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Is Warsash done and dusted?!

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  • Is Warsash done and dusted?!

    Hi guys,

    I have recently returned to Warsash to do my Chief Mates course and wow...what has happened?! I am totally astounded and damn right disappointed about the shocking state the college is in.
    Having originally done my OOW cadetship here a few years ago, I was keen to stay loyal and return to the college - granted even back then, for a very renowned college - it fell short of expectations but with enough hard graft, I got through.

    Now back, the punctuality of lecturers is shocking, many make it perfectly clear they would prefer to be elsewhere and overall it seems like a cash milking system. A few friends and colleagues had warned me that the college was particularly suffering with the transition to the city campus, but my god - I really underestimated it could ever be this bad.
    Classes before ours have been in touch with Nautilus venting their frustrations as their Stability lecturer Ron Price had been in dispute with the college after some incident in the car park with another member of staff. Because of this, Ron Price went off ill for many weeks - leaving them without a stability lecturer at all with fast approaching SQA exams.
    Now here we are, suffering poor punctuality from the lecturers, and a general lack of respect for us the students.
    With the recent changes, there has also been a culling off of some of the old boys - and those on there way out have made their opinion perfectly clear that the once great Warsash is done and dusted.

    Im really wondering what the future holds for the place, as currently I am quite ashamed to have any certificates bearing their namesake.

    Has anybody else had similar recent experiences? I hear that many of the cadetship companies have sent their cadets elsewhere - in one intake they only had 6 cadets!

    Be glad to hear from anyone else, the downfall of Warsash seems so blatant - could it even be intentional for financial reasons?

  • #2
    All of the colleges are struggling. The salaries they pay certainly aren't set to attract the best talent, probably barely a 3rd mates salary at sea. Part time lecturers such as the semi retired or those working as pilots in Southampton can help, but the only way to attract and keep good talent is to put up the salaries.
    Short courses bring in a lot of money, but i'm not sure if that is used to balance the books elsewhere?

    As for Ron Price, it would be interesting to hear what happened to him, he's a clever guy and an excellent lecturer (in my opinion), but like many high functioning intellectuals lacks social skills in some areas.

    Comment


    • #3
      Also, when you go back for your mates your outlook is often different. As a cadet your experience and knowledge was vastly inferior to the lecturers, but when you return 3-4 years later you have been around the block a few times (or the world perhaps?) and your experience and skill may be on par or even exceed those that are teaching you for some subjects. You also may have a much bigger vested interest in passing the mates on time compared to when you were going through the OOW, especially if you are paying for it yourself or on fixed study period from the company who have big expectations of you returning with a mates ticket.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi YoungMariner,

        Yes I see what you are saying and its a valid point about the added pressures once doing your Mates ticket. Im just noticing from class mates and also my own enquiries elsewhere - some of the other colleges are getting great SQA results, whereas Warsash know theirs are below par so will not share their results. Its also true what you are saying about lecturers and their salaries - paying increased salaries would reduce the profits, and given its massive emphasis on income over teaching, I cannot see this changing anytime soon.

        Ron Price is indeed a very clever chap - maybe too clever for the fools running Warsash. Alot of blame from the lecturers is toward the new "management team" who are in place. To quote some lecturers, "the new managers have never been seafarers, and are only interested in figures" which could explain the fall of Warsash.
        I think moving it to the city campus is a big mistake - and it has now lost its unique identity as a stand alone Maritime Academy. The re-development of the land is all money driven - there is definitely somebody sitting down and crunching the figures.

        For me and my class mates - I just hope we get through our SQA's. All this disruption in college is added stress when paying for accommodation on top of the mortgage back home - and as you point out, a company expecting me returning with a mates ticket!

        Comment


        • #5
          OK, first of all my contributions here are in several parts. Some are completely unbiased and merely a statement of fact, but some have an inbuilt bias because "The Hatchling" - my son, has been to Warsash as a cadet and then back there to do his Chief Mates (FD route).

          Unbiased - Earlier this year I made a Freedom of Information request to the MCA about the results of every centre in the UK for the last 5 years. The thread posting all the information is here:

          https://www.officercadet.com/forum/c...m-2014-to-2018

          I will not post my observations afresh here - it is for you to draw your own conclusions. Study the results and look at the trends for each college.

          Biased - "The Hatchling" qualified in 2015 from Warsash having followed the FD route. He returned at the end of last year to do his Chief Mates and in his opinion the lectures were poor, lecturers were not always in attendance and some of their orals prep notes were handed out 2 weeks into the 4 week course. Some of the candidates, who were self funded were seriously thinking of putting in a formal complaint to the college as they felt that the college were not giving them value for money. The pass rate for his course was very low, he was one of the failures, and he went back in the new year for a second attempt, but felt he was still not prepared enough, and he again failed. At that point he gave up and went back to sea. On going with him to the Library I was shocked when the librarian on duty was quite forthcoming in saying that the move of the library was going to cause a problem as Southampton Solent were saying the library would be closed over the "school holidays" and there were no plans for late opening, weekend opening etc. to suit the MN cadets.

          Two weeks ago, on advice from the results of the above survey, he started the Chief Mates course at Fleetwood again, as he felt he was wasting his time doing the orals without better preparation. First morning in lectures and the wad of notes handed to them was 4 times as much as they were given in Southampton, and the question he failed his first orals on - about parametric rolling frequencies - was written large and bold on the first page of the stability notes, whereas at Warsash they were not even mentioned...............

          Now, he is still a couple of weeks away from doing his orals again, so there is no guarantee that it is better, but he is already talking about how much better his preparation is and how they are doing lectures Monday to Saturday for full days and the resources they have are better.

          There is one other factor that I feel I must comment on though - and this is just personal opinion. Whilst people may talk about the wages of lecturers etc there is also a problem that the MCA is struggling to hire suitably qualified British examiners. I believe that the great majority of examiners, if not all, in Southampton are not British, and yet all bar one in Liverpool is. Now, whilst this should not make a difference I personally believe it is, but as the MCA makes no effort to drag itself into the 20th century, let alone the 21st century, and video record examinations and either peer review them or have a proper system of appeals and reviews then nobody can tell if people are being examined in the same way...............

          Now all colleges have their ups and downs, but Warsash has seemed to spiral down as long ago as 2014/15 and it seems that nobody has stopped to think of the differences between a Nautical College and a University. Try and explain to a Uni student on 16 hours a week of lecture time how many hours you do and they will shrink away from you in horror, let alone having to wear a uniform! I remember the terror of having to travel into Ocean Fleets head office in the centre of Liverpool in full uniform back in my day - around the time of the Toxteth riots - with people looking at you on the Merseyrail as if you were from another planet! I even had a meeting down at Warsash in 2012/13 with the people responsible for the catering after the disastrous results of the survey I ran here:

          https://www.officercadet.com/forum/o...sh-cadets-only

          and their response was that they had no idea that the cadets were different to all the other Uni students or wanted anything different from their meals.....

          Back in my day Warsash was considered the best in the world - it seems now a case of "Oh, how the mighty have fallen!" and we poor cadets in Liverpool considered ourselves the poor relations.... but then we had a secret weapon in the form of a lecturer called Ivor Rutherford - his orals sessions were so good nobody dared fail!. Riversdale College of Technology and Aulis (Ocean Fleets training establishment) have now been replaced by houses......... looks like Warsash would be better following them! (In my personal opinion!)

          I hope that this helps people with any decision process, especially going up for Mates, and I have made it clear what is my opinion as opposed to straight facts.

          Regards,

          Ian.
          "Any damn fool can navigate the world sober. It takes a really good sailor to do it drunk." - Sir Francis Chichester.
          "Waves are not measured in feet or inches, they are measured in increments of fear." - Buzzy Trent

          "Careers at Sea" Ambassador - Experience of General Cargo, Combo ships, Tanker, Product Carrier, Gas Carrier, Ro-Ro, Reefer Container, Anchor Handlers.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Hatchorder View Post
            Back in my day Warsash was considered the best in the world - it seems now a case of "Oh, how the mighty have fallen!" and we poor cadets in Liverpool considered ourselves the poor relations....
            Oi!

            io parlo morse

            Comment


            • #7
              Hi Hatchorder,

              You're sons experiences corroborate mine as I expected. Many are in the same scenario, finding themselves having spent thousands on self funding themselves through the mates course, only to be let down by Warsash. On a brighter note, I am happy to hear your son's experiences at fleetwood are much better. Unfortunately hindsight is worthless but I wish I had gone to Fleetwood instead.

              Its truly scandalous that Warsash can claim the fee upfront, provide a disastrous course then feed you through the conveyor belt that is the SQAs and orals. Of course, once you have completed the term...their job is done regardless of whether you pass or not.....do they care....NO!

              You also struck a chord with me regarding the MCA Oral exam offices, that is another matter and indeed one causing much controversy amongst those going through or trying to get through orals currently.
              I completely agree that the orals should be recorded - just the same as any phone call is these days "for training and monitoring purposes".

              If the MCA were monitoring the colleges and the oral exam centres properly - I am sure this discussion would not be required!

              Comment


              • #8
                My entry were the new campus guinea pigs. We came back from sea for our final Orals prep phase into half the time St Mary's and half the time into the wasteland that is the old campus and for what it's worth we had a cracking pass rate. We realized the weaknesses in some of our lecturers, and the pressures that the college was under, and yep with a few exceptions we were mostly forgotten about in the move, but we pooled together and did most of our prep ourselves.

                But this is such a symptom of a wider problem, Warsash is just the first to falter.

                Warsash had (almost still has but I guess has lost the momentum) a cracking opportunity to revolutionize maritime training for British Cadets. But I feel that the two factors pulling the college apart didn't allow that. On one hand, the old guard who although wonderful to learn from, haven't got a clue about the requirements of the modern merchant navy Officer, and the heads of Southampton Solent Uni, who haven't got a clue about many things beyond 12nm offshore, but I got the feeling are trying to turn the worst performing British Uni into a niche center of excellence in nautical and sports science studies.

                Neither of these makes a good Nautical College for 2018. In my opinion they need to be brutal about focusing on their key 'product', the newly qualified 3/O or 3/E goon that they churn out after 3 years in their care. If these individuals are intelligent, trained on current best practice and safety, have a broad range of experiences and have a basic nouse of what leadership and management means in a marine environment, then they will go far themselves, bringing the reputation of Warsash back up with them. They don't necessarily all need to know how to chip and paint or calculate damaged stability, but they do need to be able to tell when the Bosun is bullshi*ting them, or where to look for the correct formulas and how to learn them.

                I completely agree Cadets aren't, and shouldn't, be treated the same as the typical 'millennial' generation Uni Students (myself included, we all went to uni whether it was right or not as it was deemed the thing to do), I fear that a lot of cannon fodder is being squeezed through the whole cadetship process and it is breeding a generation of needy idiots who must be spoon fed through their careers. Cadet training needs to be tougher, more broadly academic, and more selective. (Caveat - Absolutely not militaristic though, I feel the old guard reminiscing over their marching on the warsash bottom carpark and morning squad runs can bring nothing good for the future of Cadetships, and I say that as an ex Naval Officer myself). But to make better leaders and managers a bit of basic self discipline and teamwork need to be part of the package, and not just with a 'bonding week' walking in the lake district. Organised sport, public speaking, responsibility early on etc.

                We need quality and flexibility in the modern fleet, I don't have numbers to back me up on this but I reckon the majority of British officers are now employed in the leisure sector or specialist survey/underwater ops trades, If not now, the trend is definitely away from general cargo vessels. In the next 20 years we are going to see more automated ships, especially in cargo/tankers so there will be even fewer seagoing jobs not in the cruise sector. If we want any hope in keeping a finger in the global maritime trade we need to create a different breed of Deck and Engineering Officer.

                Warsash has a chance to do this, but wont as long as it doesn't take an interest in the wider personal development of the individuals it churns out and continues to sit on its laurels making short range cash gains from the Yachties.

                Alright, reading that back is just a rant and not helpful. What would I do if I was on the board.

                1. Take over the whole St Mary's campus. Nostalgia has no place in keeping 'Warsash' alive. Keep the specialization of being a cadet to the fore and keep the training modern.
                2. Organised sport or extracurricular activities to encourage personal development, (why they let Gordon Meadows and his brother buy the two yachts for cheap I still don't understand).
                3. Bring all courses into the same campus/buildings. Allow interaction between Cadets, Chiefs, Masters, Yachties, Naval Architects etc etc.
                4. Cut entry sizes (70 in mine!). Fortunately Warsash have managed to do this themselves already!!
                5. Actively encourage Cadets to experience different types of vessels, perhaps an exchange program among single role companies. Invest in broadening the individuals!
                6. Invest in staff who give a **** about their cadets and give them the class size and spare capacity to do so. Obviously the biggest money drain here, but its not all about more high quality staff, more like the pastoral and holistic nature of the training and atmosphere at the college.

                Overall, the aim should be to make a Warsash ticket mean something different than the others. Focus on making Warsash Cadet alumni more employable as individuals, the rest will follow.

                Superyacht OOW
                SSTG Cadet 2015-2017
                Ex Royal Navy Navigator.

                Comment


                • #9
                  ^-- If only WMA would listen to this...

                  I was part of the last "batch" to pass out from the old campus and, whilst for the most part I felt the lecturers definitely cared about us and our success, the stresses and uncertainties of the move were obvious.

                  What annoys me about the whole affair is that Solent Uni had a fantastic opportunity to capitalise on the name of WMA whilst benefiting the UK MN, and could have easily turned the move into the best thing to happen to WMA in 100 years. Unfortunately, and in true SU fashion, they botched it.

                  Personally I feel it comes from an inherent lack of understanding by those "higher up", who don't understand how the cadetship system works... I can still remember having a discussion with a fairly senior member of management who seems genuinely surprised that we didn't get the summer off! Let alone that we lived on campus, and didn't pay our fees...

                  SU also don't understand how post-cadetship employment works, and fail to help prep their cadets for the job hunt post-qaulification.. But that's a different rant for a different day.

                  I guess the only thing we can really do is hope - Hope that SU listen, take note, and make whatever changes are needed to create something worthy of the "Warsash" name. It'd be a shame if I had to go to fleetwood to do my chiefs..

                  ... I do still miss my time as a cadet at WMA though.
                  Pointy bit is the front, blunt bit is the back... Simples!

                  Will work for money/sea time.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MrStealth View Post
                    I do still miss my time as a cadet at WMA though.
                    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Inland Pirate View Post

                      It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us...
                      Bejeeezus!

                      !0 minutes ago we were wiping your nose and teaching you how to use a spoon, tie a granny knot and getting you to write a letter home to mummy. In the shortest of times, or so it seems, and we now have a philosopher and a salty old time served sea dog on our hands!
                      "Any damn fool can navigate the world sober. It takes a really good sailor to do it drunk." - Sir Francis Chichester.
                      "Waves are not measured in feet or inches, they are measured in increments of fear." - Buzzy Trent

                      "Careers at Sea" Ambassador - Experience of General Cargo, Combo ships, Tanker, Product Carrier, Gas Carrier, Ro-Ro, Reefer Container, Anchor Handlers.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        On a more serious note:

                        I am VERY pleased to announce that "The Hatchling" passed his Chief Mates orals today in Liverpool. So far 4 on his course at Fleetwood have been up for their Chief Mates orals in the last week and all 4 have passed. This is at complete odds with the experience he had in Warsash. Everything from course notes, to lecturers to support seemed so much better than Warsash and the examiners, so far, have been fair and understood the candidates when they had "brain farts" and given them a chance to remember things later on in the exam because they recognise the nerves they all suffer.

                        Ian.
                        "Any damn fool can navigate the world sober. It takes a really good sailor to do it drunk." - Sir Francis Chichester.
                        "Waves are not measured in feet or inches, they are measured in increments of fear." - Buzzy Trent

                        "Careers at Sea" Ambassador - Experience of General Cargo, Combo ships, Tanker, Product Carrier, Gas Carrier, Ro-Ro, Reefer Container, Anchor Handlers.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Ah congrats to The Hatchling! It seems only such a short time since as parents we were on the finding a sponsor route, the OOW orals, time flies!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Hatchorder View Post

                            Bejeeezus!

                            !0 minutes ago we were wiping your nose and teaching you how to use a spoon, tie a granny knot and getting you to write a letter home to mummy. In the shortest of times, or so it seems, and we now have a philosopher and a salty old time served sea dog on our hands!
                            Lots of time spent staring into the night sky... trying to remember how to find Arcturus and co!

                            Also, google is a wonderful thing

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