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Maritime Education and Training strategy and Warsash campus

Frequently asked questions

 

Following the completion of the review that was initiated in early 2014, it was recognised that there was a need to bring maritime education and training onto a long-term, sustainable footing equipped to meet the challenges and demands ahead, including opportunities to grow the business.

Increased competition, an uncertain future of funding and a need to respond to the growing demands of officer cadets, delegates and clients mean there is a need to ensure a learning experience that consistently meets and exceeds expectations for maritime education and training. 

It is recognised that investment is required in our maritime education and training. The option review reinforced this but the required capital investment at Warsash is too high. The Warsash campus makes a lower contribution to the operation of the University as a whole when compared with other operating areas (despite the increase in income between 2010 and 2015). Full apportionment of overheads illustrate that the campus has made a deficit during this period and if capital borrowing was added to the costs of the campus then considerable growth in income would be required through increased activity. The current site’s restrictions are unlikely to support the level of growth required and would present risks in terms of the site and the University’s financial future. To date, competition from FE providers of officer cadet training has led to lower charges for the accredited provision delivered at Warsash (for 2015/16 the fee for the academic provision only equates to £7,250 per academic year compared to £9,000 for other FT programmes). The capital requirements for the site are also high due to the age of the campus, its listed buildings as well as the need to maintain the specialist facilities to a high standard. The University also has to demonstrate on an annual basis that it has secured best value for money across all of its activities and this would be best evidenced by investing in campus developments that could be shared across a range of areas.

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What external stakeholders were consulted?

Key clients/customers and Chamber of Shipping members have been consulted. There has been specific feedback on the need to maintain the quality of the officer cadet experience, the international reputation, standards and outputs, funding for officer cadet provision, and location which have been taken on board. 

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Who has contributed to the maritime strategy?

The development of the maritime strategy has been led by senior managers of the University (Vice-Chancellor’s Group, senior managers of the school including Programme Group Leaders) and we have consulted with and taken input from industry leaders.

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The strategy says that the University plans to review the delivery of UK officer cadetships. What does this mean? Are you looking to make changes?

This review is currently under way and has included discussions with MCA/MNTB and training companies to ensure that our officer cadetships continue to meet MNTB approval. 

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How much are you planning to invest in delivering this maritime strategy?

The actual investment requirements, ie, details around new space and associated costings, are being addressed and further details will be available at a later date.

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What will happen to Warsash Maritime Academy?

Teaching delivered on the upper site will moved to a new location in Southampton. New facilities will be provided, giving officer cadets, delegates and other students a better experience and access to the full range of the University’s facilities and services. 

It is intended that the maritime education and training provision requiring access to the water will remain at the lower site on the Warsash campus and ensure that the specialist facilities are maintained and enhanced. 

The infrastructure requirements at both locations (including catering, administration, sports and library facilities) will be identified as part of the transition planning.

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Are discussions occurring with any companies about investing in the lower site?

An approach by a company has been received regarding a potential investment opportunity. Further details will be provided in due course.

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What will happen to the upper site? Is there planning permission to develop the upper site?

No firm plans have been made as yet, although it is likely that the upper site will be sold with the proceeds invested in maritime facilities.

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How will this impact staff and officer cadets/delegates?

Staff and officer cadets/delegates will be relocated to an alternative site in Southampton.

Moving the offices, accommodation and teaching spaces to Southampton will enable different maritime courses and programmes to be brought together.

Students, professional delegates, officer cadets and staff will benefit from a central location with better transport links, a wider choice of local amenities and University facilities, and new, modern, fit-for-purpose teaching spaces and offices.

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Have you identified an alternative site?

An alternative site in Southampton will be identified and may require planning and development.

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When will it happen?

Any move to an alternative site requires detailed planning and development work. It is envisaged that officer cadets starting in January 2016 will complete their course(s) at the current Warsash site. 

A detailed transition plan, with timings, will be developed which will include communications with staff, students and stakeholders.

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Will the cadet accommodation be kept on site? If not, where will the accommodation be located?

We would create a dedicated hall of residence from the existing halls in the city centre.

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Warsash Maritime Academy is seen as a 'one stop shop'. It is unique, providing a range of different maritime education and training in a distinctive location. If it moves are we not chipping away at the Academy's reputation and heritage?

The University is committed to the continuation and expansion of maritime education and training and will seek to build on the current reputation of the Academy, for example, by extending the superyacht provision to incorporate undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in yacht and powercraft design; professional courses and superyacht cadetships. Any relocation has its challenges, but the brand, experience and quality can travel and translate elsewhere. The transition will be carefully planned to minimise the impact on staff, clients, and cadets/delegates. 

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How will officer cadets, professionals and students be informed about this move?

Officer cadets and students are already aware we were considering relocation. We held meetings with officer cadets and students on 26 and 28 January to explain the outcome and next steps.

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How will you inform those local businesses (shop keepers, B&B owners) who will be impacted by this move?

The communications plan identifies all the stakeholders we need to communicate with and we will be in contact with them as the project evolves and indeed the plan identifies the need to communicate following the series of briefings planned this month.

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Will the relocation to Southampton result in more facilities?

It is hoped to grow and develop facilities, ensuring the expectations of officer cadets, delegates, staff and clients are maintained and exceeded.

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What are the interim plans for the Warsash campus and will you sell the Warsash site?

The campus continues to need to be maintained and developed. Some work is already planned for the lower site and further investment will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The upper site is likely to be sold.

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People are passionate about Warsash and these changes could have a detrimental impact.

Discussions have taken place with the maritime industry, and while there are mixed views, they are generally supportive of the need for future investment in maritime education and training. 

This move will bring challenges and, at times, it will not be easy. All colleagues will be engaged along with other stakeholders to ensure any move is well planned and implemented. 

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 The maritime industry has expressed concerns about change to the existing facilities and services provided by Warsash Maritime Academy. Why continue when it has the potential to have a negative impact on the business?

Consultation has occurred with a number of people/organisations within the maritime industry and, while there has been a mixed response, the industry does understand the reasons for the review and the need to put our maritime education and training on a secure footing to ensure a sustainable future especially as the University does not have the cash reserves to maintain the Warsash campus as it is currently configured.

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Further information or questions

If there are any questions about the changes from the public, local community or businesses, please email: smse@solent.ac.uk.

Media should contact the Solent University Press Office by calling +44 (0)23 8201 3040 or emailing press.office@solent.ac.uk.

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