Handback engineer training companies

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by Fencepost, 11 Aug 2015.

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  1. Fencepost

    Fencepost New Member

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    Hi all.
    After working on the railway for 17 years as a permanent employee, working predominantly on the peeway,I decided to go working as a contractor within a management role.
    And what an eye opener it was indeed, I cannot believe the training companies for contractors can get away with training people to work as a handback engineer who have no peeway knowledge what so ever and have only been on track for 1,2,3 years.
    I think it is time that network rail started to clamp down on this as it is ludicrous.
    The training companies are getting away with murder, not only that these new guys coming through think that they are actually railway engineers. What tipped it for me was a guy who had been on track for 2 years who was a so called handback engineer level 4 asked me in the same shift what was cwr, what was tandem lift, what are gingle jangles, a good railway engineer. Crazy
     
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  3. Nym

    Nym Established Member

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    It's not just handback 'engineers' this happens with.

    Anywhere where there is a tight job specification and training to carry out, usually for a safety related role, there will be companies training those to the minimum standards.
     
  4. Steve childs

    Steve childs Member

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    This is the nonsense the unions are trying to clamp down on. I know guys who emptied bins for a living then 2 months later they were engineers.
     
  5. The Snap

    The Snap Established Member

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    It is this kind of thing that gives actually railway engineers (like myself) and other competent people a bad name.

    I haven't got my handback ticket, but I know several who have who are extremely competent and experienced. You tend to find in the larger contractors these days there are less 'cowboys' in my experience, because they simply won't stand for it anymore. For example, my employer won't mentor a colleague of mine for his handback ticket because he is employed via an agency (even though he is extremely competent). That proves the larger companies are doing things correctly IMO and taking no risks. It is with the smaller companies where the rules are bent and adhered to at an absolutely bare minimum in my experience.

    I have my COSS and IWA, and you don't half meet some cowboys out there. It's worrying how these people get their tickets. At my last assessment the assessor was saying he had one COSS who failed 10 of the 12 initial PTS questions, they didn't even get to the COSS questions!! :roll: Only recently I heard of a PICOP and his assistant (working for an agency) putting dets and PLBs on the wrong line and a train flying straight over them (the dets that is, not the guys!) :roll:. I haven't worked in London so I don't know myself, but I understand it's a minefield down there. I've heard of COSSs who can't speak English (yet somehow got the ticket when one of the basic requirements is to be able to speak fluent English!).

    On the plus side though, I understand the SWL conversion process which is currently ongoing is filtering out the deadwood. 80% fail rate was the latest I heard, which can only be a good thing IMO!
     
    Last edited: 11 Aug 2015
  6. Ploughman

    Ploughman Established Member

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    What is the SWL Conversion?
     
  7. Fencepost

    Fencepost New Member

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    Swl is safe working leader, and in my eyes and many of my colleagues eys another waste of time, another money spinner for the training companies. If my almost 18 years within the rail environment I have seen it go from good, to bad, to even worse.
    I am not sexest in any way and I am not judgemental to any person and I do always like to give someone a fair chance but lately I have been reading articles about a big drive for female rail workers????? My question is why???
    If they want to work within the rail environment let them make there own mind up, why the big drive.
    I sure know that if I wanted a 3 lengths of concrete sleepers fine lining I would want a guy doing it, if I wanted some jacking and packing doing I would want the fun doing it, if I wanted a couple of beds dug out I would want a guy doing it. So what jobs do they want the women doing?
    Also another thing I have seen over the years is the prisons have railway training facilities in them, so when the convicted criminals come out of jail they have a full NVQ in railway engineering, is this really where our engineers are coming from.
    It wouldn't surprise me if they started teaching raising and removing tsr and esr in prison.
     
  8. Ploughman

    Ploughman Established Member

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    Not heard of that one before.
    In my time I have been PICOW (going back a bit I know), COSS, ES and PICOP with Crane Planner / Controller, Lookout and Tech sometimes covering 5 out of that lot at once.
    With a 90mph handback ticket for good measure.
    Thankfully I am no longer on the big railway.
     
  9. Skutter

    Skutter Member

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    Your post comes over as incredibly sexist and judgemental, I'm not surprised the recruiters are trying to attract some different people.
     
  10. Ploughman

    Ploughman Established Member

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    Having worked on Track Renewals for 20 years and also in that time been involved in a heavy civil engineering TA unit I feel I should say that there is no job on the railway that could not be done by a woman.

    In the TA unit we employed a number of girls to do the same tasks as the boys.
    The result was no great difference infact in some respects they were better although that may be down to being more determined not to be beaten.

    One girl in particular was a printer monday to friday but on a weekend became a Heavy Tipper driver, towing and positioning a 60 ft trailer within very tight markers.
    Lads who were full time Artic drivers could not place the trailer were needed.
     
  11. Fencepost

    Fencepost New Member

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    Please comment on the first post, I would be very interested in what other people's opinions are on this subject
     
  12. ess

    ess Member

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    What is a handback engineer?
     
  13. lincolnshire

    lincolnshire Member

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    Another thing that we didn,t have years ago, sounds like another posh title for the old P.Way ganger / P.way Inspector who had years of experience in P.Way work.

    Yet more outside companies wanting to take money out of Network Rail.

    I see an earlier post in this section about railway NVQ,s been taught at H.M. pleasure establishments, years ago under B.R. it was known for staff to wait outside Wakefield Prison on release days and offer former prisoners information about P.Way relaying jobs. Quite a rough lot was recruited but they would work and was ideal for heavy work in P.Way relaying gangs where other jobless would not entertain the jobs.That was back in the days of low unemployment.
     
  14. Bodiddly

    Bodiddly Member

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    This is nothing new, it's been going on since day 1 of privatisation. I said in a previous post how I had been fast tracked in my training a few years back, going from an engineering labourer to a PICOP in the space of a few months.
    This is a copy of my post I made to save me going over it again!

    'One other point about privatisation was the labour situation that arose after the private companies started to come about. Ken Loach's film The Navigators was a brilliantly true reflection of what happened post privatisation and is a must to watch. I began my railway career as a contract labourer with an agency. Prior to that, I was at the time on a wage of £99 a week with an engineering firm and had heard from my ex railway mate how I could earn serious money on the railways. He had been made redundant from the old Scotrail engineering track renewals division and was immediately snapped up by an agency. His wages trebled overnight. I left my job, got a PTS, which you could do then without any sponsorship or experience (just turn up and pay) and also went to work for this agency. I was on £10 an hour for a minimum of 50 hours a week Monday to Friday. All I was doing was shovelling ballast, filling beds, building ballast shoulders etc. My wages quadrupled overnight.
    Cue the need for Lookouts, Picow's (now COSS) Engineering Supervisors, Picop's, handsignalmen etc etc, they were desperate. I was put through every course I could imagine in the space of a very short time. Before long I was taking possessions on a rate of £23 per hour. I was 24 at the time and clearing at least £600 a week in the late nineties which was a huge sum for a young guy.
    Of course, sanity came back after a while and most agency staff had to go on the books with the new infrastructure companies or lose out.
    The point is, if I was on that money, so were a damn sight more people. Personally, I think privatisation was initially a disaster only made better by the fact it could not continue in it's early form.'


    As I said, nothing new.
     
  15. lincolnshire

    lincolnshire Member

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    After working for 40 years on the railway, seen it all over the years. The Navigators was a very good film what people who was in the railway industry at the time of privatisation could relate too and could see what actually happening to staff at the time.

    The guy cleaning the mess room who was outsource and had to buy his own f**king brush and f**king mop was actually based on a real life guy who was just like that where staff dare not enter the mess room when he was cleaning it up till he had finished less language would be blue if you got on his just mopped floor.

    Time it was shown again.
     
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