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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.


    • #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.


      • #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!


        • #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:

          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:

          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.


          "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.


          • #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....

            io parlo morse


            • #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 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!