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Issue 6


ULR Forum

Andy Rowlands Streets Ahead at Warrington Learning Hubs QR Codes GMB ULR Celebration

Collective Win At Chester On 18th October the Reach Out project celebrated another significant milestone when the Chief Executive of Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC), Steve Robinson formally committed the Council to a learning agreement developed by GMB ULRs in association with their Unite and U n i s o n c o l l e a g u e s . The Council is a new single authority created by the merging of Ellesmere Port and Neston with the districts of

Chester and Vale Royal. Like other local authorities the new Council has had to contend with substantial cuts in funding for local government. Despite these pressures of restructuring and reorganisation the ULRs have worked tirelessly to get the learning agreement in place. The fact that the learning agreement has now been signed is testimony to the ULRs’ e f f e c ti v e n e s s a n d p o w e rs o f (continued inside)

CWAC Continued persuasion in stating the case for investing in the training and development of GMB colleagues

pleasure to help others and see how they progress; i t m e a n s a l o t t o m e . ”

in the workforce.

Matt Bowe, Reach Out Project Worker, “ULRs supported through local Trade Union Branches have worked long and hard with the authority to produce this agreement that will enable all employees’ access to learning, which meets their needs and the needs of the authority. With the partnership of CWAC the Trade Unions, and Providers the council has a fantastic opportunity through learning and development to achieve outstanding services to the communities they serve.”

Dawn Sweeney, lead ULR, “Learning can be an exciting process that changes lives; it can be the route to feeling good. To being able to do things well and to making life and the world around you a better place. That’s what makes the role of the ULR challenging and worthwhile. “ Barbara Griffiths, GMB ULR, “I wanted to progress at work and needed to fill gaps in my learning but had to find my own way. I became a ULR to help my colleagues by supporting and signposting them to their best advantage. Equality is one of the guiding principles of all trade unions, helping individuals access learning, whether at work or outside of work is one of the ways ULRs can address inequalities. Their initial help empowers many to pursue their o w n l e a r n i n g p r o g r e s s i o n and careers; it is the trigger to pursuing interests or hopes, when previous experience has taught them that if learning was the route then it wasn’t for them.” Dahlia Roslan, Unison ULR, “As English is not my first language, I had a fear of interaction. This fear stopped me wanting to do anything. CWAC has given me the opportunity to move to a supervisory role; in this role I have developed passion and patience to provide guidance. The ULR role has boosted my self esteem and confidence that I need to promote learning. It’s been a

September witnessed another successful GMB ULR Forum, held at the Preston office. It was good to see new faces and old friends at the event which covered topics from funding to digital inclusion and explored the problems facing learning at work projects across the region due to the recession. The lively discussions led to some great ideas being shared. We will be building on those ideas and exploring them further in due course. First time attendee, Christine Regan from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital said,

As further recognition of the work they have done in the community Barbara and Dahlia recently received an award from UnionLearn (pictured).

Prize Draw The GMB ULR Christmas Prize Draw took place on 21 December. The winners are: Barbara Griffiths - Amazon Kindle Paul Hindle - E-Photo Frame Lyndsay Haselden - Bottle of wine Alan Williams - Box of biscuits

“It was refreshing to find out that some of the struggles we have with our members and staff within the NHS are similar to those experienced by other sectors. I hope the feedback we gave will help inform future bids for ULF funding.” Attendance at these events is a great way of networking with other ULRs and discussing openly the challenges you might face as well as finding solutions that have worked for others. Keep your eye on the website or your e-mail for the date of the GMB ULR Forums in 2012.

Andy Rowlands - YODEL One thing after another I became a ULR in November 2010 after speaking to Dave Flanagan from GMB Reach Out. I had contacted Dave after seeing the Reach Out magazine while on a GMB course and we organised a meeting at the then DHL site at Risley. At the time we (transport) were under consultation for a proposed TUPE to Yodel Ltd. Our sister company PPL had undergone TUPE 12 months earlier. We arranged several meetings with management and the Reach Out team brought the “Learning Bus” onsite so that we could sign members up for skills for life courses. As we were preparing for this training to start, the company dropped a bomb shell on us by informing us that the Risley hub would be closing and that all PPL staff were at risk of redundancy. Dave and I had an emergency meeting and the result was that our staff training had now become a response to redundancy situation. The speed in which the Reach Out project responded was inspiring. We arranged meetings with managers and agreed 2 hrs paid release per shift for staff to

train in ITQ level 1. The tutors, Mel and Pete from St Antony’s Centre, worked nights and Mel even cancelled her holidays to ensure everybody got through their ITQ. On the 22nd July 2011 32 members left the company with ITQ level 1 qualifications and 4 members left with ITQ level 2 qualifications. If I hadn’t picked up that magazine and become a ULR, and the Reach Out project hadn’t been in place then these people (some of whom had been with the company for over 20 years) would have left with nothing. The employees still in employment in the Transport Section have now also gone through TUPE to become YODEL employees. I have been given the position of National GMB ULR Coordinator and I am in the process of promoting skills for life courses across the country with the help and mentoring of the Reach Out project.

Warrington Learner is Streets Ahead Denis Ashton, GMB ULR at Warrington Borough Council sent in this article about how ULR activity is helping colleagues with their learning. GMB Member and Street Scene employee Jason Jones, pictured here receiving his Certificate for Learner of the Year, is proof of the impact and benefit of the work undertaken by Union Learner Representatives at Warrington Borough Council. Jason's story started when he attended a Union run learning awareness day in 2010 at the Hawthorne Avenue depot. He spoke to his Union Learner Reps (ULRs) about assistance with his English and Maths. After a short assessment ULRs helped Jason get on to a Skills for Life course at Warrington Collegiate. His tutors found that Jason is dyslexic and provided a bespoke learning programme which has seen him go from s t r e n g t h t o s t r e n g t h . Jason commented: When I first went to the

Collegiate, I was very nervous and shy. Since I have been going I have enjoyed learning Maths,

English, working on the computer, writing letters, sending emails and much more. I love doing my homework and can't wait for the next class. It has encouraged me to join my local library to help with my reading. I have more confidence and enjoy learning things every week. The tutors are fantastic and dedicated to helping people like me. With my new found confidence I am now waiting to start my NVQ Level 2 which I would never have dreamt of doing a few years ago. The ULR activity at Warrington continues to be supported by the GMB Reach Out team. Project Worker Pete Callaghan said: It's fantastic

to hear Jason's story and it just goes to highlight the great work all the ULRs are doing within the Council.

GMB Reach Out Learning Hubs

GMB Reach Out contact details

Three new GMB Reach Out Learning Hubs are now open. The Centres are based at existing GMB offices and will be hosting a variety of courses to help members, their colleagues and their communities.

Greater Manchester & Cheshire St Antony’s Centre Eleventh Street Trafford Park Manchester M17 1JF

The three new learning hubs are located at: Oldham : 108 Union Street, Oldham, OL1 1DU Preston: The Textile Centre, 6 Sedgwick Street, Preston PR1 1TU Liverpool: Regional Office, Columbus Quay, Riverside Drive, Liverpool, L3 4GB Two Community Hubs exist in Trafford Park and Accrington: St Antony’s Centre, Eleventh Street, Trafford Park M17 1JF The Accrington Community Training (ACT) Centre, 25 Warner Street, Accrington BB5 1HN

Have you seen one of these before? Ever wondered what they are? These are called QR Codes and by scanning them with a smartphone you can visit webpages, enter competitions and much more. You may even have noticed them on television programmes. Scan this code or ask a colleague to show you how and see where you end up!!

* GMB ULR Celebration * Thursday 1st March 2012 , 6pm - 9pm * Malmaison Hotel, Manchester * Celebrate with ULRs, training providers and learners * from across the North West at this special event. date in your diary and keep an eye on our * Put the website or your e-mail for more details

Matt Bowe 07740 804056 Merseyside

For more details about upcoming events and courses contact the Reach Out Team

QR Codes

T: 0161 877 9439 F: 0161 872 9480

* * * * * *

Stay up to date with the latest union learning news from around the GMB North West & Irish Region by subscribing to the E-newsletter. Visit to receive it directly to your e-mail.

Pete Callaghan 07872 010857 Lancashire The ACT Centre 25 Warner Street Accrington Lancashire BB5 1HN T: 01254 238 443 Dave Flanagan: 07740 804050

w: e: Contract Manager Paul Callaghan 0161 848 9173 Project Manager Kevin Flanagan 07740 804042

GMB Reach Out Newsletter Issue 6  

Newsletter for the GMB North West & Irish Region Reach Out Project.

GMB Reach Out Newsletter Issue 6  

Newsletter for the GMB North West & Irish Region Reach Out Project.