10/09/2013 Midlands Today


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Hello and welcome to Midlands Today. The headlines tonight: A huge boost


for the region's economy as Jaguar Land Rover creates 1,700 new jobs at


its Solihull plant. It will be the birth of a new generation of


vehicles, brand—new architecture, it represents significant increase in


employment here. We'll be looking at why that


announcement could mean thousands more jobs for components companies.


Safety over culture. A college says it won't drop a ban on students


covering their faces. It's up to people if they want to wear red, I


don't think the college should ban it. I think people should be able to


do whatever they want, whenever they want.


I'm on Cannock Chase in Staffordshire where volunteers have


just a few weeks to uncover a page of First World War history that's


right beneath my feet. As Staffordshire launches a Great


War Trail in time for next year's commemorations, we'll be finding out


how half a million men trained for the trenches right here. Very few


people realised it was going to be a long war and the scale of the


casualties took everyone by surprise, not just the Rogers, the


Germans, the French, the Russians. And it's out with the sunshine, in


with the rain. If you want the finer details — of course, I'll have those


for you in the forecast later. Good evening. A vote of confidence


tonight for the region's car industry with news of more jobs and


massive investment at Jaguar Land Rover. The company's Indian owners


Tata are ploughing another £1.5 billion into the luxury car maker.


There'll be 1,700 new jobs, most of them at the Land Rover plant in


Solihull. With cars selling as fast as JLR can make them, some industry


experts predict production will double to 750,000 cars a year by


2020. Here's our business correspondent Peter Plisner. This


ruling 300 acre site at Solihull, it is already a busy factory with cars


being made 24 hours a day. The it's going to get even busier with yet


another action line. This time policing a new range of Jaguar


models. This is one of them, a 4—wheel drive, unveiled last night


at the Frankfurt motor show. The new vehicle will have an alimony body,


it is technology the company plans to use on most new models from now


on. It is part of an investment worth £1.5 billion. This is where


some of the investment announced today is being spent. Currently


under construction, this will become a new body shop for several Jaguar


and Land Rover models, it is around 50,000 square feet, the same size as


seven football pitches. We have a very skilled, motivated workforce.


Even when we went to the recession, we knew that when the bounce back


came, we knew we had to keep them ready to build cars. So when the


boom came, we were ready to hit the ground running with good products.


It's a remarkable turnaround. Four years ago the Indian owners Tata had


plans to close this plant or its sister plant. But cry from emerging


markets mean that instead it has announced plans for other plants.


New jobs at stake your Land Rover means more implement of the region


's automotive suppliers. This firm has expanded fast. The workload is


increasing day by day, week on week. A lot of new models coming through,


the quality is increasing. Meanwhile back at Solihull, employees like


Wayne are delighted at the latest investment. It is surprising in the


current market but not surprising in how well they are selling, as long


as they continue to sell, we will continue to employ people. Can


growth at Jaguar Land Rover last? Some analysts are warning against


expending too far. They need to expand to compete but I think there


is an level at which I would be unhappy to see them go beyond, and I


would put them level at roundabout 10%. The construction that is under


way means even more capacity at the cellar whole factory and there are


predictions that our from all of the plants could more than double by the


year 2020. Peter, they are not hanging around with this expansion,


they? Know, construction is under way as you saw in my film. Tonight


we are inside another plant here, it was opened last year to produce the


range Rover sport and all new range Rover. Now the investment is £1.5


billion, it is a massive investments, what is it mean for the


region 's manufacturers? Is good news for the company but is it such


good news for the supply chain? It's great news for the supply chain and


it gives the confidence to begin to make those investments that are


really needed to support Jaguar Land Rover to get vehicles out. It is all


new technology here, does it mean companies will have to invest in new


technology there and? Definitely, it means that companies who have been


investing and growing their skills base are well ahead of the game and


although we will be first in line, not just Jaguar Land Rover, it is


other suppliers across the region. It's all based on predictions,


projections on sales from the Far East, can it continue? We believe


so, because it is premium brands of any type that are selling overseas.


Demand in the UK is rising as well. Many thanks. Certainly good news


here, and it would appear good news for the region 's manufacturers as


well. Coming up later in the programme


unearthed under Cannock Chase — the world war one relic depicting one of


the most successful offensives of the Great War.


A Birmingham college has defended a ban on students covering their


faces. It comes after a Muslim student at Birmingham Metropolitan


College complained that she wasn't allowed to wear her veil. The


college says its policy was brought in for security reasons and has been


in place for a number of years without complaint. Here's Cath


Mackie. Rido Farah arrives at Birmingham


Metropolitan College where's she's interested in enrolling on an


English course. But she learns she won't be allowed to cover her face.


It is unfair and it is wrong, because we'd education, but the


education is what we need to learn. The college is one of the largest in


the country — with 35,000 students across 11 sites. It's a cultural


melting pot. They say they have a robust diversity and inclusion


policy, but safety is a priority. So this isn't just about niqabs — the


college say students can't wear anything which covers their face be


it a hoodie or a cap. It's been the policy for ten years and they say


it's working. We need to see their face. We have students from the age


of 11 through to 19, we have a whole range of visitors coming into the


organisation, we have patients who we care for. We need to know who is


in the building from the safeguarding perspective. 99% of the


time the person is who they say they are behind the veil. But it could be


the 1% that they are not, so you see where I'm coming from. You


sympathise with the college? Yes. I don't wear one but I don't do the


college should and eight. If it is their religion, why should anybody


stop it? It's perhaps a sign of the political times that the ban on


niqabs is making headlines. France, Belgium and Italy have already


banned the full face veil. Other countries are considering it. They


have made a very informed choice to wear the niqab, and they should be


allowed to do this. Without anybody else imposing what I believe is


their Eurocentric values and beliefs. As for Rido, who's from


Somalia, she'd like to be a teaching assistant. You would like to come


here? Yes. If they stop it, I believe that I cannot go. The


college say as yet, they've had no complaint from any student about the


policy. Over to Nick now on Cannock Chase —


the scene of some quite remarkable World War One finds. Yes, plans to


mark the centenary of the start of the First World War in 1914 are well


underway across the region. Every town and village has a story to


tell, such was the nature of the conflict, but actually, I am on


Cannock Chase right now in Staffordshire, as you gathered. It


is really well known for its beta full scenery and the herds of deer


running free —— beautiful scenery. But during World War I, half a


million soldiers were based here, they trained here, they lived here.


One of the towns is this one, where I am right now. As you look around,


you will see teams of volunteers and archaeologists beavering away,


trying to uncover lost relic of that time. It is an extraordinary 3—D


model which stretches round this field and it was used to show


soldiers the sort of terrain they would face when they went down to


France and Flanders. Louise has been following their progress. Hidden for


60 years, archaeologists and volunteers are carefully exposing an


important part of Staffordshire 's history. It will help us tell the


story of the site and of Cannock Chase 's role in the great War. That


role is an important one. The model itself is crucial. It's the only


surviving model in the country. 2—macro huge military training camps


were based teacher in the First World War. This mock—up was built


here after the successful battle in Nottingham 16. This is roughly the


size of two tennis courts. It was used to train troops from the front


line. Model is very detailed, you can still make out the trenches,


roads and buildings. At some of it has been damaged over the years. It


surprise winner of the volunteers who himself has recently served the


Army. —— one of the volunteers. It would be a small pit, a few feet


wide, but nothing on this sort of scale. The team are delighted at how


much of the model survives. In areas where we know there was just as grey


rather than a concrete surface, that was degraded so we have lost that.


But at the moment in the areas we're looking at, we have incredible


survival. The excavation is expected to take another three weeks. It will


then be scanned and photographed in the smallest detail and reburied to


preserve it for future generations. With now is an amateur historian who


discovered this site in the first place. How did this actually happen?


Purely by accident, walking the dog one Sunday morning, found it wasn't


a stick, it was a bit of concrete, thought something wasn't quite


right, I brought my friend with me as a member of the project, and with


decks of this. And got into trouble! Yes, a cease and desist


from the council. But we have been researching ever since. Once you


start looking at trenches, because I have been interested in this since I


was a child... Briefly describe that, some of the detail is


incredible. These are some of the second reserve trenches, with the


front over here, you have got some contour lines, if uses the thick


area which turned and swirls round, that is like Trent railway, to bring


munitions and food. You found it quite exciting? Absolutely.Here in


Staffordshire, they will be making the most of marking the centenary of


the start of the First World War was a great ball trail. —— with a Great


War Trail. This was a conflict many thought would be the complete to end


all wars because of the horrific number of casualties.


Hundreds of thousands of soldiers were sent out from Staffordshire to


fight in the trenches during the Great War. So it's fitting the


county is now such a focal point for remembering their sacrifices. No


body's forgotten here and we hope people will come from all around the


world to remember the fallen. The National Memorial Arboretum at


Alrewas is already home to striking tributes to First World War


soldiers. Every year people from Australia and New Zealand come to


Staffordshire to commemorate the Gallipoli campaign. This solitary


tree is grown from an acorn found on the Somme battlefields. And this


memorial represents the 306 soldiers shot at dawn for refusing to fight.


It commemorates a group of men who would have been beyond the pale for


many years. Now they are brought into the fold. These poignant


memorials are to become part of an official Staffordshire First World


War Trail to mark the conflict's centenary — linking areas of the


county forever association with the period. Those in charge of the


project say Cannock Chase alone has hundreds of war stories to tell.


It's very peaceful here but it wouldn't have been during the war?


It wouldn't, it would have been a hive of activity, troops practising


for the Western front, digging trenches, throwing hand grenades,


practising sniping skills. Half a million soldiers were trained on the


Chase. Some of the best archeology. We're looking at imaginative ways


tell the story. The trail will also take visitors to two cemeteries on


the Chase — scores of New Zealanders stationed here died not in battle,


but in the great influenza epidemic at the end of the war. German


prisoners of war expecting to be freed watched in horror as the


illness spread. As for the local men who made the ultimate sacrifice,


their bravery is remembered at the Staffordshire Regiment Museum near


Lichfield. Here, as part of the commemorations, they're planning to


carry out mock recruitments in several towns as part of a living


history project. They thought it was like an adventure, very few people


realised it was going to be a long war. Our team would like to set up a


recruiting stand in different towns, get people to recruit, sign


at a station, have a metal call —— medical and show people what it was


like. Nearly 100 years may have passed. The last soldiers have died.


But what they did for county and country will live on during the


coming centenary. All fascinating stuff, but the, to you in the


studio. Back in the 1980s two roommates at


Harvard University founded something called "City Year", It was a


mentoring scheme built on the conviction that one person can make


a difference. Today the same scheme was launched in Birmingham with the


aim of tackling underachievement and poor motivation in schools. Holly


Lewis reports. Hoping their enthusiasm will bear


fruit. These 45 volunteers, all from the West Midlands will spend a year


mentoring youngsters in five inner city Birmingham schools. Their job


is to inspire children to stick with education and engender a love of


learning by drawing along side them. One of schools is Parkfield


Community in Saltley where graduate Andy Philpot is on the front line. I


don't think there is anything more valuable all worthwhile than being


that role model, that inspiration for other people. The teams spend


one days a week training, learning skills to help them find work when


they leave. But would so many have signed up if there were more job


opportunities this year? I think it would still have appealed to me, it


is about doing something for your community, it is good to try


different things, do something you enjoy. The children have welcomed


the volunteers but headteacher say they're no subsitute for qualified


teachers and classroom assistants. I see them as enhancing everything we


do here, they are not teaching, they are supporting the teaching and


learning. If someone is lonely, they help me play with them. They help us


with a question we are stuck on. They try to make everyone happy as


well. The charity's is backed by President Obama and aims high. It's


motto is 'give a year, change the world'.


Four people have been arrested by officers policing the anti badger


cull protests in Gloucestershire. A man and three women — aged between


23 and 46 — are being held on suspicion of theft and aggravated


trespass. Around 5,000 badgers are due to be shot over the next five


weeks to try to stop the spread of TB from to cattle.


More than 20,000 cricket fans will head for Edgbaston tomorrow, hoping


that England can beat the weather, and Australia. But they're without


several star names and one former England captain says disappointed


fans should get their money back. Ian Winter reports. Grey skies over


Edgbaston means a long, hot, is now a warm sporting memory. England were


sizzling, but now they are in danger of this link to defeat. 1—0 down


with three to play, the pressure is on to this experimental team. The


reason is absolutely spot on, we have to look after our best players,


while looking at the next generation coming through. Whilst England were


preparing, Michael Vaughan was pedalling through Cannock Chase on a


bike ride. A couple of weeks ago he ruffled a few feathers by tweeting


that fans deserve their money back because too many of our Ashes heroes


were absent. You have to be careful that people don't write tickets when


you are not... It is like going to see one direction and a couple of


them don't rock out. I think it is harsh, it said in haste from


Michael. The big question, do the England fans think he was right? I


would be devastated if I bought a ticket, you buy it months in advance


and you want to see the top stars. I think it's good to see the new


players commit said we miss out on some of the top players but we just


have to work with what we have got. Michael Vaughan is startling to all


the one—day international venues, raising money for charity. ——


cycling. When he gets to Edgbaston, you might see the younger players


grasp their own opportunity to shine against straight year. —— against


Australia. That go back to Nick now. Yes, that's right, the


volunteers are still working hard into the early evening, a bit of


sunlight, one of the volunteers here is run. How is it going? We're


preparing the ground so we can do the 3—D process. How are your knees?


Not too bad unless I stand up! Some wonderful stuff is being laid out


here, it has grown before my eyes. Stephen is the county archaeologist


for Staffordshire. Why is this so important? It is unique in this


country. There are no others we know of in the British Isles, even on the


Western front, it's quite a rare survivor. The detail it is


astonishing, what are we looking at? What we are studying —— —— ceiling


is Messines, after years of this emotion. This is further out, we


have the various defensive lines, the first second defensive line, and


further out, the first defensive line. It was a very important


battle? Absolutely, it is commemorating the New Zealanders but


also acting as a training tool. There is a wealth of photographic


material that still remains that remarkable time. One of my


favourites is the officers' mess at Brocton Camp. Just a wooden hut,


though they still managed to make it pretty civilised. But for the


ordinary soldiers, what type of entertainment was available in the


towns and cities when they could get away from training? Our arts


reporter Satnam Rana has been investigating. It was the era of


silent cinema.and during World War One American director DW Griffiths


was rising to fame. Birth of a Nation was just one of the films


shown here at Birmingham's Electric Cinema in 1916. This cinema was a


single screen and it was a single story, so it was long and thin, the


screen would have been small. It would've been quite dark, smoky.


Uncomfortable. But it was here where many people found their escape. As


war set in, cinema new rules would increasingly be used for propaganda.


—— newsreels. Troops and civilians still craved the music hall


artists.and this lady was leading the way. Billed as the'


Staffordshire Cinderella,' Gertie Gitana was born Stoke—onTrent — she


was the forces babe. She often entertained the war wounded in


hospitals. War though, came with its challenges for those working in arts


and entertainement. Sir Perry Jackson opened the Birmingham


repertory Theatre in 1913. His vision was to serve the art rather


than make it so they commercial purpose, so he wasn't trying to make


a commercial profit from the work you did. It was part of a movement


to make theatre more about political issues and social issues. But as war


set in times were hard. Every Sunday actors that remained went to work at


the Birmingham Aluminium Casting Company to make shell cases. And


with most men away, Maud Gill became the first female stage manager. One


constant though, was the pub. Today, the Pub standards that would have


backed them. Dominoes, sing songs and regular points were drunk. The


big curtailment was on alcohol and drinking, where Lloyd George seemed


to feel that alcohol was as much of a danger as the Germans and the


Austrians, so there was a restriction on the amount of hours


pubs were opened, there was a solution on the beer so it wasn't so


strong, there was a ban on people treating other people to be a! To


stop and drinking rounds. As war progressed it was important to keep


spirits through arts and entertainment.


The sun has gone down now, it is a bit chilly, I wonder what the


forecast is? If you got the sunshine, you were


lucky but unfortunately, that is probably the best you will get this


week. We have low pressure to the east and from tomorrow, we have this


chain of systems toppling in one by one from the North—West. We have a


warm sector which will lift the temperatures by Thursday, so by this


stage, Thursday is looking at the warmest day of the week. I shouldn't


get too excited because the temperatures will range from between


18 to 20 only and it is going to be accompanied by Dell, damp weather.


We have some cloud sitting above eastern parts of the region, which


will slowly break up through the night. If we get any clearer spells,


they could drop as low as eight or nine Celsius in the countryside.


It's mostly dry overnight. Through the morning tomorrow, speck of


sunshine or two in the South—East. Then the crowd begins to pile in


from this first front, bringing in some mostly light rain. In the


north, only 13, from that perspective, tomorrow night could


quite warm. Temperatures will only drop by a degree or two. A lot of


cloud and eventually it will dry up. As we look further ahead, for the


rest of the week, Thursday will be the warmest day, a lot of cloud,


rain later on in the day and it will turn heavier by Friday and cooler by


that stage two. Michael Le Vell, the courage and


straight actor, had been found not guilty of 12 rape and child abuse


charges —— Coronation Street actor. We will be back at 10pm looking in


more detail at what the Jaguar Land Rover announcement means for the




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