Dave Stewart: Lost your job at BAE or Gurit? Apply for call centre work

The leader of the Isle of Wight council this afternoon suggested that skilled workers who are set to lose their jobs at BAE Systems and Gurit should apply for jobs at the new call centre.

dave stewart

Leader of the Isle of Wight council, Cllr Dave Stewart, today suggested that the skilled workers who are in danger of losing their jobs from BAE and Gurit apply to work in a call centre.

It arose during an interview with Lucy Morgan of Isle of Wight Radio, who asked Dave Stewart what advice he had for those at Gurit and BAE who are facing redundancy. Cllr Stewart suggested they apply for jobs at the new call centre in Cowes.

He said,

“I’d advise them to go and apply for jobs at Ascencos.”

Council invest £2.1m
To set the context, the comment had been preceded by a discussion about the new call centre set up in Cowes earlier this year by Scottish firm, Ascensos.

In May, the Isle of Wight Council approved a capital investment of £2.1m in the initiative and a ten year lease on the Cowes property.

600 jobs promised – 60 delivered so far
Cllr Stewart said he was impressed to learn when visiting the site that four of every five jobs there were new jobs.

Ascencos and the Isle of Wight council have said that up to 600 jobs would be created, but according to a press release issued last month, the company only currently have 60 members of staff at the site.

Image: © Isle of Wight Radio

Thursday, 12th October, 2017 2:35pm


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20 Comments on "Dave Stewart: Lost your job at BAE or Gurit? Apply for call centre work"

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My God, he is so out of touch. The salaries will be vastly different. Yes, a job is better than no job, but it is in no way as simple as this.


Thankfully I am not one of those affected but I still find this comment by councillor Stewart offensive showing disrespect to those being redundant. This from the ‘leader’ of the Isle of Wight Council shows how out of touch some councillors are. Can someone remind me of his salary so I can go and cry somewhere!!

Geoff Brodie

Around about £24k per year with a Cabinet twice as large as the previous administration.


Most of the folks laid off at Gurit and BAe will have little choice but to find jobs on the mainland, thus continuing the steady drift of quality work off the Island and further deepening our demographic rut.

But “call me Dave” thinks that’s OK. In touch???


£2.1 million for 60 jobs????

Someone was mislead?

£4.4 million for trhe floating bridge and another half a million afterwards trying to solve the problem.

£1 million in the tidal scheme which isn’t going ahead.

I don’t feel very confident about our Council borrowing £100 million and investing it.

So the IWC have subsidised the Call Center by £2.1 million. Are the wages above the min wage? How much subsidy will the IW Council(Council Tax payers), have to pay in terms of Housing benefit?, and the taxpayer in terms of Working Tax credits/Universal Credits? I have in the past, sent many e-mails to Dave Stewart regarding the need to attract high skill Science/Technology employment to the… Read more »

Mr. Stewart was right about one thing; right at the end of the broadcast he said words to the effect that they were not all that good at communicating with the public.
They could make a start on here. Many of the Indies (and Geoff) chose to engage with commentors here and it is very quiet since the election.

Geoff Brodie

I still do contribute here occasionally, but I can’t do all opposition on my own.


All he gives a damn about is employment figures. Get skilled workers into minimum wage jobs so that they are not signing on.

I would imagine a lot of Gurit workers will be snapped up by other composites companies on the Island and along the south coast.


Not only that YJC, how much was the 10 year lease?


Complete and utter nonsense. Out of the 600 jobs how many will be full time? Not to mention the hoards of other applicants.


Clueless Muppet.

As if Gurit techs and engineers would want a job as a call centre drone.

Ian Young

Those who are now doing their best to earn a living in the Cowes call centre will find your description of them as drones rather offensive.

It’s not the first time you have used this term and not the first time I have challenged you.

Try being a little less dismissive of other people’s attempts to provide for themselves and their families.

I know a *lot* of people who have worked in these places. They, themselves, refer to the position as “call centre drone”. Largely due to the way their performance is constantly monitored and criticised. As I also stated before, it is the position that I describe as “call centre drone”, not the poor sods who have to fill it. So, kindly get off your high horse. Back… Read more »
Ian Young
For years I was involved with a Trade Union that had amongst its membership thousands of call centre workers. I have therefore visited many call centres across the south of England and within London. As with all workplaces there were good and not so good facilities but never have I heard jobs or individuals referred to as call centre drones, and not one of the call centre… Read more »

How about you answer the question. Are call centre jobs suitable for engineers and technicians made redundant from Gurit or BAE?

Ian Young
It is not for me, you or indeed Dave Stewart to comment on how individuals should move on from this difficult situation. Nevertheless as it is you who has been so disparaging of call centre jobs perhaps you can now tell us who you think should be working in these places. Please treat this as a rhetorical question as I have no wish to engage further with… Read more »

Yes they are suitable jobs, but for anyone that is out of work (or about to be) isn’t any job suitable?


It is interesting, Ian, that someone with *your* “left wing credentials” is more concerned about a supposed insult to some call centre workers than with yet more skilled jobs being lost on the IW.

That is, after all, what this article is about, yet you only deign to comment on my “insult” and actually refuse to comment on the issue at hand when asked.


No, they are *not* suitable jobs “greatergood”, and for one very simple reason.

If you are earning, say £30k in a skilled job, you probably need another job which pays near that to meet your financial commitments.

If you take a minimum wage job, not only will you be unable to meet those commitments, you will also be unable to attend interviews for jobs that *might* meet those commitments.