CAE Reading and Use of English Part 6
You are going to read four extracts from articles on freelance work. For questions 37-40, choose from the reviews A-D. The extracts may be chosen more than once.
The world of freelance work
Four writers look at the working life of freelancers
Anyone contemplating going freelance should bear in mind that to make a real go of it may well involve working harder than in an employed position. The life doesn’t suit everyone and many employed people see freelancers as a totally different breed of worker, doing something that they couldn’t do and wouldn’t want to. Freelancers can find that they have less free time than they used to and that they take on more than they should out of a reluctance to turn down any offer. Furthermore, they may find themselves working for less money as they go along, as any rise in the number of freelancers in their field can drive fees down as a result of competition – some freelancers will be willing to accept low fees just to get work. There are dangers for companies too: using a large proportion of freelancers can mean that knowledge that is crucial to the company’s operations lies outside the company itself.
As more and more people join the freelance workforce, it is perhaps time for an appraisal of this development. For the freelancers themselves, this means that a higher proportion of the working population consists of people who are free to decide on their own destinies, surely no bad thing. For companies, the development allows them ever-increasing flexibility, enabling them to adapt to changing circumstances quickly rather than having permanent staff who are underemployed at times. Freelance life, as anyone who does it knows well, is tough in some ways and to do well you need to be highly disciplined and organised, as well as hard-working and reliable – qualities that not everyone has when they are left to their own devices. A lot of employed people don’t see things that way at all, tending to assume that freelancers have an easy life in which they can ‘pick and choose’ what they do, and may choose to do little.
An interesting by-product of companies relying on a significant number of freelancers is that a gap can open up between those freelancers and the employed personnel on the premises. This can be problematic, for example with key personnel in a project not on hand immediately if something urgent comes up. On the other hand, the increasing number of freelancers has big advantages for everyone involved, in a wide range of areas including flexible hours, child care arrangements and matching personnel to specific requirements. It is common for employed people to envy freelancers their, perceived freedom compared to their own situation, but this is largely a myth. To maintain a regular and viable income in freelance work takes effort and the equation is a simple one of effort and reward – your income depends on how hard you are prepared to work.
Freelancers often take more responsibility for their work than employed staff, who can become bored and demotivated, and in this regard it can be said that the more freelancers there are out there, the better it is for companies. To ensure the smooth running of this set-up, companies need to manage carefully their relationship with the freelance workforce – a coherent and mutually acceptable attitude needs to be developed for dealing with people who cannot be treated in the same way as permanent employees. For freelancers, making a sustainable career can be a nerve-racking business, as it can largely depend on chance encounters, word-of-mouth information from other freelancers and unexpected approaches from potential clients. It is this high-risk factor that puts many employees off the idea of going freelance.
Which writer …
37 expresses a similar view to writer C on the consequences for companies of employing a large number of freelancers?
38 takes a different view from the others on the desirability of an increase in the number of people becoming freelancers?
39 takes the same view as writer В on the attitude of employed people to freelance work?
40 has a different opinion from the others on the extent to which freelancers are in control of how successful they become?
CAE Reading and Use of English Part 7
You are going to read a newspaper article about a space programme. Six paragraphs have been removed from the article. Choose from the paragraphs A -G the one which fits each gap (41-46). There is one extra paragraph which you do not need to use.
How I Became a British Astronaut
May 18, 2009 was a sunny evening – a night that I have good cause to remember. I had recently retired from the Army Air Corps after an extremely rewarding career of nearly 18 years as a helicopter pilot and the future looked good – I’d been fortunate to secure a dream job working as a senior test pilot for a private firm. I had also just completed a year-long selection process for the European Astronaut Corps – an incredible experience that had opened my eyes to the world of human spaceflight.
A privately funded multi-million dollar seat as a ‘spaceflight participant’ was unattainable for most. And opportunities such as the commercially sponsored Project Juno, which launched the first Briton, Helen Sharman, into space in 1989, were extremely rare.
This was designed to identify natural ability in various cognitive skills. In reality, this meant around eight hours of individual computer-based exercises, becoming progressively harder and with only short breaks in between. Skills such as memory retention, concentration, spatial awareness and coordination were evaluated, alongside psychological questionnaires that were to become the benchmark of this selection process – hundreds of repetitive questions, aimed at ensuring consistency of answers over a long duration.
Historically, around 50 per cent of candidates fail the exacting medical requirements. Although good physical fitness is a strong attribute, the medical selection was not looking for potential Olympians. Instead, it was intended to select those individuals who pose the least risk of having a medical occurrence during their career. Space is no place to become ill.
As it happens, the medical selection caused exactly 50 per cent attrition, with failure to meet cardiovascular and eyesight requirements being the two main causes. Having endured the most gruelling week of my life, I was delighted to be among the 22 remaining candidates.
The remainder of the selection process consisted of formal interviews, culminating in the final 10 being invited to meet ESA’s Director General, Jean Jacques Dordain. That was one month before that sunny evening in 2009, and I wondered who the lucky few would be. I suspected that I would not be one of them: an ESA press release had already announced that the new candidates would be presented at ESA headquarters in Paris on Wednesday. It was Monday night, I had not been contacted and time was getting tight.
This was a decision that would affect not just me but also my family. Thankfully, there was no time to dwell – I had to book a flight to Paris for the following day.
A It was also good to find that there were five British people in the group. Considering that, at the time, the UK was still in the shadow of a historical government policy not to participate in human spaceflight, it was encouraging to see the high level of interest regarding this astronaut selection.
В Other skills include being trained to perform spacewalks for external science and maintenance tasks and to manipulate the robotic arm in order to capture and berth visiting resupply vehicles. Then there is the medical training, communications skills training, emergency training – the list goes on.
C So when the phone rang and I was offered an opportunity to join the European Astronaut Corps, there was what can only be described as a wild mix of emotions – elation, excitement, shock and trepidation, due to an overwhelming realization that I was about to take my first steps down one of life’s major forks in the road.
D It was interesting to meet the other candidates from all over Europe and to acknowledge the plethora of diverse career paths that had led us to this common goal. While it is fair to say that the best chances of success are to have a solid foundation in the core sciences or experience as a pilot, there really is no single route to becoming an astronaut – it has more to do with being passionate about what you do and being as good as you can be.
E Yet that situation changed when the European Space Agency (ESA) announced a selection for a new class of astronauts in 2008, and UK citizens were eligible to apply. My application joined the pile of nearly 10,000 others, and soon there followed an invitation to Hamburg to begin the testing process.
F During the previous five years working as a military test pilot, I had become much more involved in the space sector – aviation and space are intrinsically linked and share many similar technologies. However, I had not seriously contemplated a career as an astronaut, since the options to do so were extremely limited.
G Although the Soyuz spacecraft offers an emergency return to Earth in less than 12 hours from the International Space Station, this is an absolute last resort. Also, it is not available once a spacecraft has reached out beyond low Earth orbit.
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