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Old 20th May 2019, 12:04   #91
RobSun
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I find your post really strange - you compare trained technicians with a History graduate who for some reason was put in a technical environment.
I was based at the Plessey Telecomms R&D centre called Taplow Court - a manor overlooking the Thames in Berkshire.
Hi MSS

My point was exactly that in this case. Human Resources or the Personnel Department as it was then, did the graduate employment selection, and they decided he was going to go down the technical route. He wasn't the only one we had English Lit graduates too. I have know idea who made those decisions but only during their training, which was more often than not done as they were involved in projects, did we find out if they had the potential. Some were very good others the opposite. Most did have the appropriate qualifications and they fared better.

A department was set up to run parallel to the Engineering Design Department called Mechanisation. They were mainly put in here with a small number of apprentice trained young draftsmen and qualified engineers to supervise, me one of them, to come up with ideas and put them into practice. It was this that failed so often, they couldn't, they didn't have the experience to solve problems and resolve manufacturing issues. Often they would not take supervision and would blindly go off on the wrong road. They knew best, they had been told at selection that they were chosen because they were the best and this sadly went to their heads. It was very frustrating. At the same time the Design department were doing the same things with experienced engineers, mostly apprentice trained, and fewer graduates. They were more successful and after a few months, after those who make the decisions realised I was about to move on, I was asked to go back into that department to run a team doing the same work. Both departments still ran in parallel doing similar work. To me and others this was a total waste of money. A lot of positive and negative competition between the departments was created, probably deliberately, but the engineering side always performed better. I was then given a totally free hand with a colleague from Production Engineering to go anywhere, look at any process to research and develop ideas to increase productivity. The only restriction, if it could be called that, was if I we mess up big time and loose them money we get fired. At the same time my design section would still be tasked with having to come up with the day to day solutions and ideas. It was exciting times, I enjoyed it immensely.

My time with Plessey ended before yours commenced so it looks as though the way things were done by then were improved. I was originally employed by Ericsson's Telecommunications in Beeston which was taken over by Plessey and then I moved to Sunderland. I was involved with projects across the north in Sunderland, South Shields, Liverpool, Wigan, Kirby etc. I left and went to GEC in 1976 after the Government gave an order that would give us nine years of production on the old STD systems mainly for spare parts. We were heavily involved in the development of System X with a new training centre just completed and installation of new equipment just going into a clean manufacturing plant when the Government changed its mind, saying they had miscalculated and didn't need any of the order. The plan was to introduce manufacture of System X as production of STD equipment ran down and finance it with that order. Thousands lost their jobs over night, finding out by watching the 9.00 news. I was promised a position back in Beeston once everything was finalised and in addition given the task of finding replacement products to manufacture to retain as much as possible.

I had managed to find enough work to keep part of the Sunderland plant open and South Shields would continue because its production was not effected as much. The unions however decided that because some of the work was going to make people redundant in Wigan they would block it. The Swindon factory took the work with open arms and that pronounced the final nail for Sunderland and the Wigan factory was still shut down. My career was secure back in the Midlands but GEC offered me a position which I took. Looking back that may have been an error, GEC were then nothing like as forward thinking as I was used to, so moved on after a year into new fields that were again exciting and motivating. A couple of years later my new employers were approached by GEC to help out with an issue. I was sent and was a bit apprehensive but the reception I got surprised me, they treated me like a long lost returning relative. They obviously thought more of me than I did of them.
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Old 25th May 2019, 16:57   #92
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Maybe, maybe not. As some will of made the link Brian is referring to me. We needed a car that was big enough to carry my daughters wheelchair but not too big that it was a huge car that she wouldnít drive as a new driver. The MG ticked every box other than a local dealer. We ordered through a dealer that was close to a location where we have weekends away so that we could incorporate servicing and repairs whilst we are away. Unfortunately after a 3 month wait this dealer couldnít supply a car or give a date due to a huge increase in demand so we looked elsewhere. We also knew at the time that MG were looking at options locally. Looking at other options Longbridge had 3 in stock in the spec we wanted so it was purchased there. The car developed an issue and looking online the cam shaft sensor and a software upgrade seemed to fit our fault. I emailed two dealers asking that if I travelled to them did they carry the parts so that if after diagnosis they were required I wouldnít need a return trip and got no reply, I emailed the sales center and got a reply the same day. I booked the car in and went to Longbridge. It turned out the cam sensor was for the manual only but the car had 3 updates and was 95% better. The fault has returned and it is annoying that my wife has to drive a car daily with a hesitation and she does prefer the old 75 due to this. Iím now looking at a closer dealer as one locally didnít appear and I donít feel It fair that I go back to the original cancelled order dealer which is 3 hours away. How the next dealer and MG handle this will determine if the car stays with us. Was it a bad decision and do I need my sanity questioned? Absolutely not, the MG was perfect in every way for our needs and had a local dealer been appointed life would of been easier, we are in a huge county so a new dealer could happen at any time. My daughter had an amazing day at Longbridge and a car hand over that will never be topped, this included an insight into the plant that money canít buy. We supported whatís left of Longbridge and the people that work there for what is a very good car and donít regret that in the slightest. Would I recommend a new MG? Absolutely 100% as long as you have a good dealer locally.
Hopefully Longbridge can be saved along with the remaining jobs there.
It looks like Longbridge will close, sad sad day indeed. With regards to our ZS I contacted the three nearest dealers all of which are around 3 hours away in the about our warranty issues. One said we were too far away and should look for somebody closer to home, the other said that they would look at the car over 2 days but a courtesy car is not available and the third said they were far too busy and suggested I contacted the other two previously. My gut feeling is that although any manufacturer warranty is nationwide some dealers donít want to know unless you bought from them. With the news that Longbridge will most probably close then where does that leave me? Yes, car shopping. I really like the ZS and would recommend one to anybody as long as their local dealer is a good one. New car chosen and hopefully ordered on Monday
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'Marmite' Possibly one of the most famous 75 tourers produced! left the production line as the last of only Three Rover 75 tourers produced in Trophy Yellow. 48 hours later Longbridge closed. The last sold ordered 75 Tourer. Paid for by the Phoenix Four and handed over by John Towers to the Warwickshire Northampton Air ambulance service as a Rapid Response vehicle
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