Fears raised jobs in Gosport will go as apprenticeship scheme moves

  • Firm behind training programme is moving to base in the Midlands
  • Employees fear for their jobs
  • Network Rail says it will start from next September
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JOB losses are expected when a Network Rail apprenticeship scheme at HMS Sultan is moved.

Part of the scheme is currently run by Babcock International from a training centre at HMS Sultan in Gosport with accommodation at nearby HMS Collingwood in Fareham.

It’s another nail in the coffin for Gosport

But from next September, Network Rail have confirmed it will be moved to a training and development centre in Westwood, Coventry.

It’s unclear at this stage how many jobs will be lost as a result of the change.

One employee for Babcock International, who asked to remain anonymous, said: ‘They haven’t said officially what is going to happen with jobs.

‘The general feeling is of disappointment that we have been let down by our company.

‘It’s another nail in the coffin for Gosport.

‘The military benefits from the apprentices being here too.

‘We rent two big schools off them.

‘The contracts run into millions of pounds over three or four years.

‘Losing that income at a time of cutbacks for the defence budget is quite important to them as well.

‘We have been through some turmoil but nothing like this.

‘There are guys here who are 61 or 62 who will never work again if they are made redundant.

‘Colleagues are worried about the future.

‘The Academy is Ofsted grade 1 and was also awarded Beacon Status for outstanding delivery, putting us in the top five per cent of further education establishments in the UK.’

In a statement, a Network Rail spokesperson said: ‘The plan to move our apprenticeship scheme to our West Midlands training centre will bring a number of benefits, including improved recruitment with a more central location, and better use of our facilities.

‘We are currently finalising details of the new programme, in consultation with unions, as well as developing a plan for a phased transition from 2016.

‘More details will be forthcoming in the next few months.’

The apprentices spend the first of their three years at HMS Sultan, specialising in a variety of different aspects.

Classes are taught by a team of experienced rail engineers and professional trainers.