of training and upskilling time. They offered half of our trainees roles in their organisation.
 
TEST-ED AND GOOD TO GO
Understand companies hire our trainees not out of charity but because they have hard to find skills both in code, quality engineering, and enterprise skills.
 
Our young trainees are worthy of help as they bring value to the young and growing IT community – the Start-Ups. Test-Ed trains these young unemployed Australians for free, but they, in turn, provide free test and coding services for the IT Start-Up community thus helping Sydney’s young IT sector grow and hence making more jobs available for others in the future.
 
ITecosystem
In the process, the IT Start-Up community provides a wonderful learning environment since Start-ups have no time, no patience, no money, no administration, continually changing. That means trainees learn in a state of chaos. Perfect. It provides real-world challenges in enterprise skills and firsthand experience in running projects end to end; client meetings, analysing business requirements, specifying and designing solutions, coding, testing, support and finally reporting. 
 
Placement fees from mature companies provide us the ability to continue to train and provide free training to the youth to support these IT start-ups. As do profits from our commercial training courses.
 
Let’s repeat that Test-Ed not only provides free training to the youth but helps Startups grow. As they grow they employ more people, hence they make more jobs. Our youth so far have exposed security breaches that would allow an entire database to be downloaded of client tax information, safeguarded a job portals revenue stream by identifying the disengagement problems of their users, identified serious issues in a game that overheated phones, discovered how to gamify an app to get free money, did an Accessibility project that should have taken 4 weeks in 4 days for Australia’s oldest newspaper chain…
 
Test-Ed trainees bring value.
 
WHY WE DO IT
The ‘why’ behind the passion I and others I include in my community do what we do, is in our core beliefs:
 
We believe in a debt-free education for youth. When you put young people into long-term debt you put a millstone around their neck and the family that supports them.
 
 • We believe ‘Limitation’ is not an impediment to placing youth into IT jobs historically belonging to degree-qualified only. We make that point by training the ‘least’ in a community; those impacted by poverty, abuse or attitudes of prejudice to disprove outdated methodologies and attitudes current in higher education.
 
 • We believe in relevant intelligent education. We accelerate students into the IT job market by active engagement in the start-up IT community, the wider IT market and training the young people in relevant, current skills.
 
 • We believe that humans learn and work best as part of a community. We’ve seen youth benefit from adding value to the IT Start-Up community, by creating personal connections, first-hand experience, pride in work well-done and understanding how businesses work.
 
 • We believe that people are happier when they get to work out what roles fit them best. We’ve seen that many real-world insights and varied experiences are required for youth to find the career that best fits their talents, passion, and nature. When people are in the roles that match their nature, skills, and talent – they are happy. Happy people equals happy communities.
 
 • We believe in the need for the ability to play well with others. We’ve seen that frequent opportunities to practice soft skills need to be integral in youth education in order to meet the challenges of the future economy. 
 
WHAT AM I DOING NEXT
By the end of 2019, I want to have trained 240 young people AND put them into work. If you want to disrupt how we educate young people, for the better, connect with me on ckarena@test-ed.com.au.

“Our time is running out”

indigenous-art-gallery-exhibition

I want to share something it was said by David Mowaljarlai, Ngarinyin Lawman. (Australian Elder) I kept a transcript of his talk from some 20 years ago.

I hope it’s not dry or unrelated to you the reader.  I think through the sharing of other cultures you will see more clearly your own, and how much the past is repeating today.

 David’s people set up a Bush university in Australia for people to learn directly from them, these are the words he’s spoke introducing the school.

We old people in the Law, there’s not many of us left now. We’re all dying off, or been killed off by alcohol and disease and heartbreak because we’re still not in our country, our proper place.

 Our gift will give you your meaning, your belonging.  We have to give it to your now before the time runs out.  For a long, long time we have been trying to give our gift to you but we are always blocked.

 We’re blocked by media because they don’t know how to talk to us.  We’re blocked by university people because they lock up our knowledge.  All our evidence has been locked up in universities and museums.  Doctoral people write down our evidence in languages that are too hard for anybody to understand.  They’ve written it up so that the meaning is lost.  Our gift is not just systems on paper.  It is the experience of life. 

 We’re blocked by politicians who are frightened we might lock them out of their power over us.  Their fear stops them from listening to us properly, Lawmen to Lawmen.

 We’re blocked by Gardia law because the rules of law shut up our mouths and only let us speak through Gardia lawyers in courtrooms in cities.  Our gift is lost this way because lawyers have to obey Gardia thinking. 

 We’re blocked by Gardia economic development because their mineral wealth is in our country and they don’t want to be stopped from getting it out.  And pastoralists who let their cattle run all over our sacred space, cutting up the country with their hooves, spoiling our sacred waters, killing off our animals, our totems, our identity.  This cattle mob block us from our Law sites, our paintings, where we camp and do our ceremony.  They take Gardia tourists to our sites without our permission  – without knowing sacred meaning.

 We old people want to tell you this.  We want to give your our gift so you can belong properly in this country and not be afraid.  We want you to fill up your emptiness with meaning so you can respect us and our country.  We’ve been trying for a long time. This is what we want to before our time is up.

 We want to teach our young people their meaning, their belonging so they stop getting lost to emptiness and alcohol.  We want to teach Gardia young people so they stop killing themselves and getting lost too.

 We want to teach all Australians about their belonging in this country so they stop destroying their meaning before it its too late. They’re ignorant of what they’re doing because they don’t know.  They can’t understand how to relate to land, and how land looks after them if they don’t learn these things.  We want to teach them that respect.

 We want to leave you our heritage.  Not in university papers that nobody reads or understands.  We want to teach you in our country so you experience what we know.

 We can’t do this while Gardia keep making laws and protests and arguments to keep us out of our proper place. They just run us out of time doing this.  We know what we want to do, and we know we have to start our important work now before its too late and we’re dead gone.  Everybody will suffer, really suffer if we die before we can give you our gift…….

 We Ngarinyin have a vision for our country and it is our gift.  Bush university is one of the big ideas we want to start. 

 Already we have filmed a lot of our sacred places and our ceremony so after we’re gone our children and you have that evidence.  We have already started taking people from the cities and overseas into our country for them to get their meaning. 

 We want to develop our own communications station in our country so everybody can talk to us directly, not through somebody else.  There are people in American, and Germany and Canada trying to contact us to learn from us.  We want to teach them.

 Our story is being written up in art. This is starting to go out to all the world. We’ve been broadcasting our radio for everyone to hear. We’re speaking at places where Gardia come to listen at seminars and conferences.  We’re talking everywhere to tell people about Ngarinyin culture, Ngarinyin stories, Ngarinyin meaning.  Gardia are really enjoying filling up with these stories.

 We’re doing all this so we can start up our Bush University.  White people are crying out to learn about our culture, and we cry because we’re blocked from teaching.

 …The country is not going anywhere.  The minerals are not going anywhere.  The paintings are not going anywhere. There’s plenty of time left for them.  Only we are going somewhere.  Our time is running out.

Response to a racist troll…

Context: Response made to a British white supremacist justifying genocide and theft of indigenous land.

The idea that all human beings were into conquering and killing is one of the things that White Supremacists have used to justify genocide, rape, and massive theft. And I’m guessing any supremacist of any colour would feel the same; saying that it’s human nature, I say; they say that to justify their own traits of greed and pride.

You can glory in the genocide of the millions of deaths that the British were responsible for, but much of the early deaths were due to the disease that he spread, often deliberately, more than his capability at war. At War the British when it came to the Maori were cowards.

Primarily the British went into battle with the Maori outnumbering them three to one. But they died usually 50 Brits to 1 Maori. It was a complete shock to their idea of White superiority.

Here are some of the causality lists as a result of battles between the British and Maori:

Battle of Puketekauere/Onukukaitara just outside Waitara Taranaki
Approx. 400 British troop’s v 130 Maori.
British losses = 60+ dead – Maori losses = 5 dead

Battle of Te Ngutu o Te Manu west of Normanby Taranaki
Approx. 360 British troops v 60 Maori
British losses = 50+ dead – Maori losses= 3 dead

Battle of Moturoa north of Wanganui
Approx. 400 British troops’ v 150 Maori
British losses 50+ dead – Maori 1 dead

Battle of Gate Pa just outside Tauranga
Approx. 1700 British troops’ v approx. 230 Maori
British losses over 100 dead – Maori losses believed to be 15 dead

The list of battles could go on and on with only a few occasions where the British fared better than Maori.

Maori beat those with ‘superior’ weaponry with smarter tactics, intelligence based on research and a greater understanding of the human nature at that time. Head-to-head, was the British ‘better at war’ against the Maori? Obviously not.

Am I suggesting the Maori are a ‘superior’ race? No, I’m not. There’s only one race; Human and Maori contain the flaws and virtues of the collective state of being human. Some Maori tribes like those in the South and Chatham islands are incredibly peaceful ready to die rather than shed human blood, some were once warlike but changed to become world trailblazers in peaceful movements like Parihaka (which later influenced Gandhi and King), some were incredibly brutal in war, some compassionate; feeding and caring for the British wounded even after the most bloody of battles and some tribes were led by land and glory seeking assholes.

But in your case, anyone HUMAN would not glory in the genocide of other humans as a badge of honour. That’s mainly about being an ignorant dickhead.

A wonderful gift from Prodigy Pictures

I came home yesterday and I was surprised and excited to see a small white package waiting for me, all the way from Canada. It was from Prodigy Pictures the producer of the Dark Matter science fiction show, that was shockingly canceled in Firefly fashion, well before it’s run was complete.

(Canada! Do you know how very far away that is? Really really far, so far they live one day in the past. That’s far!)

I had written a couple of letters to them, online and I’d sent hard copies by snail mail.  Prodigy instead of trashing or selling props they were generously giving them away to fans. They sent me back a signed Dark Matter t-shirt, a medal off Six’s chest and this lovely letter.

 

It really came at the right time. In one of those letters was part of a song, I had written for an online friend Claire, I’d known for many years first meeting her on the paranormal board for the X-Files. Last week I had to make a sudden and unexpected trip to Alameda California, from Sydney, Australia where I live. Claire was on life-support, she was suffering complications from colon cancer and was expected to pass away at any time.

I made my first, last and only visit and was surprised that the family held off taking her off life support until I arrived. I was moved and humbled that no one questioned the depth of friendship we had formed over the years.  I said my goodbyes stroking her hair until she passed away.

In one of the letters to Prodigy, I shared this verse, because Claire epitomized so many of the relationships of ‘unseen’ friends I’ve made online:

“Sometimes, I admit I wonder at the words upon the screen
How just mere words can bind us, with faces still unseen
But few we trust to share with, those words we will not say
So quiet in the night we write and give our hearts away.”

It’s been a week now and I’m past that first raw stage of grief, but my chest still hurts and I cry easily.

So when this gift arrived, a gift from that wonderful, silly, fun, creative joyous greater community of sci-fi geeks where I found Claire and so many other wonderful people. And I get a gift that’s being celebrated now by more online friends of another wonderful show, I don’t why…but for me, it just felt like a gift from the Universe.

How very wonderful it is to be part of a human community that forms wonderful connections through art, film, and writing.

#DarkMatter, #ProdigyPictures @ProdPics

 

My thought for the day…

This is a piece of silliness that went through my head, whilst I was lying stretched out on my bed this morning waiting for my armpits to dry from this new roll-on deodorant (Christmas present to myself, it’s expensive but it’s one of those rare deodorants that doesn’t contain cancer-forming aluminum.)

Here’s the first part of the thought; Why don’t all women get PSTD from childbirth?

I mean it’s friggin extreme pain? The experience can include; sadistic doctors hoisting your legs up in stirrups, which works fine for them,  but intensifies pain for women and promotes back injury. A bunch of strangers looking at your privates. I’ve heard of women being slapped by nurses or doctors and yelled at for being ‘wimps’, ‘silly’ or ’emotional’. Lower abdomens being sliced and spread apart, induction that brings on rapid and violent birth. A lot of blood, poo, and pee. Plus pain that can go on for hours. So you know? Why don’t women get massive PSTD from childbirth?

Now I hear a lot of women have a much better go of it these days, depending on where they live than some of the experiences of above. Even some new-age type experiences that have put them on a cosmic connected high.

But still, for most, it doesn’t. Does it?
And if it doesn’t, the second part to my thought is; can we learn from the experiences of women who have had ugly birth experiences and not experienced PSTD and apply that lesson to other life circumstances?