Inventor Rex is invited to ‘inspire’ council workers

SUFFOLK: He has inspired generations of youngsters to take a fresh look at science and engineering – but now inventor Rex Garrod is being asked to inspire Suffolk’s council staff to look at their roles differently.

The all-round Suffolk eccentric is due to speak to county employees next week as part of a seminar on fostering the entrepreneurial spirit at Endeavour House.

He will be joined by self-made millionaire Jay Cousins and BT Futurist Ian Neild at the seminar on how to do things differently at the cash-strapped council.

But his appearance has provoked concern from some quarters, with one leading councillor labelling the seminar “pointless fun”.

Mr Garrod – who built much of the set for the Teletubbies, children’s TV car Brum and Robot Wars champion Cassius – is a regular visitor to schools.

But now he is preparing to bring his message on science and engineering to an older audience. “I’ll start off by waking them up,” he said. “I expect I shall bring along some of my experiments to show them how to look at things rather differently – one of the things I do is pass round a packet of crisps and then when the packet is empty I show how it can be turned into a basic loudspeaker.”

However, county opposition leader Kathy Pollard said she could not understand the purpose of such a seminar – especially at a time when money was very tight. If there is training specifically on saving budgets or working in a more productive way then that would be very useful.

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“But I don’t see what the point of this kind of event is – it seems just a bit of pointless fun and that isn’t what we need at the moment,” she said.

A county council spokesman defended the seminar, claiming the three “inspirational speakers” would encourage county council staff to think about and plan their work “more creatively”.

The spokesman added: “They are successful entrepreneurs who will be engaging with staff to share their respective approaches to formulating and implementing new ideas.

“The county council is committed to reduce overall costs by transforming services – to achieve that we need innovative and imaginative staff.”

n Are schemes like this a good use of public money? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk