|Mann from Cambodia writes:|
|Would you please tell me the different usage of the terms: teacher, trainer, instructor, lecturer, professor? Thank you in advance.|
|Roger Woodham replies:|
Teacher is the general term for someone whose job it is to teach:
I'd like to go into teaching and get a job as a teacher in an inner city primary or secondary school. Teaching assistants can only ever support the classroom teacher; they can never replace him.Tutor
We sometimes use the word tutor instead of teacher to describe somebody who gives personal or private lessons:
My son wasn't making much progress in school, so I hired a maths tutor to supply him private lessons after school.If you are enrolled as a student in a British university, you will have a personal tutor who provides you with close support throughout your studies and with whom you will have tutorials to discuss aspects of the subject being studied:
There are just six students in my tutorial group and we had a very interesting tutorial on global warming and climate change last week. On all quality distance learning schemes, face-to-face support from trained tutors is essential.Lecturer
A lecturer is someone who gives a lecture or formal presentation, particularly at a college or university
Dr Gradgrind is our lecturer on the Victorian novel and the course will be taught through a series of lectures and seminars.Note that a seminar at a college or university is a class for a small group of students to discuss the subject with the lecturer. Professor
In the UK, professor is a university teacher of the highest rank in a subject area:
Professor Stephen Hawking, Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, is one of the most formidable intellects ever to theorise on the origins of the universe.The first step in an academic carrier is usually lecturer, then senior lecturer, then reader, then eventually perhaps professor. Note that in the US, a professor is a full-time teacher at university. A teacher at secondary school or high school or junior college is never a professor. Instructor
In British English, an instructor teaches you on how to learn or Improve in a particular skill or sport:
If you want to learn how to drive, you will need a driving instructor. If you want to learn how to fly, you will require a flying instructor. If you intend to ski this winter on the higher slopes, you'll need a ski instructor.In the US, an instructor is a university teacher below the rank of assistant professor. Coach
A coach is someone who trains individual sports players or a team. The examples below are taken from tennis and football:
Tim Henman, Britain's No 1, has a new coach, Paul Anacone, who worked with Pete Sampras for six years. Paul Bracewell, national coach with the England youth teams for the past two years, has resigned.Trainer
A trainer can be someone who trains people for a particular job or profession or who trains someone in certain varieties of sport.
In-service teacher trainers are in very great demand here as there is no pre-service training for teachers. If you can get Kevin as your personal fitness trainer, you'll work on a wide range of strategies and techniques.
In an effort to offer mental health support to the community after the hurricane, Vibe Yoga is offering registered yoga teacher training sessions in December and January:
• Dec. 17-18: Hybrid Trauma-informed Yoga Teacher Training
• Jan. 16 – April 2023: Hybrid 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training
The hybrid trauma-informed yoga teacher training will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 17 and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 18. Candidates for the trauma-informed yoga teacher training include yoga instructors, therapists and counselors, wellness coaches, breathwork professionals, school counselors, athletic department professionals (coaches, trainers) and educators who want to learn about helping trauma victims through yoga. Participants can receive 15 CEUs for Yoga Alliance.
“I can confidently say this is the best training I have ever taken in my life,” said Jenna Pastorella, who taught yoga at Florida Gulf Coast University, where she recently graduated, and now teaches at Vibe Monday at 6 p.m. and every other Saturday at 10 a.m. “Incredibly valuable, personally groundbreaking, and a tool I believe will make me a better teacher and human.”
Training subjects include an overview of regions of the brain, definition of trauma, symptoms and triggers of trauma, how trauma effects the brain, breakdown of the nervous system, polyvagal theory, creating a safe container, modifications and adaptations, trauma release exercises, creating an inner resource, and how yoga, meditation and breathwork help ease the effects of trauma.
“It was a great class. I loved it!” said Jonathan Ramirez Rivera, veteran service officer for Lee County Human and Veteran Services, who has attended Vibe’s trauma-informed yoga classes. “I suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. Yoga has definitely helped me calm my mind.”
Additionally, a 200-hour hybrid yoga teacher training course, offering both online and in-person instruction, begins Jan. 16.
Students in the course will follow an independent online module for 120 hours. Each week, the training outlines the modules to complete, and then the class meets via Zoom from 7 to 9 p.m. every Monday, excluding holidays.
Information and registration for both sessions is available at VibeYogaSWFL.com.
About Vibe Yoga
Vibe Yoga is a Fort Myers yoga studio at 13461 Parker Commons Blvd., Suite 204, geared towards making every person feel welcome and comfortable. Vibe Yoga offers a variety of classes, including restorative, gentle, chair, all levels, power, yin, restorative, chair yoga, Warriors at Ease (trauma-informed yoga) and more. Lindsay Smith, the owner of Vibe Yoga has instructors certified by Warriors at Ease to lead trauma-informed yoga, which is offered free to the military and first responders. For more information about Vibe Yoga, visit vibeyogaswfl.com, check out Facebook and Instagram pages @vibeyogaswfl, text 239-221-6195, or email VibeYogaSWFL@gmail.com.
Proper training can enable employees to approach situations with safety in mind.
If there was one positive takeaway from the COVID-19 pandemic, some would say it was businesses’ renewed commitment to safety and implementation of additional protocols that protect their employees. As facilities continue returning to normal operations, it’s imperative that organizations keep the momentum going and consider other areas in which they can strengthen their employee safety programs.
Electrical workers in particular face many hazards on the job, such as damaged tools and equipment, inadequate wiring and overloaded circuits, exposed electrical parts, damaged insulation and wet conditions and the most common OSHA electrical violation, improper grounding. However, few are more devastating than an arc flash, which is an electrical release of energy that can be hotter than the surface of the sun.
Though the nature of commercial industries and the type of equipment used can present dangerous situations, the reality is that many electrical injuries can be prevented if companies are committed to developing a strong electrical safety policy and training programs. To navigate today’s electrical safety requirements and build a proper electrical safety program, an organization must first ensure it has qualified workers that have received the proper in-depth training to complete electrical tasks safely, using the latest NFPA 70E standard as their guide.
Who is Considered a “Qualified Worker?”
The NFPA 70E standard defines who is considered a qualified worker so that there is no mistaking if an employee is equipped to perform specific electrical activities—and for good reason, considering the dangerous hazards that electrical tasks often entail. According to NFPA 70E 110.2(A)(1), “a qualified person shall be trained and knowledgeable in the construction and operation of equipment or a specific work method and be trained to identify and avoid the electrical hazards that might be present with respect to the equipment and work method.”
This article originally appeared in the December 1, 2022 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.
In case you missed it, OSHA recently initiated an enforcement program to identify employers who fail to electronically submit Form 300A recordkeeping data to the agency. When it comes to OSHA recordkeeping, there are always questions regarding the requirements and ins and outs. This guide is here to help! We’ll explain reporting, recording, and online reporting requirements in detail.
If your organization has experienced an incident resulting in a fatality, injury, illness, environmental exposure, property damage, or even a quality issue, it’s important to perform an incident investigation to determine how this happened and learn what you can do to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps of performing an incident investigation.
Lone workers exist in every industry and include individuals such as contractors, self-employed people, and those who work off-site or outside normal hours. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies, inadequate rest and breaks, physical violence, and more. To learn more about lone worker risks and solutions, obtain this informative guide.
This guide includes details on how to conduct a thorough Job Hazard Analysis, and it's based directly on an OSHA publication for conducting JHAs. obtain the guide to learn how to identify potential hazards associated with each task of a job and set controls to mitigate hazard risks.
Without a proper incident investigation, it becomes difficult to take preventative measures and implement corrective actions. Watch this on-demand webinar for a step-by-step process of a basic incident investigation, how to document your incident investigation findings and analyze incident data, and more.
Skillsoft Corp. (NYSE:SKIL) Q3 2023 Earnings Call Transcript December 6, 2022
Operator: Hello, and welcome to the Skillsoft Third Quarter 2023 Financial Results Conference Call and Webcast. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. As a reminder, this conference is being recorded. It’s now my pleasure to turn the call over to Eric Boyer, Senior Vice President and Head of Investor Relations. Please go ahead, sir.
Eric Boyer: Good afternoon, and welcome to Skillsoft’s third quarter fiscal 2023 earnings call. After the market closed, we issued our Q3 earnings press release and posted supplemental materials to the Skillsoft Investor Relations website. Today’s call will contain forward-looking statements about the Company’s business outlook and expectations, including statements concerning financial and business trends, our expected future business and financial performance, financial condition and outlook. These forward-looking statements and all statements that are not historical facts reflect management’s beliefs and predictions as of today and therefore are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations.
For a discussion of the material risks and other important factors that could affect our actual results, please refer to the risks described in the Safe Harbor discussion found in the Company’s SEC filings. During the call, we will also discuss certain non-GAAP financial measures, which are not prepared in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. GAAP requires accounting periods before and after the merger and leaseback on June 11, 2021 to be separated the predecessor and successor periods to reflect the change in ownership and lack of comparability between periods due to different ownership and investment basis. In addition, Global Knowledge activity is only reflected in the GAAP financial statements after June 11. References on this call to pro forma results referred to our results that have been prepared and presented to reflect historical periods as of Skillsoft, Global Knowledge and Codecademy had merged on February 1, 2021.
A reconciliation of the non-GAAP financial measures, including today’s commentary and in the supplemental materials to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures as well as how we define these metrics and other metrics is included in our earnings press release, which has been furnished to the SEC and is also available on our website at www.skillsoft.com. After our prepared remarks, Jeff Tarr, CEO; and Rich Walker, CFO, will be available to take questions. With that, it’s my pleasure to turn the call over to Jeff.
Jeff Tarr: Thanks, Eric. Good afternoon, and thank you all for joining us. Today, I’ll provide some financial and operational commentary on the quarter and then turn the call over to Rich Walker to cover our financial results in detail. I’m very grateful that Rich has agreed to take on the CFO role. Rich has been involved in Skillsoft since before the company’s return to public markets, served as our Chief Strategy and Corporate Development Officer, and was previously the CFO of two public companies, including HIS, where we worked together. Before turning to the business, I also want to thank Gary Ferrera for his contributions to our company and his commitment to a smooth transition. Q3 results were in line with our expectations and we are pleased to reaffirm our full-year guidance.
Importantly, we successfully stabilized our Global Knowledge instructor-led training or ILT business, delivering 3% sequential bookings growth. While the segment was down year-over-year in the quarter due to reduced subsidies by one large partner, we’ve seen healthy growth in other products within the segment. With a new general manager with deep experience in instructor-led training reporting directly to me, we are cautiously optimistic in the potential to deliver continued progress. We also remain focused on integrating instructor-led training into relevant subscription offerings and continue to believe it can be a meaningful differentiator. Turning to our core Skillsoft Content segment. We believe the best way to look at bookings growth is on a trailing 12-month basis.
This metric was up 5% in constant currency, driven by customer wins and cross-sell and upsell success with large enterprises. That said, our Skillsoft Content business was down in the quarter due primarily to a downgrade by one account. Despite the general macro headwinds, we continue to expect solid growth in Q4, which generally represents approximately half of our subscription bookings. Finally, turning to Codecademy. As a reminder, we acquired the business earlier in the year to establish a leadership position in tech and dev, where Skills gaps are most acute. Codecademy is one of the strongest brands in tech and dev learning, and we are still early in realizing the potential of the acquisition. Codecademy bookings were up 6% and revenue was up 16% in constant currency.
We believe our revenue growth and traffic are outpacing other B2C competitors. We also continue to see early traction cross-selling Codecademy to our enterprise customers. It is important to note that we had a slow start to the quarter due to a promotion that depressed short-term results in return for longer term benefit and returned the business to double-digit bookings growth on a constant currency basis in October. We’ve learned a lot during our first two quarters since acquiring Codecademy that will help us achieve what we believe to be a substantial cross-sell opportunity. We are in discussions with more than 100 enterprise customers regarding Codecademy and have already cross sold the offering into some of the world’s largest and most recognizable brands in tech, retail, pharma and professional services.
Given the impact of currency exchange rates, wage inflation and slower economic growth, we’ve been relentlessly focused on managing our cost structure and I’m grateful to our team members for making numerous difficult decisions, doing more with less and shrinking our employee base through attrition, reductions in staffing, and a disciplined approach to hiring. We are fortunate to have an important base of operations in India that’s helped us manage our labor costs. Managing our costs will be an ongoing focus while continuing to make selective investments in growth. Overall, I’m optimistic about the future. We serve a large and growing market and an important purpose, propelling organizations and people to grow together through transformational learning experiences.
Through organic investment and acquisition, we’ve built a community of more than 80 million learners who we serve with a highly differentiated suite of capabilities. Our content covers leadership, business skills, technology skills and compliance. We leverage a wide array of modalities, including micro videos, hands-on-learning, assessments, coaching and mentoring, instructor-led training, and blockchain-enabled badges. We deliver our content through a flexible AI-driven learning experience platform, and we add additional value to our clients with a team of nearly 200 instructional design professionals and systems integrators. Together, we believe no one is better able to deliver on the complex workforce transformation needs of the world’s most demanding and sophisticated customers, including approximately 70% of the Fortune 1000.
In Q3, we continue to extend our tech and dev offerings with the release of our cloud career journey, which helps learners achieve proficiency in cloud platforms such as AWS and Azure with hands-on practice and instructor-led classes. The strength of our instructor-led training was recognized by AWS as their 2022 training partner of the year in North America. Similar recognition was awarded to Skillsoft by Nutanix, Palo Alto, Red Hat, VMware, and EC Council. We released new code of conduct training to the market, featuring 12 engaging scenarios that help our learners navigate the complexities of highly nuanced situations. And we released the first editions of our newly-refreshed business skills courses, featuring real-world perspectives from our leadership coaches in subjects such as problem solving, critical thinking and wellness.
These courses have been well received by learners with NPS in excess of 60 and are designed for the way people learn online. We continue to expand our local language coverage and have recently released an AI-powered automation caption capability that makes our content available in a dozen languages. We also continue to expand our assessments offering and add new and compelling courses to our content collection focused on helping our customers deliver under most important reskilling, upskilling and workforce transformation initiatives. As a result of these investments in content and platform, we are seeing strength in our most important learning metrics. At the end of Q3, on a year-over-year basis, monthly active users are up 23%, completed courses are up 19%, and badges issued are also up 19%.
We are encouraged by these strong positive trends and believe there are evidence that learners are embracing our unique science-based approach to reskilling and upskilling. Importantly, we are in the early innings of integrating our capabilities to create a new, more absorbing and connected way to learn online and are excited by the potential of what we are creating. We’ve also largely completed our go-to-market transformation. We’ve hired key talent, made investments and tools and technology, and realigned our salesforce to a coverage model that better enables cross-sell, upsell and acquiring new logos. We also redesigned compensation to drive higher levels of performance. This transformation was predictably disruptive, but now better positions us for future growth and value creation.
In Q3, some notable wins include two large U.S. government agencies, a large French energy company, a global hospitality leader, and a major media corporation. Finally, we are pleased to have released our first annual impact report entitled, Living Our Values, a Responsible Business for a Sustainable Future. This report serves as an important milestone in our ESG journey. During our first five quarters as a public company, we’ve made much progress transforming Skillsoft into a business that can deliver growth and margin expansion over the long-term. We acquired three businesses and divested another, have been executing a complex salesforce transformation and made important investments in content and platform. We’ve returned our Skillsoft Content segment to growth on an LTM basis and stabilized our Instructor-Led Training segment on a sequential basis.
Despite a challenging macro environment, we are entering our important Q4 and next year with confidence and look forward to updating you on our progress. And with that, I’ll turn it over to Rich.
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Rich Walker: Thanks, Jeff. Welcome, everyone. I just want to start by saying how excited I am to be able to take on the role of Chief Financial Officer. Gary has built a strong finance team, which I’ve been working with closely already, and this has made for a seamless transition. I will now begin with the summary of Q3 results before turning to our thoughts on the remainder of the year. The prior year comparisons will be presented on a pro forma basis as if Skillsoft, Global Knowledge and Codecademy had been merged and their fiscal quarters had been aligned to end on January 31, 2022. Additionally, due to the SumTotal divestiture, the pro forma comparisons exclude SumTotal for all periods. Before I get into the financials, I want to provide just a few high level thoughts on the Skillsoft financial model as it has gone through changes over the past year due to acquisitions and divestitures.
Skillsoft now has approximately 70% of its revenue from the content business, which is primarily subscription-based with a large portion that are multi-year contracts. This part of the business is the SaaS-like business with strong operating leverage and low capital intensity. The seasonality of the business remains largely the same, with approximately half of our content bookings in the fourth quarter. Therefore, looking at the business on a quarterly basis can be difficult. As such, we try to focus on the last 12-month trends as a more useful measure. The remaining 30% of the business is our Global Knowledge or Instructor-Led Training segment, which is transactional and lower margin. Over time, we expect the Content segment to grow more quickly, which should drive margin expansion.
Now moving on to the Q3 results. Bookings for the total company for the third quarter were $133 million, down 13% and down 9% on a constant currency basis, which is due largely to declines in our lower-margin transactional business and the downgrade of a large customer that Jeff referenced in his comments. We continue to believe our subscription content bookings are on pace to have a solid end to this year. Notably, as a result of our realignment efforts and incremental focus, our ILT bookings grew sequentially, both on a reported and a constant currency basis. Content bookings in the third quarter were $85 million, down 6% and down 4% in constant currency due to the aforementioned downgrade of one larger account. Due to the smaller contribution in our first three quarters, it does not take much to move our quarterly year-over-year growth rate in either direction.
On an LTM basis, content bookings growth was 5% in constant currency. In the third quarter, Codecademy bookings grew 6% on a constant currency basis and is included in the Content segment. We continue to make progress closing more enterprise deals in Q3 and are encouraged by the success in building our pipeline for this product. We would expect to report material progress in cross-sell bookings in the fourth quarter, which is our heaviest renewal period, and when we signed the bulk of cross-sell activity. Bookings for ILT in the third quarter were $48 million, down 23% and down 16% in constant currency. On a constant currency basis, the year-to-date decline was due primarily to changes in the training program with two large technology partners, one of which has recovered in the quarter.
We have also largely stabilized the sales efforts within our ILT business and expect the productivity of latest sales hires to continue to improve. Turning to revenue. GAAP revenue was $139 million in the quarter, down 8% and down 3% on a constant currency basis. We are no longer reporting adjusted gross revenue to conform with GAAP accounting, which is net of reseller fees. Reseller fees in the quarter were $7 million. GAAP revenue for the Skillsoft Content segment in Q3 was $98 million, which was flat and up 3% in constant currency. GAAP revenue growth for Codecademy, which is included in the Content segment, was up 12% and up 16% on a constant currency basis. Our quarterly DRR was 96%, and on an LTM basis it held steady at 98%. Q3 GAAP revenue for our ILT business was $41 million, down 22% and down 15% in constant currency.
The decline was due to lower prior quarter and in-quarter bookings as these bookings typically convert to revenue within two quarters. Moving on to profitability. As we’ve mentioned on previous calls when comparing adjusted EBITDA year-over-year, you need to also consider the increase in public company costs as we move through the first year as a public company. Accordingly, Q3 adjusted EBITDA was $28 million, down $6 million, a decrease of 15% compared to last year and down 8% in constant currency. Adjusted EBITDA margin for the quarter was 20.1%, down approximately 160 basis points from the prior year. Our GAAP net loss from continuing operations was $520 million for the quarter, which included an approximate $571 million impairment of goodwill and intangible costs.
Our adjusted net loss was $31 million for the quarter. Moving on to capital allocation. At the end of Q3, we ended the quarter with $175 million of cash on the balance sheet and pro forma net leverage of 4.6x, which includes the negative contribution of Codecademy for periods, which we did not own them. On a reported basis, net leverage was 4.1x. As previously mentioned, we closed the SumTotal transaction in mid-August. Net cash proceeds after all fees and other adjustments were approximately $175 million. We paid down $31 million of debt in the quarter. We also repurchased 645,000 shares. Our trading window was cut short due to information that has now been shared publicly. Moving forward, we expect to continuously weigh the benefits of reducing debt versus share repurchase based on market conditions.
We are reaffirming our prior outlook, however, as I mentioned earlier, we are moving to a GAAP revenue presentation to conform to GAAP accounting, not due to a change in the fundamentals of the business. As such, our GAAP revenue outlook is now $520 million to $550 million, and we are trending above the midpoint of the range. Our booking range remains $580 million to $615 million, our adjusted EBITDA range remains $105 million to $125 million, and we are trending towards the lower end of the range due primarily to revenue mix. With that, I’ll turn the call back over to Jeff.
Jeff Tarr: Thank you all for joining our call. While there is uncertainty in today’s operating environment, we believe our approach provides unique benefits to organizations and their employees. By optimizing our solutions for how people learn online and aligning with the strategies of our enterprise customers, we believe we are uniquely positioned to deliver on the upskilling, reskilling and workforce transformation needs of the most complex and demanding organizations. Operator, please open the call for questions.
Operator: Certainly, we will now be conducting a question-and-answer session. Our first question today is coming from Raimo Lenschow from Barclays. Your line is now live.
Sheldon McMeans: Hi. This is Sheldon McMeans on for Raimo. Thanks for taking our questions. I wanted to first ask about the core content business. This quarter was the first time in a while that we saw negative bookings growth here. You discussed a reduction in the quarter. And my question is, what gives you confidence that this is an isolated incident as you approach the large Q4 renewal period? And I have a follow-up.
Jeff Tarr: Sure. Thanks. As you pointed out, the quarter we feel was an anomaly. It was due to one large customer that was experiencing severe financial pressures and downgraded quite significantly their business with us. We really don’t have many accounts of this size, and we really don’t have any significant revenue concentration at all. So the loss of an account that is neighborhood 1% of revenue was a really unusual event. As we look at the quarter going forward, we’re one month into the quarter. We can see how large our pipeline is, how much business we’ve closed. We’ve closed approximately 60% of our quarter, and that’s ahead of where it was last year this time. So we feel really good about that. We feel really good about the pipeline. And so despite the fact that the economy is a little shaky, we feel good about how we’re keyed up for our most important quarter.
Sheldon McMeans: Got it. Thank you. And then second for Richard. First, congratulations on the new role. I wanted to ask just a broad question on how you feel your guidance philosophy is relative to previous. Is there any changes to call out there? Thanks.
Rich Walker: Thanks for the question and the remarks. I don’t have a different viewpoint in how we think about guidance. We only supply annual guidance. I think it’s so critically tied to how we finish our forward planning for the coming year. And that’s informed by how we finished the quarter, in this case, our fourth quarter. We are trying to make sure that when we guide, we’re giving consistent guiding metrics. I personally want to look at bookings and think if there’s not more relevant metrics, perhaps looking at total bookings, the lifetime value and then showing a backlog against that. But short of looking at bookings guidance, no change in philosophy at all.
Sheldon McMeans: Got it. Thank you.
Operator: Thank you. Next question today is coming from Tom Singlehurst from Citi. Your line is now live.
Thomas Singlehurst: Yes. Good evening. Thank you very much for taking the question. Yes, I suppose I wanted to go back to that. You’re very clear about the driver of that one account, sensitivity to the cycle. I was just wondering whether you can talk to that, whether there’s any difference in outlook for smaller companies versus larger ones, international versus U.S. Any color on, as I say, sort of your perspectives around sort of broad cyclicality? You can start with that, and I have a quick follow-up if that’s okay.
Jeff Tarr: Thanks, Tom. It was a little broken up. So if I didn’t get the question exactly right, just let me know. But I think what you’re asking is are we seeing segments of customers that are performing better or worse than others or than we’ve seen historically, and you asked specifically about SMB. So historically, SMB has performed €“ has had lower retention rates than our large enterprise. So when we supply you a dollar retention rate, you should anticipate our large enterprise customers are meaningfully outperforming that blended rate, and our SMB customers are underperforming that blended rate. We haven’t seen significant change in that other than the fact that our mix has shifted, and we have less exposure to SMB than we had a year ago.
So at this point, we consider roughly about 20% of our enterprise €“ of our customer base, rather, to be SMB. And I hope that answers the question. And we would expect in this cycle that to continue to see more pressure on SMB, less pressure on large enterprise. When we look at the business through the lens of geography, the biggest impact we see is the impact of currency, which has been a quite substantial headwind given that we’re a global business and do have exposure outside the U.S. But other than that, nothing really new or remarkable to report.
Thomas Singlehurst: Very clear. And then on the cash usage, you sort of talked about the €“ well, you sort of intimated that the buyback has been somewhat curtailed. I just €“ I mean can you just sort of once again sort of outline the sort of priorities for cash usage from here on in, especially in the context, I suppose, of rising interest rates and therefore sort of higher interest cost?
Rich Walker: Great. It’s Rich. I think it’s pretty simple. Given the magnitude of fourth quarter, we’ve consistently signaled that as our confidence grows with that quarter, we’ll be informed as to what we want to do from a capital allocation. Second, if juxtaposing between debt and share repurchase. On the debt side, I think the simple answer is we are definitely going to do something. It’s a question of when and how much, particularly as exacerbated by the current rate environment. Even since our second quarter call, there’s been two rate increases, 150 basis points. So when you put a very specific disciplined financial analysis, attending to the capital structure and the debt profile is probably an increasingly higher priority for us. We did announce and approved up to a $30 million share repurchase. We only executed about less than $2 million against that. And that plan is still in place, and we’ll continue to evaluate share buyback.
Thomas Singlehurst: Okay. Very clear. Thank you very much.
Operator: Thank you. Next question is coming from Raj Sharma from B. Riley. Your line is now live.
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Who doesn’t want to look their best for the holidays? A little Botox or laser treatment can help us look refreshed and even younger.
However, the I-TEAM found lawsuits against estheticians are rampant. Skin care certified are the third most targeted group of medical malpractice lawsuits, due to a growing number of untrained or uncertified estheticians.
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The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the demand for skin care certified to increase by 17 percent over the next few years. But conflicting regulations and weak laws make getting into the business a confusing process, and local students are losing thousands of dollars on a substandard education.
“Just the health of the skin – acne-prone skin, mature skin – that I want to tackle … and make people beautiful,” Carla Posadas said.
MORE FROM THE I-TEAM:
She felt good when she moved from the field of dentistry in Texas to the field of esthetics in Georgia.
“The pandemic was kind of an opportunity to do something new,” she said.
COVID hit when Raegan Wedin graduated from nursing school.
“After a while, it becomes a very big burnout, and I was ready to do something different,” she said.
“I found this school in Georgia because my husband is deployed here, so I was like, ‘Why not go to school while he is in school?’”
Part-time or full-time classes, nine- or 11-month programs, and 1,000 coursework hours.
The I-TEAM found the Bryan Sexton Georgia Institute of Esthetics is the only esthetics school in Augusta. Documents from the school state the “program prepares the student not only state board licensing requirements but also for the professionalism needed in today’s skincare work environment.”
Raegan says what she found was not what she expected.
“Day three, I pretty much wanted to quit,” she said.
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She and Carla say nothing prepared them for what was behind the door of Rosebay Medi Spa on Washington Road home to Bryan Sexton Georgia of Institute of Esthetics.
Carla said she quickly saw red flags.
“I noticed a lot of miscommunication between both instructors,” she said.
As did Raegan.
“There is not a lot of learning going on, that’s for sure,” she said.
“A lot of times, she wasn’t even found. We were like, ‘Where is Elizabeth?’” Posadas said.
Elizabeth Bryan is the owner of the school and the spa. She agreed to sit down with the I-TEAM for an interview.
We asked how many certified instructors she has teaching here.
“Right now, I have one,” she said.
Liz Owens: “And that’s you?”
“Yes,” she answered.
Carla provided the I-TEAM with receipts to show the first month she paid nearly $1600 dollars plus another $200 in June. And again, in June she paid another $1058.78 for a total of nearly $3000.
Raegan says she paid more – much more. The receipts she provided show she paid close to 11 thousand total with the deposits.
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But Carla and Raegan say they didn’t feel like paying students. They felt like unpaid workers.
“Everybody would be like what did you do today in class? I cleaned. What do you mean you cleaned? I folded laundry. I swept.”
The student contract clearly outlines their responsibilities to sanitize and sweep around their workplace. Store personal items in a locker.
They say the work they did for Bryan went way outside the lines of the contract.
“We were told to come in clothes we didn’t care about dingy clothes because we were going to paint and clean up this back room.”
“We’ve done a lot of folding of family’s laundry.” They both supply examples. “Shirts, socks and there was always a pair of boxers … always a pair of boxers.”
We asked Bryan about those claims. “I am not familiar with that -- as far as laundry for family, they’re not unless they’re washing their own laundry while they’re here.”
Owens showed Bryan pictures the I-TEAM obtained. “This is some laundry - your husband’s underwear right there.”
Bryan: “I don’t have an answer for you with those.”
Owens: “Here they’re painting what are they doing here? Is that part of the program?”
Bryan: “These are students, well two of them are here and two have left. They’re helping to support. They’re volunteering to help, so we don’t force a student to paint the walls or force them to do something beyond what they’re doing.”
Owens: “That was during instruction time?”
Bryan: “That was during volunteer time.”
Raegan says the non-instruction time added up. “I probably put 200 hours in cleaning; that’s not even an exaggeration.” She withdrew and applied to another school an hour away, losing the full tuition amount she paid upfront. “At this point, I am having to pick up a job in order to pay another $10,000 for the school I wanted to go to for the education that I wanted in the first place.”
Carla paid her tuition by the month. She paid for the month of June and then sent a withdrawal letter later that month.
Carla says she still does not have her transcripts.
“I do not have anything. She has not provided me with anything,” she said.
Bryan told Carla she owed for July and until she paid up she would not get her transcripts. Carla tried to talk to Bryan twice afterward.
First with her boyfriend. They shared the audio recording with the I-TEAM.
Carla’s boyfriend on tape: “Just to verify - she shouldn’t have a balance due.”
Bryan Sexton School: “She would for July because I had no notice.”
Carla’s boyfriend: “She did supply notice beforehand. She shouldn’t owe for balance.”
Bryan Sexton School: “I didn’t get notice. I got an email. I was waiting on documentation which was sent while we were on break, closed.”
She returned a second time with her sister. She again took an audio recording and shared it with the I-TEAM.
Bryan: “She needs to complete her balance pay for her transcripts and they will be sent to her. Is that clear enough?”
Carla’s sister: “So bottom line, the transcripts are being held hostage for money that you feel is owed to you.
Bryan: “Those aren’t my words, ma’am.”
Carla’s sister: “No, you are exactly right. They are my words and those are the action that is happening that I am seeing.”
Bryan: “Once Carla takes care of her invoice, it won’t be a problem.”
Carla’s sister: “Well, she won’t be taking care of her invoice.”
Bryan: “Well, that is fine. She won’t be receiving any transcripts.”.
The I-TEAM’s Liz Owens pressed Bryan for more about her school and how it operated.
Owens: “How many students have you had since opened and how many have actually completed and gotten their certification?”
Bryan: “I can tell you we have a 100% pass rate, and I can supply you the information. I have to look it up to make sure it’s correct for you. I can certainly do that.”
We followed up with Elizabeth Bryan three times about the information she promised to provide after the interview.
She did not send it to us, but she did post a promotional video on Facebook later outlining, “We graduated about a dozen students who have completed and got their licenses and gotten jobs.”
The Georgia Secretary of State’s office could not confirm graduates who became licensed from her school.
They found licensed instructors would teach at the school from time to time.
Other times, Bryan herself was the only instructor there.
The I-TEAM obtained a recording of Bryan’s explanation to a class in 2021 when they discovered she wasn’t a licensed instructor.
Student: “I do have one concern because we are trying to get licensed for Georgia …”
Bryan: “And you will.”
Student: “But if you haven’t … if the last instructor was here in September and I started in October?”
Later in the 2021 recording …
Bryan: “Everything up to this point would be said it was virtual. And it would be crazy for you to say anything different because then you are going to jeopardize your hours. I am not asking you to lie but we did go virtual, right? There were times you were online, right? So, what is the problem? All it is is a small loophole.”
The I-TEAM found Elizabeth Bryan eventually did get her instructor’s license, 20 months after first opening the school, through what appears to be a licensing loophole.
Georgia and South Carolina will accept a license from the other, which is called an endorsement. Georgia granted Bryan her esthetician instructor’s licenses based on her holding an instructor’s license in South Carolina. However, South Carolina records show she got her instructor’s license in the Palmetto State is based on her having an instructor’s license in Georgia.
The 2021 audio recording gives more insight.
Bryan: “It takes a lot of calls to say I was wrong, and I made mistakes, and I could have continued to lie to you.”
Students have tried to involve law enforcement. The I-TEAM obtained the recorded calls to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.
Dispatcher: “Columbia County Sheriff’s Office. Henderson. How can I help you?”
Caller/Student 1: “I was a student at school here in Columbia County and we haven’t been in class, and we have been asking for a refund for months and she has been pretty much dodging us.”
And we found another call to the Sheriff’s Office.
Caller/Student 2 “Nine months and paid all of the money and everything and at the end, we had a whole graduation and the lady told me and another girl that she sent in our paperwork to the state board. And come to find out she wasn’t even certified to be teaching so she couldn’t send our paperwork in and we already paid this lady $10,000-$12,000. She blocked me on everything and I can’t get in contact with her.”
Deputies told them it was a civil matter.
The I-TEAM found those who did take it to civil court had their cases dismissed due to an arbitration agreement in their student contract preventing them from suing Elizabeth Bryan and Bryan Sexton Georgia Institute of Esthetics.
Bryan to the I-TEAM’s Liz Owens: “If someone is disgruntled or unhappy, they’re going to paint a …”
Owens: “There is a state investigation.”
Bryan: “I’m not aware.”
Owens: “You are not aware?”
Bryan: “No, ma’am.”
The chairman of the Georgia State Board of Cosmetology and Barbers confirmed to the I-TEAM that there is an open investigation into the school.
The I-TEAM asked Regan if she was kicking herself with regret.
“Yes,” she answered. “A lot actually. Yeah.”
Carla also shared her regrets. “I believe she is getting one over on people who genuinely want to learn esthetics and going there with excitement- they want to go to school they want to learn but then they’re getting this instructor who is not teaching them anything that is getting their money.”
It’s a high price to pay for the ugly side of beauty.
We reached out a fourth time to Bryan after our interview with her. She did not answer us but told us in our interview that her goal is to provide the right training in order for students to become certified estheticians. We are still digging into this and will keep you updated.
ONTARIO, CA — The World Plumbing Council is accepting applications for its three annual scholarships, two of which are awarded to plumbers to travel internationally to learn more about the industry, and the third of which goes to a trainer/instructor to attend the annual UA Instructor Training Program in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The scholarships are available to individuals actively involved in their local plumbing industry, particularly in education and training. They help create an educational exchange between plumbing industry participants from different countries; increase awareness of the contribution plumbing has made to global health, sustainability, and the environment; and provide a platform for networking and relationship building on a global level, helping strengthen the inter-connectedness of the global plumbing industry.
The Scholarship for Least Developed and Developing Countries is a one-time grant for an individual actively involved in their local plumbing industry, particularly in education and training, to travel to another country for the purpose of developing and contributing further plumbing industry knowledge. The applicant must be a citizen of either a least developed country or a developing country.
The Education and Training Scholarship is a one-time grant for an individual actively involved in their local plumbing industry, particularly in education and training, to travel to another country for the purpose of developing and contributing further plumbing industry knowledge.
The United Association Instructor Training Program Scholarship is a grant awarded annually to a trainer, instructor, or teacher (or trainee instructor or teacher) from the plumbing industry (plumbing, sprinkler fitting or HVAC), to travel to the United States to take part in the annual UA Instructor Training Program (ITP). The ITP is held each August in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. The recipient will take part in a range of courses that are available over the course of one week.
“The UA is excited to accept recipients from abroad again after a long three years of banned travel,” WPC Chair and UA Director of Plumbing Services Tom Bigley said. “The friendships that we made with past winners Jean Claude Twagirimana from Rwanda and Sudip Das from India have continued to this day. We look forward to welcoming next year’s scholarship winner to ITP and sharing all the new technology and training methods for plumbing, as well as learning from our guest about how they train in their countries.”
Each scholarship provides up to $15,000 in funding to cover approved expenses for the duration of the program. The scholarship applications may be downloaded from https://www.worldplumbing.org/scholarship/. The application deadline for each scholarship is Sept. 30, 2023.
The football training programme is being supported by UNESCO and has piloted in three countries including Ivory Coast.
Published On 15 Nov 2022
Children at primary schools in the Ivorian commercial capital Abidjan traded classrooms for football fields last week to take part in a FIFA initiative to make the sport more accessible and contribute to education.
Ivory Coast is the first country in West Africa and the fifth on the continent to join FIFA’s Football for Schools (F4S) programme, launched in 2019 with pilot projects in Puerto Rico and Lebanon. It was disrupted by COVID-19 but has now resumed ahead of the World Cup in Qatar.
The goal is to reach children in the poorest or most remote corners of the world.
Children in yellow bibs and white jerseys practised passes and dribbled between cones under the guidance of FIFA instructors.
“When they play on football fields they banish violence, build leadership (skills) and communicate with others,” F4S manager Fatimata Sow said in Abidjan.
“The Ivory Coast is the…fifth in the CAF region, after Mauritania, Djibouti, South Africa and Malawi,” Sow said.
The programme is run in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and aims to contribute to the schooling of around 700 million children by combining sports and education.
“The workshops … connect football with education. Life, football and technical skills are taught in a session,” said F4S instructor Antonio Buenano.
According to FIFA’s website, each of its participating member associations will get a one-off grant of $50,000 to run the programme. It remains unclear how many member associations will be involved. Learning equipment will also be distributed to schools.
Thousands of teenage girls and boys may have been sexually abused in high schools across the country by JROTC program instructors.
ALLENTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA, US, November 21, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ -- Thousands of teenage girls may have been sexually abused in high schools across the country by JROTC program instructors. All four branches of the US military have their own programs. The Army alone has 1,700.
A latest New York Times investigation found insufficient oversight of classes that are taught by retired military personnel who are initially screened by military branches. Classes are supposed to prepare students for leadership roles and make them aware of their rights, responsibilities, and privileges as American citizens.
The Department of Defense claims, “JROTC teaches young men and women the kind of self-discipline, self-confidence, and leadership skills that can help them successfully meet the challenges of adulthood.” Instead, many young women learn first-hand that older men in trusted positions can exploit their vulnerabilities.
The New York Times found that JROTC programs target schools in lower-income areas. Instructors find themselves with young women eager to escape crime and poorly paying jobs by joining the military. They want to please instructors who may help their future military careers get off to a good start. These young women find themselves instead abused by men who claim to be mentors.
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Robert “Bobby” Willig, a longtime Princeton professor of economics and public affairs, a leader in the field of industrial organization and a former deputy assistant attorney general in the U.S. Department of Justice, died Oct. 21 in Princeton after a year-long battle with cancer. He was 75.
Willig served on Princeton’s faculty for 43 years. In an appreciation written when Willig transitioned to emeritus status in 2016, it was estimated that 1,200 of the world’s leading policymakers owe their microeconomic training to him.
“Bobby was a wonderful colleague and a brilliant economist,” said Department of Economics Chair Wolfgang Pesendorfer. “During his impressive career, Bobby made seminal academic contributions, in particular to the analysis of competition and market structures. At the same time, he was deeply involved in antitrust and regulatory policy. His combination of academic brilliance and practical experience made him a wonderful teacher who inspired many of our students.”
Gene Grossman, the Jacob Viner Professor of International Economics, spoke to Willig’s influence as researcher, practitioner and teacher. “Throughout his long career, Bobby moved seamlessly between the worlds of economic theory and economic practice,” Grossman said. “His insights informed and transformed U.S. antitrust policy in a myriad of industries. Above all, Bobby loved to teach about economics — be it to Princeton undergraduates, to policy students in the School of Public and International Affairs, to the policy makers who wrote the competition rules or to the judges and juries who were left to interpret them.”
For several years, Willig taught Princeton’s popular ECO 100 course, “Introduction to Microeconomics,” as well as a mid-level undergraduate course on industrial organization. He was also deeply involved with the master’s program in public affairs at Princeton’s School of Public and International Affairs.
From the early 1990s until 2015, Willig taught the program’s graduate course on microeconomic policy analysis as well as courses on legal and regulatory policy and on industry and antitrust issues.
“We are grateful for his dedication and profound contributions to the MPA program over the years,” said Amaney Jamal, the Edwards S. Sanford Professor of Politics and SPIA dean, in a tribute to Willig circulated to the SPIA community.
Willig served as faculty chair of the MPA program from 1999 to 2009 and led the program’s economics and public policy concentration at least a dozen times between the early 1990s and the 2012-13 academic year.
“Bobby's long-term service on the MPA admissions committee was distinguished both by his peerless ability to spot overlooked gems in the applicant pool and his tenacious advocacy for a class that reflected true diversity and a commitment to the highest ideals of public service,” said Elizabeth Armstrong, associate professor of sociology and public affairs at SPIA. “His dedication to admissions made the school a better place to learn and to teach.”
In addition to publishing foundational research in industrial organization and training generations of students, Willig was a devoted public servant. From 1989 to 1992, he served as the deputy assistant attorney general for economics in the antitrust division of the United States Department of Justice. He also worked with the Federal Trade Commission, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank and many national governments.
At the Department of Justice, Willig applied his expertise to lead the 1992 update of the DOJ/Federal Trade Commission Horizontal Merger Guidelines that outline how the federal government should evaluate the likely competitive impact of a merger.
Speaking at Willig's Oct. 24 funeral service at The Jewish Center of Princeton, the economist Jonathan Marc Orszag, a member of the Princeton Class of 1995 and a co-founder of the economic consulting firm Compass Lexecon, said: “There is not an economic issue over the past five decades that Bobby didn’t help shape, but perhaps his most significant contributions to the antitrust world were to the 1992 Horizontal Merger Guidelines. It was Bobby’s influence that put economic influence at the center of merger matters, and the economy is so much better off as a result.”
Willig was the author of “Welfare Analysis of Policies Affecting Prices and Products” (1980) and “Contestable Markets and the Theory of Industry Structure” (with W. Baumol and J. Panzar, 1982) as well as numerous academic papers and book chapters. Much of his research argued that consumer surplus can be used as a measure of (unobserved) social welfare. This established the “consumer surplus standard” for antitrust in articles dating back to the 1970s.
In “Contestable Markets,” Willig and his co-authors analyzed factors that determine price and structure in a market and made important contributions to the application of antitrust law. They argued that the mere presence of firms that might enter a market, even briefly, can make even a small market with few active firms behave as if it is competitive.
Willig was a co-editor of “The Handbook of Industrial Organization,” “Can Privatization Deliver?: Infrastructure for Latin America,” and “Second Generation Reforms in Infrastructure Services.”
He was a fellow of the Econometric Society and served on the editorial boards of the American Economic Review, the Journal of Industrial Economics and the MIT Press Series on Regulation.
Willig was born in Brooklyn and earned an undergraduate degree from Harvard in mathematics. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University and, after leading the Economics Research group at Bell Labs, was recruited to Princeton’s faculty in 1978.
He is predeceased by his parents Meg and Jack Willig, and his sister Paula Siegel. He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Ginny Mason, his four children, and eight grandchildren. Ginny Mason was an aerobics instructor at Dillon Gym for 33 years, and their children include two Princeton alums, Jared Willig of the Class of 2001 and Scott Willig of the Class of 2004.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions may be made to National Junior Tennis and Learning of Trenton or The Jewish Center of Princeton.