2009 â€“ 11 WULF Project Evaluation Case Studies FBU Case Study Learner: Jon Doolan a fire fighter with 20 years of service currently stationed at Ely in Cardiff South Wales Fire and Rescue service. Background: Jon was not an active trade union official and was not involved in learning. He had a basic understanding of IT and was able to send e-mails and search for information via the internet. His skills were self-taught and gained from practical experience. Why learn: As part of the personal development review undertaken with his watch manager (line manager) he was allocated tasks requiring him to maintain and update computerised records of the stations activity in a specific area. Jon states that he found that his skills were not up to the task and he wasted time and had to repeat work. Outcome: As a result of seeing the poster advertising the e-learning opportunities he decided that he would improve his knowledge. He signed up to an excel level 1 course and found that it provided him with the skills that he wanted to be better able to complete the work with which he was tasked at station level. There was also the additional that he was able to utilise these new found skills at home and the family finances are better organised as a result. Learner evaluation: Jon liked the course and specifically the fact that as it provided access to all the learning materials for a year there was always the option to revisit things you had learned to ensure that you were getting it right. He also acknowledged that you had to exercise a degree of self-discipline in completing the study as there was no tutor to push you to progress. He would recommend e-learning as an option for anyone and felt that he got out of the course what he had hoped. A positive experience like this meant that he was more likely to look at other courses and give them a try and he has subsequently worked his way through a power point course. "I am a PC, windows 7 was my idea" Further Development: After a degree of thought Jon decided that he would like to help others and saw the role of the union learning representative as way of achieving that. He volunteered for the role and was adopted as the ULR for his branch at Ely in Cardiff. He is now a trained and active union learning representative and is looking to develop his role further in the future.
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CWU Case Study Jan has worked for BT and been a CWU member for 12 years. It was only when a friend, a trained CWU ULR, described her union role that Jan decided to take a more active part and has never looked back. The ULR explained that the CWU had been successful with their bid to the Wales Union Learning Fund (WULF) and that funding was available to enable their colleagues to undertake courses to help them up-skill, gain qualifications or just learn something new. By promoting these learning opportunities, together with the benefits that an up-skilled workforce would bring to BT, they were hopeful that they could create a sustainable learning culture at the site. A learning needs analysis was completed by the on-site ULRs with Jan’s assistance and it became obvious that language courses were very popular. Two Welsh courses were provided, with the classes taking place in the 5th floor conference room. These were both well attended, running for 12 months, with all the learners gaining OCN credits. Some of the learners wanted to advance further so an additional 12 month course was organised, again with the learners achieving OCN credits. During this period several potential learners approached Jan with regard to starting a conversational Spanish course. Jan discussed this with her ULR colleagues and knowing of a Spanish speaking colleague they asked her if she would be willing to teach for them. This proved to be a great success as, whilst these courses were ongoing, the Centre Manager, commented on the improved atmosphere in his call centre. It must also be remembered that these courses were attended in the learners’ own time, sometimes straight after finishing work, which in itself shows motivation for learning. Unfortunately Jan’s friend left BT, yet Jan continued giving assistance to the only ULR who was left. Time went on and eventually this ULR also left the company. Jan then took on the role of ULR for the site. She completed another learning needs analysis and found that her colleagues were now more interested in IT courses. Jan engaged the CWU Project Worker and the South Wales Branch in discussion regarding IT equipment and a secure Learning Centre in which they could be kept. The Branch have installed Broadband in their conference room and set up 4 desk top and 1 laptop computer. The CWU WULF Project provided 2 laptops and funding to provide e-learning courses. Amanda Harris, who works in BT My Customer Account, has made the most of the learning opportunities available to her and said “the courses provided by the CWU have renewed my interest in learning. Having completed the Welsh course, I’m now attending the Powerpoint course and undertaking an on-line learning course.” Jan has 7 people currently attending a Powerpoint course, which was organised at the bequest of her Centre Manager Mark Davies and 30 learners at various stages of the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) course. Jan hasn’t forgotten about developing herself as a ULR and has undergone the ULR 1 course attending the CWU Education and Training Centre - Alvescot, the CWU Equality & Diversity course, CWU Education Website training as well as WTUC workshops and courses including Dyslexia Awareness, Mental Health First Aid and
2009 – 11 WULF Project Evaluation Case Studies Basic Skills. In her own time she has attended a Presentation Skills course provided by the WEA in Cardiff and is currently undertaking the ECDL course provided by Learndirect, Coleg Glan Hafren. Jan feels that as a ULR you are also an ambassador for learning and the only way in which you can do this is by undertaking learning yourself. Jan recently took a very active part in a WULF Celebration Event organised by the WTUC and spoke in front of a large audience finishing “I have been inspired by my personal experiences of learning and the way it has changed my life. I never ever thought at a grand old age of 47 I would be back to learning new skills. My confidence has grown immensely, I would always be the one to shy away from anything challenging or putting myself in the limelight, and look at me now today I am stood here, in front of you all, sharing my experience.” Jan is very grateful for the support she has received from BT, the CWU, her colleagues and the WULF funding as without these she would never have become a ULR. USDAW Case Study The project supported access to learning at Shop Direct during the 12+ months between the announcement that the site would close and the date of closure. The site was already an active learning site and the employer worked with the ULRs to ensure that everyone had a ULR on hand when they met with management about the opportunities available, including a private company on site paid for by the company to give CV and job search skills. The ULRs offered additional advice about learning opportunities and worked with job centre plus and careers Wales to ensure a holistic package of support. WULF funding and funding available through the Usdaw negotiated site learning fund meant that all employees had access to collective courses organised in response to learning needs surveys – these included IT, First Aid, and Food Hygeine. There were also a series of 1:1s brokered by Usdaw held with over 40 people who were exploring the possibility of starting their own business. These looked at business planning, business finance and practical support to identify and learn to use appropriate accounting systems. Finally individuals were able to access a contribution to individual learning (from the site learning fund) for vocational courses. Individuals used this support to take childcare qualifications, NVQ in equine care, a brewery qualification, accounting qualifications and more. As individuals reached the end of their employment ULRs provided a link to Careers Wales and made sure that everyone was aware of the entitlement and rules applying to ReAct. Many individuals were able to access further learning through the scheme but others went straight into alternative employment on a full or part time basis.
2009 – 11 WULF Project Evaluation Case Studies Shop Direct was the largest employer in the area by some way, the only employer of it’s kind and one of the best paying. From the time of the announcement those working at the site were very aware that if they wished to stay in the area they would need to identify innovative ways of earning a living and/or re-skill and change vocation. This project enabled people to explore a range of learning and to develop the skills which they needed to effect some big life changes. There are now ex call centre workers qualified, employed or setting up businesses as tattooist, childcare workers, caterers, book keepers, tutors, IT technicians and landlord. It should be said that in some cases the learning journey had started 2+ years before as individuals had taken hobby or distance learning courses through the learning centre to develop skills that have now turned into a source of income.
Unison Case Study 1: Connecting Health through Learning in Mid and West Wales ABM Case Study – Maths for Healthcare Staff UK recognition for scheme to upskill nurses Practical tools and training developed by a Swansea specialist to help nurses hone maths skills and improve patient care has earned him recognition in a prestigious national journal. Paul Lee, Medical Devices Training Manager in the Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering Department, at Singleton Hospital, has had details of his work published in this week’s Nursing Standard. It follows research carried out by Paul in 2006 which earned him a first class honours degree from University of Wales, Newport. It also shares with clinicians across the UK the good practice, training initiatives and tools developed as a result of the research. Paul said: “Low confidence levels in maths calculations (a UK wide phenomenon) were identified, and the recommendations which were made in the study led directly to the design and development of training aids and tools for nursing staff that use and set up intravenous infusions.” These include - all launched in February • An on-line drip rate calculator tool to assist nurses in calculating rates for infusion therapy; • A five-week Numeracy Skills course for nurses in conjunction with the UNISON LEAP project • A series of pocket cards to help staff check infusion rates and drip rates in the clinical work area.
2009 – 11 WULF Project Evaluation Case Studies He added: “Discussions are now ongoing for the design and artwork for the pocket cards, with a view that they will be mass produced and made available across the whole of the organisation in the near future.” The paper has been published in the Nursing Standard the same week as the Wales-wide launch of the 1000 Lives Campaign, which aims to roll out good practice and reduce preventable errors in the NHS. Liz Rix interim Director of Nursing at ABM University NHS Trust said: “I’m delighted this work has received national recognition. The study has identified an important opportunity to improve still further the excellent skills of our nursing staff. “This research, and the practical measures which have resulted from it, are first-rate examples of how the NHS in Wales is striving to improve the care offered to patients by reducing risk.” Unison Case Study 2: Making the Learning Connections in Local Government in West Wales ‘Supporting Members through Change’ The idea for a course for ‘Supporting Members through Change / Onwards and Upwards’ was developed last April/May when the public sector deficit was announced and the subsequent spending cuts for local authorities were discussed. Although the scale and the area for cuts had not been specified, it seemed likely that there would be some redeployment or redundancies within councils over the next few years as a response to restrictions on expenditure. The project therefore felt that an appropriate response would be to equip ULRs with the skills and information to support their colleagues through a potentially difficult time of change. The main aim of the course would be to train ULRs to help colleagues to: o identify the skills they have o look for jobs in a variety of media o complete a job application form in the best possible way o understand the job application process o prepare for a job interview The main benefits of the programme would be: o As ULRs already have been trained in advice and guidance, they are an ideal group to train up to talk to colleagues and provide information on applying for jobs and preparing for an interview. o ULRs could identify any training needs people may have which could help them to apply for other jobs, and then access WULF funding to provide courses for their colleagues.
2009 – 11 WULF Project Evaluation Case Studies o To provide an opportunity for the branch to work with the employer and provide a positive outcome from a negative situation. The MTLC project (West) then worked with the Connecting Learners through Health project and the Learning & Development Officer from Bridgend CBC to devise a programme for the first course, held in Carmarthen in July 2010. ULRs attended from across West Wales – from both the NHS and local authorities. Feedback from the day was very good: delegates particularly found the application process/completed example forms useful but the use of the IT suite to look at Open University courses was not seen as so relevant. The course then evolved after feedback and discussions with other UNISON project managers in south Wales and has since been held successfully in Bridgend and Merthyr Tydfil. The inclusion of new subjects, such as the session on ‘The Change House / Change Curve’ theories has proved very popular and helped union reps to understand the series of emotions that people will go through during a period of stressful change, and where best they can help. The course materials were also sent on to UNISON’s Learning and Organising Services in London who have since incorporated some of the information into a UKwide publication for helping members/employees to improve their jobsearch skills: ‘Moving On: Supporting UNISON members facing redundancy’. Unison Case Study 3: Connecting Health through Learning in South East Wales Two case studies are provided, to illustrate how the project worked with partners and stakeholders to deliver on its objectives during challenging times. Leadership Coaching and Communication A major challenge for the project has been translating the project objectives into meaningful activity within the Local Health Boards that meets the project requirements, meets learner needs and also satisfies key organisational needs. One example in particular illustrates how these often conflicting needs are addressed. Through discussions with the Leadership Programme Manager (Facilitator) it was possible to identify a way in which the project could support teams whose managers were completing coaching training and development. The Leadership Programme Manager was able to feed information to the Project Manager about ‘issues’ identified by senior management coaches with regard to team communications and workplace behaviour. The Senior Managers had held coaching meetings with their middle managers, who identified development for themselves and also for their operational teams. The Project was able to arrange training for front line staff in these instances, which helped teams develop positive workplace behaviours, and to improve communication, thereby improving Essential Skills to improve workplace communications and harmony. The programme is ongoing and is regarded as highly successful within the LHB, with the project supporting staff in what are often difficult workplace situations where an essentials skills deficit is the root problem. This strategy could be extended across the LHBs in the area in the future.
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Developing Services – Autism Understanding On a smaller scale than the first case study, but having more of a profound impact is the work done by the project in facilitating the Open University Understanding Autism module. The taster session was promoted throughout the LHB and was attended by a range of organisations and staff. For example, the LHB Lead for the development of the ASD Services and the Head of Research & Development for Cerebra. The event was facilitated by the Open University and generated much interest in the module and the OU Openings courses, but also established a communications network so that interested parties could establish a longer working relationship. This case study shows how organising Essential Skills activities around a specialist interest topic with service development implications helps align learning strategy up through the organisation/LHB and out across the service. The net effect is collaborative learning and development in Essential Skills among other areas. Unison Case Study 4: Making the Learning Connections in Local Government in East Wales Working in Partnership with the WEA and Cardiff City Council in developing a bespoke course, First Steps, to support employees who may be faced with the threat of redeployment or redundancy gain appropriate and useful skills development The idea for this course was first developed in May 2010 when the public sector spending cuts were announced and it was envisaged that huge changes would affect local government workers. The worst case scenario was seen to be redeployment and redundancy with the acknowledgement that some members of staff may actually see changes as positive and may want to gain new skills in order to apply for different roles. Whatever reason, it was identified at this point that there was no provision, support or development offered within any of the authorities corporate training programmes to use as a foundation in developing staffs’ skills to be able to cope with the imminent changes. MTLC east, Unison’s Regional Officer Education and the WEA worked together to develop a two day course that could be delivered both accredited and non accredited. The elements covered are as follows: • Managing change • Thinking positively about the future • Health and well-being • Where to go for advice on budgeting, pensions and investments • Voluntary work opportunities • Learning opportunities • Social enterprise – is it for me? • CV writing and interview skills • Planning ahead • Personal planning (this element is OCN accredited) The objectives of the course include: • Have an understanding of how change affects you • Be able to look positively and proactively at change • Have developed and practised some skills for coping with change
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Be able to make a positive contribution to change at work Have set your own personal action plan for change
Originally this course was promoted and marketed to all Unison members within South East Wales with 2 courses scheduled to run in Pontypridd and Cardiff during October. Surprisingly there was no interest received at all for these dates and the 2 courses were therefore cancelled. However promotion of the course continued through the project and the interest and queries for such a course gained momentum from January 2011 onwards. Within Cardiff City council all learning, training and workforce development initiatives have now been encompassed under one umbrella called the ‘Academy’. Whilst it is linked to their service improvement programme it is also a way of helping to mitigate against compulsory redundancies and enabling people to ‘properly’ re-train to gain the skills to enable the Council to recruit from within their redeployment pool and people at risk of redundancy, who will be given opportunities to re-train. Many staff at risk haven’t, for example, filled in an application form for employment for many years and don’t have the confidence and skills to do so and now find themselves potentially at risk. The MTLC project in partnership with the Cardiff County Unison branch and Regional Unison staff offered support through the project and support the Academy programme in delivering the Coping With Change course which has been re-branded ‘first steps’. Executive and Senior Management have fully supported and welcomed the assistance that the project and Unison has offered and feedback from the majority of learners has been described as ‘excellent’.
NUJ Case Study Victoria Trott, Freelance Travel Writer Working as a freelance journalist in a highly competitive and changing industry can be exceptionally challenging on several levels: Obtaining work in highly competitive market Maintaining work consistency Finding out which skills are needed to remain competitive or expand one’s portfolio in the right direction Developing the right skills to remain competitive Affording relevant training (including cost of training and loss of earning for the time taken to train) Isolation with negative ramification such as lack of: communication, information, advice and motivation. Even though a successful travel writer specialising in France, Vicky acknowledged that, to a greater or lesser extent, she has faced one or more of the above challenges. “However, NUJ Training Wales has been of great benefit,” she says. “It’s been an excellent initiative and I know that many people feel the same from those I have talked to on the courses.”
2009 – 11 WULF Project Evaluation Case Studies The benefits that Vicky mentions include: Affordability “As the course prices were such great value, I was able to attend several, both specifically focused on freelancers and also those orientated on new media,” says Vicky. “This enabled me to take a good look at my overall skills portfolio and develop several key areas in a short space of time.” Accessibility “While I’ve attended a couple of courses in London in the past, I wouldn’t have been able to afford the time or money to get trained in the areas I thought necessary if the NUJ hadn’t launched its course programme locally,” Vicky says. “ I know that many people have never attended training courses before for similar reasons.” Essential Skills training on several levels NUJ Training is member led and responsive to industry skills demand. The training courses provided on the project addressed all the above challenges for freelancers (as well as workplace challenges). For example, Vicky attended two freelance specific courses, ‘Freelance Survival Guide’ and ‘Develop your Freelance Capabilities. “Both these courses helped me assess how effective I am at the ‘business of freelancing’ and highlighted ways of gaining new work and maintaining work consistency,” she says. Vicky also attended courses that concentrated on the skills necessary to work with developing technology: “Learning about new media and keeping up with the developments in this area is a must for any journalist – whether to extend their skills portfolio or to use as marketing tools to promote their work,” Vicky says. “Maximising the potential of Social Media and Blogging for Different Audiences gave me a clearer insight as well as helped me develop new skills. I’ve now re-launched my website as a result.” Networking & Raising Awareness “As I’m busy and travel so much of the time, it’s easy to fall out of the loop as far as skills development goes,” Vicky says. “NUJ Training has offered plenty of useful information and the networking events have meant that I have had the chance to learn more about industry developments. Both the training courses and events demonstrated that learning can be enjoyable too!” GMB Case Study Clariant (Pontypridd) Clariant is a petro chemicals plant in Llantwit Fadre near Pontypridd, they employ around 110 people. They first engaged with the project in May 2009 when discussions regarding potential redundancies first occurred. Initially the skills service provided advice and guidance regarding support from ReAct and indentified funding from the project for generic and essential skills. Initially the number of redundancies and the timescales were very unclear.
2009 – 11 WULF Project Evaluation Case Studies Due to the economic difficulties of that period the employer was examining the possibility of relocating the work undertaken by the plant to factories abroad. However, small numbers of voluntary redundancies occurred and the plant subsequently seemed to be safe. The project remained in contact with the company and when they surprisingly announced a factory closure early in 2010 they were already in a good position to access the support from the GMB skills service. The situation in the Clariant is one of extreme uncertainty with no – one (including local management) clear as to exactly when the plant would close and which employees would go first and which lines would be shut down first. Initially the plant was to close in February 2011 but timescales have slipped continuously until it is now possible that some sections of the workforce may remain until December 2011. This situation is sadly quite common and causes problems for many of the support programmes in terms of release, Careers Wales sessions and timing of course enrolment. However, the project undertook the following supporting roles: Negotiated with management for a programme of relevant courses and advice & guidance sessions with the trained ULRs, Wales TUC staff and also Careers Wales (with paid release for all employees) Job Centre Plus organised regular job vacancy bulletins The project set up a learning resource centre on site The project held employment and skills seminars for all employees The project recruited over 30 employees for jobsearch and cv writing courses as well as ICT and some communication skills courses The project continues to hold open advice and guidance sessions for all employees The uncertainty continues within Clariant and whilst some employees have already left, the majority will be leaving sometime between now and December 2011. The GMB skills service established by this project will continue to offer support, provide courses and liaise with other agencies such as Careers Wales and JCP to maximise the support for employees at the plant. Wilkinson Distribution Centre (Magor) In contrast to the Calriant case, the Wilkinson depot I Magor has engaged with the GMB project in a more positive manner with no issues regarding closure or large scale redundancies. However, when the project engaged with GMB branch on site they were experiencing difficulties in the economic downturn. The situation improved with the small recovery within the economy and the skills service was able to develop a more medium to long term approach to this workplace in comparison to other workplace partners such as Clariant. For example, as there was no likelihood of a total closure, the project was able to jointly fund a learning centre on the shop floor with a view that it could support potential redundancies but also provide key training and development for the staff that remained. Over 800 employees have access to this centre. The learning opportunities also mirrored less short term ‘fire fighting’ type courses as those in Clariant and other workplaces. Courses such as literacy and numeracy from entry level 2 to level 1. In addition, sign language courses and ICT have also been completed. ULRs were recruited and trained to provide longer term advice and guidance.
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PCS Case Study Due to the delays we experienced with the accreditation of the PCS Wales Women’s Development course we worked closely with WTUC to look at other ways to address the development of Women within our workplaces. Nationally the TUC hold a Women’s Summer School for women trade unionists. The Project Manager researched this opportunity; however it was felt cost prohibitive and restrictive to send women to take part. As a result of this PCS worked in partnership with WTUC and developed a three day residential event that was open to all female, civil servants in Wales. The event was a mix of workshops and presentations and high profile women speakers, Jane Hutt AM and Julie Morgan AM, with the highlight being a guided tour of the Senedd and the opportunity to observe a plenary session. Jess C is a research officer with the ONS (Office for National Statistics) and was one of the delegates at the inaugural PCS Women’s Summer School. Jess thoroughly enjoyed the event and has developed further as she describes below:“Since attending the PCS Wales Women's Summer School I have set up a Women's network within ONS. The network was set up to address some of the issues that affect women within the organisation, and to offer information and practical advice. After consulting with members, I decided to run a series of short events covering a number of topics which members identified as areas of concern. The first event was held in January and covered women and pensions. It was attended by around 60 women, and I also arranged for a financial advisor to spend two days in the office giving free one-to-one consultations on member’s individual pensions. The second event was held in March and was attended by about 60 people, and was on work-life balance. We had a guest speaker from 'Working Families' who presented at the event and then ran a practical workshop in the afternoon on how to prioritise your time. The next event is being held in June and will cover domestic abuse, with a guest speaker from the Equality and Human Rights Commission. The events have been run in a relaxed, informal manner so that members feel comfortable to ask questions and discuss their concerns, and I have received some really positive feedback” Feedback from the events organised and held have been extremely positive, the Women’s network in ONS is not just confined to PCS members and is open to all female employees. The June event is eagerly anticipated. Community Case Study I met the First Minister for Wales and spoke to him in Welsh. “Learning Welsh is not easy, especially for a Chinese person whose first language is not English. However, with the continuous support from Gower College Swansea (where I am learning Welsh) and the Community Trade Union (which has sponsored my Welsh course through their Wales Union Learning Fund Project), I was able to achieve ‘Entry Level 3 Certificate in Welsh Second Language’ which allowed me to speak with the First Minister for Wales in Welsh.”
2009 – 11 WULF Project Evaluation Case Studies This is my story – The Chinese Welsh learner from Tata Steel Port Talbot Dear friends / colleagues, I am Edward (Yi) He. I come from Chongqing in China but I’m now living in Swansea and working as an Improvement Engineer for Tata Steel in Port Talbot. I’m studying a part time postgraduate research course (sponsored by Tata Steel) at Swansea University and in my spare time I’ve been learning Welsh at Gower College Swansea since 2009. I met the First Minister for Wales, Carwyn Jones AM, at Swansea University on Monday 28th March 2011. The First Minister came to Swansea University to give an address to the staff and students of the University on ‘Global Wales’. As a student of the University, I had the invite and was able to meet the First Minister in person. I introduced myself and had a brief conversation with the First Minister in Welsh. I was very pleased that the audience understood my Welsh. I think that the First Minister was surprised and I hope also a little impressed to hear a Chinese person speaking in Welsh with him. During a later conversation with the Vice Chancellor, Professor Richard Davies, of Swansea University, the VC had commented very positively about the strong partnership between the University and Tata Steel Strip Products (TSSP) UK and commended the commitment that TSSP has given to its employees in terms of academic and professional development. I will carry on my Welsh learning and my dream is to become a fluent Chinese Welsh speaker in the future. I also hope that my story will inspire more Chinese people to find out more about Wales and more Welsh people to find out about China. Finally, I would like to thank my Welsh teacher, Sheila Geary form Gower College Swansea and the Community Trade Union for their help and support. Best regards Edward (Yi) He
2009 – 11 WULF Project Evaluation Case Studies Unite Case Study MIKE RIVERS, UNITE LEAD ULR TATA STEEL (PREVIOUSLY CORUS) PORT TALBOT
Mike currently works in the Coke Oven section of Tata Steel Port Talbot. Mike is the Chairman, Shop Steward Safety Rep and Lead Union Learning Rep of Unite the Union (Electrical Branch) Tata Steel Port Talbot. Mike worked for 20 years in the Mining Industry were he was Craftsman rep and took part in the Miner’s strike 1984-1985 and has seen the effect of the closures of the Pits on the community. As Unite Chairman, Mike has dealt with a number of issues on site over the years, from minor cases to more serious cases such as representing members in dismissal procedures. During a learning day at the Swansea WEA in 2009, Mike was horrified to learn that Neath and Port Talbot has one of the worst suicide rates for men in the country. He was determined to find out more and to do something to change the frightening statistics As a Union Learning Rep he approached Unites WULF team and asked for financial support to help address the problem. Since then Mike has run six Mental Health First Aid courses through Mind/Cmyru in Tata Steel Port Talbot and a further course at Seven Sisters Community Centre. To date 92 co-workers, fully funded by Unites Step Up To Learning Project, from all areas of the Port Talbot Site have successfully completed an accredited Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) course through MIND. In May 2010 Mike was presented with the Niace Dyscu Cymru Director’s Award for his outstanding achievements in raising awareness of Mental Health issues and for inspiring so many people to take up learning. He shared this award with Scott Quinnell.
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Mike Rivers receiving his Director’s Award alongside Scott Quinnell. Whilst it was an honour to win such a prestigious award, Mike remained modest and was much more pleased that Mental Health issues in the workplace were being publically recognised and highlighted. Mike went on to give an excellent presentation on Mental Health in the Workplace on behalf of MIND at Hugh James Solicitors and has received a ‘Highly Commended’ under the Wales TUC Union Learning Rep of the Year Award scheme. Mike has also completed the ASIST course with deals more in depth with the more sensitive issue of suicide and chronic depression and hopes to sign up for two year Counselling course following his retirement in four years time. Mikes enthusiasm for learning and promoting this very sensitive subject in a male dominated environment has been infectious, making a very real difference to him, his colleagues and his workplace. He leads from the front, and by example, and has used the extra confidence gained from his learning experiences to successfully stand as a local councillor in Port Talbot area Mike actively uses his newly acquired role as local councillor to promote Mental Health issues in the local community. As a result of his achievements in raising awareness, Tata Steel are currently looking to incorporate Mental Heath Awareness training into their core ‘Drug and Alcohol’ policy for everyone on site.