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S&D Railway Trust and Washford Eviction Notice

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Andy Norman, Feb 24, 2020.

  1. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    Depends who found him “divisive” or “unsupportive”


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  2. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    His own Conservative councillor colleagues apparently; "West Somerset Council Leader Tim Taylor compiled a dossier of complaints, which was sent to the Conservative Party chairman and chief whip. Taylor described Mr Liddell-Grainger as a "disgrace to the Conservative Party".[19][20]"
     
  3. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    Sums it up pretty well.

    He is my constituency MP. I have lived here for 6 years now. In that time I have written to him once, sent an e-mail on another occasion and left a message on the answerphone service for constituents, in each case seeking assistance with matters unrelated to the WSR. I have never had even the courtesy of an acknowledgement. He is a disgrace as an MP but around here a pig with a blue rosette would be elected, so I have no effective constituency MP and I am effectively disenfranchised.

    The last significant occasion he came to public notice was when he made a speech in parliament criticising Taunton as a Town. For those less familiar with Somerset, Taunton is in another MP's constituency...

    Robin
     
  4. Andy Norman

    Andy Norman Part of the furniture

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    Oh look we are trying to criticise somebody else who is saying there is something wrong with the WSR Management currently, nice to see its business as usual.

    So, back to basics, in my view, where are the school train trips for the kids from the schools along the line and where are the 30 Apprentice/Work Placements that HPC paid the transport costs for under a certain award as the 'enabler' to allow them to get to the WSR, from B&T Colleges who were going to provide the trainees FOC to the WSR in support of the award ? Meanwhile in my opinion whilst defensive press statements continue the people who asked for answers and explanations from the PLC Chairman don't seem to have heard from him. They have however heard from the WSRA Board who were not in question in this particular one subject until now. However I'd better not say to much more and allow our recently re-elected MP to have a closer look and see what he thinks, clearly this has gone 'above my pay grade' and I should allow the people of West Somerset to see what if anything they want to do. Public Interest Disclosures Act.

    Seeing this is the S&DRT Eviction thread perhaps we should focus on those actions as well.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2020
  5. 35B

    35B Resident of Nat Pres

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    Fair enough. But attacking him is to play the man rather than the ball.


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  6. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Even more importantly IMHO, as I have said before, is when will the PLC produce a 'plan for Washford' which can be proven to have been discussed and agreed by its Board before they issued the 'Notice to Quit' ? Until that happens, there will remain - whether justifiably or not - the lingering suspicion that they decided on the eviction first and then tried to think of reasons to support it.
     
  7. Bayard

    Bayard Well-Known Member

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    From the WSRA press release; "We note with interest that Mr Liddell Grainger claims that the grant of £96,000 should have been used to support 30 apprentices. Even if the entire grant was used in total to support 30 apprentices as suggested, it would only amount to a bursary of £1,600 per apprentice per year."

    Has someone not done their homework before going public?
     
  8. Bayard

    Bayard Well-Known Member

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    Playing the ball is so last century. All the up-to-date people play the man these days.
     
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  9. RailWest

    RailWest Part of the furniture

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    Spread over 2 years, then at least his maths is correct. But could you actually support an apprentice for a year on £1,600 ??? IMHO his question seems fair.
     
  10. michaelh

    michaelh Well-Known Member

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    Mr Lidell Grainger clearly had not done his homework before going public and did not understand the cost of an apprenticeship.

    £96000 divided by 30 and again by 2 years equates to £1600 per apprentice per year ( or £30.77 per week or 83p per hour for a 37 hour week) .
     
  11. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    Was the money supposed to be spent to support each apprentice 100%? Sometimes funding is split, sometimes I would assume the apprentice may spend time at FE college as well, where appropriate. Has anyone done their homework about the apprentices , funding and the nature of the apprenticeship?

    Obviously the latest talking point from the WSR is to attack Liddell Grainger.

    And the silence on what the money was spent on is deafening. So maybe all those attacking Liddell Grainger, could actually give us the facts.

    It seems that the WSR way is to attack the critic, never explain and never apologise. Still no explanation as to why it is necessary to the survival of the WSR to evict the S&D, still no explanation about the plans for Washford, no explanation about what the money was spent on.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2020
  12. Andy Norman

    Andy Norman Part of the furniture

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    Good point, but that is not what Mr Liddell-Grainger said, its what the WSRA Statement said he said. Mr L-G said: " The money was to be used to subsidise up to 30 apprenticeships on the railway and to pay for educational trips for thousands of children from 18 schools along the line, enabling them to learn about the railway’s history and heritage". (my emphasises).

    As per my post above, part of the HPC bid money was to subsidise (by way of meeting the transport costs as an enabler) not pay for these young adults in full. Mr L-G also didn't say the full £96k was only for apprentices in any of his comments I have read, although the WSRA statement seems to infer he did. Nowhere does any of the HPC bid say that the WSR were ever going to pay the apprentice/work placements full costs, so the £96k divide by 30 people statement is a red herring. People who have experience of grant funding will understand the match funding concept which other supporting organisations apply to bids as a key part of being awarded money in most if not all applications for grant funding. I'm surprised the WSRA claimed what they did in their statement seeing they knew the details as much as others and such details would logically be in the budget and KPI's.

    We could of course all play on the exact meanings of words all day, however would it not have been better for the recipient of the local MP's concerns, the PLC Chairman to have said "Ok no problem come in and have a chat, its clearly a misunderstanding and we can explain what happened to the HPC Project and justify our actions". Instead of getting others to send aggressive and defensive rebuffs form both the WSRA & now individual Trustees on here which could be seen to muddy the waters instead of helping to sort the concerns out between adults.

    Back to the S&DRT, you can understand why they also didn't get any conversation before their notice to quit and they just received a solicitors letter out of the blue followed by a Press Statement talking about Cuckoos in the Nest, maybe if they had had some positive conversations first these things would not be getting out of control as they clearly are.

    Clearly this is a complex issue which needs adult debate, directly, so those people with concerns can get to the bottom of what happened to the kids train trips, etc. etc.? Public Interest Disclosures Act.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2020
  13. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    No, you couldn't.

    Generally, an apprentice is paid for their working week by the company that employs them, and the Government pays for training (at least one day of formal college training per week, for which the apprentice still also gets a salary - the Government pay the college (*)).

    For the employment bit, there is a minimum wage. The absolute lowest it can be, for an apprentice younger than 19, or someone over 19 in their first year, is £3.90 per hour. For a 40 hour working week, that gives just over £8,000 p.a. With on-costs, I doubt you could support an apprentice of that age for less than about £10k per year. If the apprentice is older, or in their second year, it will cost considerably more because the minimum wage level is much higher - perhaps at least £15k.

    FWIW, the Bluebell Railway Trust supports apprentices working at the railway. In 2018, it spent just under £31k on the scheme; I think there were probably two or three apprentices employed. It also moved £90k into a designated fund "to ensure that apprentices can be trained at the Bluebell Railway for the next two years". I suspect that will still only support three or four per year at most for that period.

    I think this wording is interesting - what exactly was the money to support? It seems to be being taken that £96k was for "30 apprenticeships" over two years, which is simply ludicrous financially. The wording above actually says "30 apprentices / work placements that HPC paid the transport costs for [..] as the enabler." That suggests to me that the 30 apprenticeships were never intended to be funded out of the £96k, but simply to provide a bursary to help with travel. But paying that travel bursary rather pre-supposes that there was some other source of funding to support those apprentices. If you assume a two year apprenticeship probably costs the employing company about £10k in year one and maybe £15k in year two, the funding requirement for thirty apprentices would be about £750k over two years. (One rather supposes in any case that the WSR plc couldn't actually accommodate 30 apprentices even were the funds available).

    (*) Disclaimer: It's been a few years since I worked in the FE sector and the funding rules may have changed. But in principal I believe the Government still pays for training for young apprentices.

    Tom
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2020
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  14. mvpeters

    mvpeters Member

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    I have no wish to introduce another diversion, but is the reference to 30 apprentices a typo for THREE apprentices?
    This would provide just a little above minimum wage for a full-time, over-21 apprentice.
    Edited to add that, like Tom, I wonder where 30 apprentices could be accommodated.
     
  15. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    I haven't seen the exact wording but it is being quoted by others as: "....up to 30 apprentices...." That little word 'up' can be very important. Thirty looks good but one would comply with the wording.
     
  16. Bayard

    Bayard Well-Known Member

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    Indeed, where are they? Perhaps we should be asking the "Colleges who were going to provide the trainees FOC to the WSR", since it seems they are the ones paying for them. Did they even have 30 apprentices who wanted to work on the WSR? Was anybody turned away?
     
  17. Bayard

    Bayard Well-Known Member

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    That's presumably why the grant is restricted to paying for their travel costs: they will be local people, travelling from home.
     
  18. Andy Norman

    Andy Norman Part of the furniture

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    Fair comment, and to answer your question without getting too deeply into it and without commenting too much on the current WSRA/PLC issues and I promise I will bring the S&DRT into this as well. This is purely to inform others how the heritage railway industry can if they play it correctly work with Colleges across the country in further education and tie that into the new, large and soon to be increasing training needs as the government changes youth Apprenticeship schemes in further education with enhanced Vocational Training.

    Firstly it was up to 30 and it was a figure agreed by the PLC, WSRA & Bridgwater & Taunton Colleges in advance of signing the agreement. But your question is how can any railway the size of the WSR accommodate 30? It’s a good and valid question.

    I'll use the WSR only as an example but it applies to many if not all others equally. The WSR has more capability to accommodate apprentices, work placements, trainees etc. than you would realise (I'll lump all under the name Apprentice for ease). This is not just about engineering Apprentices. I calculated there were circa 45 job types ranging from accounts, marketing, HR, admin through to infrastructure, building, maintenance, track work, project management, woodworking, metal working, welding, restoration, catering, customer service, gardening, painting, sales, safety, electrician, signalling, etc. When you think of the WSR it’s a community in itself, it has a lot of job functions in order to operate. A railway like the WSR has many locations for Apprentices along its 20 miles. 10 Stations, 3 cafes, 2 shops, 3 museums, 3 engineering works, DEPG, 813 Fund, all PLC Departments and of course the S&DRT who have a number of functions happening at their site at Washford at once.

    Therefore 30 was a conservative start off figure, B&T College said they could provide 200 if needed. Not only does this provide people to do things the WSR needs doing, its new blood learning real & life skills, it’s a great working relationship with education (with a number of other spin offs), PR, working hand in hand with the community. Plus some of those Apprentices would ‘stick’ as volunteers and hopefully many go away having had a great experience on a great railway which they will talk about. Nobody loses and it doesn’t cost the WSR anything.

    A HPC type community project actually does three things to bring all this together. 1. It provides an internal structure to allow it to happen on the ground, 2. The bid funded WSR CEM runs the relationship with the colleges, sorts out the placements, generally acts as the link person and ensure it all works, 3. Part of the budget subsidises the bits the Colleges and WSR can’t cover financially in this case transport for getting the Apprentices from Bridgwater or Taunton to venues along 20 miles of WSR. (Note in the presentation I mention below B&T College bring this up as a hurdle, which HPC agreed to pay and is in the budget) These were the ‘enablers’ I’ve mentioned. All of this has a real live impact, and to my knowledge not only are the local schools waiting for the trip on the train but also the Colleges maybe waiting to start this as a KPI (I don’t know the answer to this question but it is another one that needs to be asked).

    I have a presentation Bridgwater & Taunton College presented to me and the PLC Management team back in March 2018 during the application process that sets out the requirements they have and the numbers involved, I can't attach it here as its in PPT and its not allowed but anybody please feel free to PM me and I'll send you a copy. I know they won’t mind me using it to demonstrate, so anybody interested can see the scope and scale of the opportunity directly from them. This requirement is going to expand as set out in the presentation so I would encourage any railway to look at this if they haven’t already.

    HPC’s money therefore goes a lot further than the actual amount quoted so the calculations used In a certain statement are not relevant or indeed accurate. Since I’ve left the WSR a number of other railways have asked me to give them fuller details so they could use it as a format for themselves, I’m happy to do that, these kids are our future and deserve to have a great experience on their local railway.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2020
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  19. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    So for example a student who was doing catering could have had a placement in the cafe in BL and they would have had their travel covered? And a student doing accounts to Minehead and a student doing carpentry might have gone to Washford and worked with the S&DRT.

    So it wasn’t that the money was intended to pay the student a whole years living wage and for them to be trained by the railway but rather in parallel with their studies at Bridgewater and Taunton colleges.

    Nifty outreach as students without a specific railway interest ie engineering can be involved. I can see why it would appeal to funders.

    This would appear to suggest that the ‘hasn’t done his homework’ crowd hadn’t done their homework about how the project was intended to function.
     
  20. Mike Birch

    Mike Birch New Member

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