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onward with North West unionlearn and North West TUC

Go on! It’s the Campaign for Digital Inclusion

Apprenticeships are union business 3 ■  Commitment to Equality and Diversity: a Union Issue  4 ■  Go On!  6 ■  It’s the Campaign for Digital Inclusion! 7 ■ Changes to Maths and English qualifications 10 ■ Learning Centre Broadband Launch at HMRC in Trinity Bridge House, Salford 11 ■ Working in Partnership in the NHS 11 ■ Looking for some Summer Reading? 12 ■ Sustainability of union learning: Usdaw’s ‘Nine Steps to Success’ 12 ■ Adult Learning Week 13 ■ ULF update 14 ■ unionlearn Publications 15 ■ Diary Dates 15 ■ Communication and Contacts 16

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onward Welcome to the latest edition of Onward, Welcome to another edition of onward, our first of the 2012–13 year. The year started well with some good news in the continuing support from Government for unionlearn and the Union Learning Fund (ULF). This is an endorsement of the value of union-led learning and the work of Union Learning Reps in workplaces throughout the UK. Many affiliate unions have been successful in obtaining funding from the latest round of ULF. There are more details on this on page 14. It is good news that so many unions have this to support work on learning. Unions and unionlearn continue to face a high level of change. The reduction in public sector finance has meant many of our ULRs and workplace representatives have faced redundancy and workforce change. The demise of organisations like the Regional Development

Dave Eva, unionlearn’s Regional Manager

Agency (RDA) and our regional Government Office (GONW) and gradual replacement by Local Enterprise Partnerships (that currently have very little resource) is having a big impact on our ability to get local funding to support initiatives. The growth in youth unemployment has meant that apprenticeship has taken on a new level of importance. The key themes in unionlearn’s work over the next 12 months will include promoting apprenticeship and a new emphasis on developing our work linking the workplace and the community. This is especially being carried out through our promotion of Digital Champions and ‘Go On – Get On-line’ campaigns in many areas. More details of this work can be seen on pages 6 and 7. We will continue to develop our work on equality and we recently saw huge interest in our equality and diversity conference, held in Bolton in February with more than 130 delegates attending. Our Equality Forum continues to meet regularly and promote this agenda throughout unions and workplaces in the region (see page 4 and 5) and we are developing a “Test yourself on Equality and Diversity Tool” to run on tablets and PCs. Another development this year will be our Regional Steering Group which has been re-launched with a key focus on supporting the ULF projects in the region and refreshing the partners we invite. Our commitment to

The front cover shows the UK’s Digital Champion Martha Lane Fox, Workplace Go On Champion and Mersey Travel ULR Norman Hunter with Liverpool City Councillor Nick Small, Cabinet Member for Skills and Employment at the Go On — It’s Liverpool Awards Ceremony in March 2012.

supporting learning in all unions continues, and we will be developing our networks to support Learning Centres, ULRs and other workplace representatives. Support for ULRs and other reps involved in the learning and skills agenda is further examined on page 9. I hope you find the magazine a useful resource. Your work continues to be greatly valued by us as we are aware of the pressures so many ULRs and other reps are now under. The challenges continue, but please remember that along with your own union, unionlearn is here to support you.

Best wishes, Dave Eva, unionlearn Regional Manager  

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TE DA UP Photo – Merseytravel’s Apprentices are willing to contribute to informing other young people in the area about the opportunity apprenticeships can provide.

Apprenticeships are union business Apprenticeships continue to be a very important issue for unionlearn. They are a key mechanism to raise skills and provide training and employment opportunities for school leavers and young people, and for people of all ages

Developments in the region include our Apprentice Champions: Apprentices in Schools Project. This new project was recently launched in Merseyside TUC Education Centre to train apprentices to go into schools and encourage young people to think about apprenticeships as an option. A new free training course is to be offered to apprentices in various workplaces, to enable them to make presentations in local schools on their careers, and provide them with resources for this. The National Apprenticeship Service, several local authorities and various other employers were very keen to work with unionlearn on this, and happy for their own apprentices to be trained (it is a one-day initial course) and then spend a couple of days in local schools. Kath Wood and Ray Roberts at the Merseyside TUC Centre have developed the training course. Kath says: “it is important that young people meet others near their own ages who are undertaking apprenticeships and can ask them

about their experiences. They don’t want to hear from us ‘old fogies’ telling them what they should do!” Employers of apprentices are asked to release an apprentice for a day to undertake the initial training and a few hours for each school visit. If your company or organisation is interested in participating in this initiative or if you would like to find out more about the project then please contact Dave Eva for more information about the project on The next Apprentice Champions course is planned for Friday 27th April, start time 9.30a.m – 4.00pm at Merseyside TUED in central Liverpool. To book please contact Dr David McMonnies at The Merseyside Trade Union Education and Workforce Development Unit, Suite 520, The Cotton Exchange, Old Hall Street, Liverpool L3 9LQ 0151 237 2750 (2755 fax)

‘Liverpool Futures’ Unionlearn is also working with ‘Liverpool Futures’ which is a new joint venture between Liverpool City Council, the Chamber of Commerce, Liverpool Community College and the Eldonians social enterprise, set up to train hundreds of apprenticeships.

The German ‘Dual’ System of training: Learning from our Partnership with Cologne Through the Merseyside ESF Transnational Apprenticeship Project work has continued with our partners in Liverpool and Cologne, enabling us to learn from the German ‘Dual’ system of training. German apprenticeships are highly valued within the education and training system there, and are seen as an equivalent route to university level for young people at post-16. Apprentices in Germany often qualify in a vocational course, but can continue into higher education with this qualification. In March unionlearn’s Kath Dawson and Tony

Saunders visited Cologne to further our links with the Chambers of Commerce, employers and unions there. Kath Dawson says “The German system is very different to ours. There is the legal role Chambers of Commerce have in accrediting apprenticeships and other courses, and the statutory part that trade unions play within workplaces in organising training. However, there is much that we can learn from the way apprenticeships are highly valued there, and from trade union support for learning throughout the workforce”. We hope that we can use this experience to influence the development of apprentices in our own region.

Apprentices are guaranteed the minimum wage and the partners are committed to delivering high quality apprentice training and involving unions in supporting the apprentices. Through this organisation it is hoped that small and medium enterprises will be supported to provide apprenticeships for young people, as well as larger organisations. Unionlearn continue to promote apprenticeships as a learning opportunity and to work to ensure apprentices are properly protected, paid and trained in the workplace, and have access to union support wherever possible.

For further information Please contact Kath Dawson at email 0151 236 2321 phone

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Janet Valentine leads a session at the Equality and Diversity event in Bolton

Commitment to Equality and Diversity: a Union Issue Regional Conference in Bolton A very successful Equality and Diversity event was attended by over 100 delegates on 13th February 2012, held at the Reebok Stadium in Bolton, near Manchester

This unionlearn event

was the first held as a joint event open to Union Learning Representatives, Community Learning Champions and Workplace Learning advocates.

The rest of the day focussed on a series of practical workshops tackling a wide range of issues which linked equality and learning together. These included:

The Professional Footballers Association (PFA) provided the keynote speech where Dave Regis and Oshor Williams outlined some of the current (and some well-publicised!) issues relating to racism in football and outlined how the PFA are approaching this issue. This was followed by a lively debate where many issues around racism in football, the community and the workplace were discussed by panel members and delegates.

■■ The workshop on Equality and Older workers – this looked at Age Access Audits and how to apply these to the workplace;

Delegates also received updates on the work of our regional equality forum, current opportunities in trade union education and an awareness of the workplace learning advocates programme

Tony Sanders talks at the Reebok Stadium, Bolton, near Manchester

■■ The workshop on equality and apprenticeships which explored discriminatory approaches to apprenticeships and the need to make them more inclusive; ■■ The Equality Act Workshop – looked at the implications of the act in the workplace; ■■ Equality and Diversity concerns looked at the wider impact on Equality in both workplace and community settings;

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Joan Lyall illustrates a point

■■ Equality Health and Disability considered a range of issues around mental health and wellbeing ■■ Assessing Knowledge and Perceptions looked at tools to promote equality including tablet technology and the cultural diversity toolkit The conference proved to be a very enjoyable event and excellent feedback has been received from many of the delegates. REGIONAL EQUALITY FORUM – This is for all equality reps and other reps interested in equality issues and meets regularly in Transport House at Salford Quays on: 3rd April; 12th June and 7th August 2012. All are welcome. Contact Kath Dawson on kdawson@tuc. EQUALITY REPS THREE-DAY COURSE Looking at equality issues in the workplace 25th – 27th April in Merseyside TUC Ed Unit, central Liverpool. Contact Dr David McMonnies at the Merseyside Trade Union Education and Workforce Development Unit, Suite 520, The Cotton Exchange, Old Hall Street, Liverpool L3 9LQ 0151 237 2750 (2755 fax) Age Access course – was run by unionlearn’s Janet Valentine with Lancs & Morecambe College in Preston in December. The course aimed to promote the benefits of an age diverse workforce and encourage workplaces to think about issues like skill sharing and succession planning in light of demographic change. Other courses will be running in Salford, including on April 4.

Visha Chander, left, Administrative Support Officer at unionlearn with Dave Regis from the PFA. Dave outlined some of the issues relating to racism in football and outlined how the PFA are approaching this issue.

For further information Please contact Janet Valentine at email 0161 872 2688 phone

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Go On!

Many areas around the North West are now running successful union and community partnership campaigns to encourage people to get online. Many parts of the region still have high numbers of people who have never accessed the internet, and these are more likely to be socially and financially excluded, unemployed, and with fewer qualifications.

Kevin McLean of UK Online and Joanna Nolan of Liverpool Vision at the Go On awards

Liverpool City Council’s ULRs Vicky Nowak, Donna Lomax and Helen Duerden

‘Go On it’s Liverpool’ launched formally last October. The campaign has seen unionlearn work with partners including Race Online, Liverpool City Council including its libraries, Merseytravel (the sub-regional transport authority), community organisations including the Granby Toxteth Devleopment Trust, and ULRs in many workplaces in the city, including UNISON, and USDAW in Tesco. ‘Go On it’s Liverpool’ launched to coincide with the BBC’s national ‘Give An Hour’ campaign which asked people to pledge an hour to help someone they know get online. Liverpool had a target of signing up 5,000 digital champions, and helping 25,000 people who were offline in October 2011 to get online by June 2012. It was a big ask! Promotional activities were held in the city’s main shopping area and main train station, with a mobile learning centre at various events and supermarket locations, and in the city’s libraries and workplace learning centres. Here there was a push to engage learners who had not previously used computers to get online and undertake basic IT training where possible, and to encourage union reps and others to sign up as digital champions. All of Liverpool’s 90 elected City Councillors agreed to sign up as digital champions, ‘UK Online’ held training days for those ULRs and others leading the recruitment of digital champions in the city.

Success! Race Online have recently confirmed that whilst nationally there has only been a 1.1% reduction in the ‘digital divide’ from June to December 2011 – in Liverpool this figure is 5.6%! Thus in Liverpool there were 104,000 people offline at the end of June 2011 but only 84,000 offline end of December 2011 (a 20,000 drop in six months)! Whilst there are multiple contributors to this improvement, the high profile campaign with coverage in the local press, local radio and BBC TV all made a big difference. Most important was the involvement of trade unions and community organisations spreading the word on the ground…

Changing people’s lifestyles Unionlearn’s Laura Robertson-Collins signs up BBC presenter Roger Phillips as a Digital Champion

Jo Nolan of Liverpool Vision, which helps the local authority lead on this agenda, says the campaign is “Worth all the hard work – this is changing people’s lifestyles across Liverpool!”

USDAW’s Julia Baldwin at the Go On launch A ‘Go On’ Celebration Awards Night was held in the Liverpool Museum on 13th March as part of the Global Enterprise Congress being held in the city that week, and funded by Race Online. This event saw digital champions recognised in several categories, including ‘Workplace Digital Champion’. The ‘Go On it’s Liverpool’ Workplace Digital Champion was won by a ULR, of course! This award went to Norman Hunter of Merseytravel, for his contribution to the work in the city (pictured running a family learning event at the learning centre in Merseytravel. Other ULRs highly commended at the awards included Helen Duerden, a UNISON’s ULR coordinator at Liverpool City Council, Jo Cahill of USDAW, and Mark Dunne of the FBU. Following the success of ‘Go On it’s Liverpool’ unionlearn are supporting promotional activity in other local authority areas in the region to engage union and community partnerships to help people get online. ‘Go On’ campaigns have recently been (or are about to be) launched in Rochdale, Oldham, Wirral, Knowsley and Salford, to name a few. Steve Hewitt, ULR at Oldham Council says: “The ‘Go On’ model of partnership and engagement between local authorities, unions and community groups can lead to wide involvement and a high profile campaign resulting in reductions in the number of residents and staff who are ‘offline’. In Oldham we have taken the concept developed in Liverpool and adapted it for Oldham. We made sure we obtained high-level political backing at the involved partners as widely as possible as we roll ‘Go On Oldham’ out.”

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It’s the Campaign for Digital Inclusion! Workplace Go On Champion Norman Hunter at the Merseytravel’s Family Learning Day

With government money for the Superfast Broadband infrastructure being bid for in many sub-regions currently, ensuring all the community can benefit from this is not just a skills issue, but one of social justice... Need the digital inclusion statistics for your area? Statistics on digital and social exclusion for all local authority areas can be check out the ‘statistics dashboard’. Contact unionlearn for more information: or Why not get involved? Sign up as a digital champion through our website: www. You can check out activities on the Race Online website:

UK Online can be contacted on Reduced rate computers for your workplace learning centre or community group? Go to There will be a three-day Digital Champion training course for the 20th – 22nd June The Merseyside Trade Union Education Unit, Suite 520, The Cotton Exchange, Old Hall Street, Liverpool L3 9LQ. The course begins at 9.00am and concludes at 16.30 each day. Contact Ray Roberts / tel 0151 237 2753 Upcoming activities Unionlearn are also working on promoting digital inclusion with the NHS with digital inclusion projects in several health Trusts where we have active ULRs around the region, including at Aintree

University Hospital Trust, Cheshire and Wirral Partnership and Salford Hospital Trust. Contact John Inskip on We are also working with various social landlords and their unions and residents. People living in social housing are twice as likely to be ‘digitally excluded’ than the general population, so this is clearly a key group to target. Contact For further information Please contact Laura Robertson-Collins or Joe Fearnehough

Go On afloat! Merseytravel “launched” an innovative digital inclusion event on the famous Mersey Ferries recently, when ULRs, Merseylearn project workers and members of the Go On it’s Liverpool team joined forces to promote digital inclusion. Merseylearn, the ULF-funded project supporting transport sector workers has worked closely with GoOn to hold events at major bus and rail stations, and signed up over 1000 digital champions to support local

people to gain the benefits of the internet. Commuters between Liverpool and the Wirral were given the opportunity to sign up as digital champions during the journey across the Mersey as the iconic ferry shuttled from Seacombe to Liverpool, creating the first ever floating GoOn event in which commuters, ferries staff and even the captain signed up! Jo Nolan, from Liverpool Vision who has spearheaded the hugely

successful GoOn it’s Liverpool initiative, said: “It’s a lovely setting to be speaking to people — people are relaxed and have time to spend talking with the team, so in the space of a coupe of hours we signed up 59 new digital champions!” Steph Hague, Merseylearn Project Manager, said “because Merseytravel has so many diverse areas we operate in, we promote learning, including digital inclusion, in innovative ways. As both a ULF project and

an organisation we’re committed to supporting digital inclusion, and the ferry passengers were really positive about it!” Councillor Mark Dowd, Chair of Merseytravel added: “Merseytravel recognise that online services are going to be increasingly important in the future so we’re happy to support Go On and help local people get online to access all the benefits of the internet age”

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Supporting union lear Unionlearn continues to provide support for union learning across all unions and all work sectors. This year we have continued our popular series of regional network events for ULRs and other reps involved in promoting learning in unions.

In January around forty ULRs and other reps met in Bolton College to undertake the half day NIACE training in ‘Maths Messengers’, as well as a session on the new ‘Community Engagement Toolkit’. Previous events had been held in the autumn in Stockport College TU Education Unit, and in Liverpool City Centre last summer.

Jonathon Waterhouse, unionlearn National Champion, speaks at NW unionlearn conference Anne Keighley from Tameside Council says: “the network forums provide a great opportunity for reps to hear the latest news and developments in union learning, and to learn from each other. There is always a collegiate

Supporting Our Learning Centres Unionlearn have recently held events around the region to support dozens of our reps who are running learning centres in various workplaces. This included an event in Burnley College in February and another in Stockport College in late March.

Anne Keighley from Tameside Council was recently presented with with a book by TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber for her contribution to the ULR survey

News, ideas and info were shared in abundance at the Learning Centre Strategy Event at Stockport College on Friday 23 March. Unionlearn’s Janet Valentine says: “The day focused on mapping current learning activity in workplaces and communities from around the region. It drew together examples of sharing resources and good practice, news and updates on provision and funding and plans for upcoming events such as Adult Learners’ Week and further Go On activity”. The photo on the left shows reps learning to use the unionlearn ‘Mobats’ to assess learners’ Skills for Life needs

Dave Kendal of The Reading Agency speaks about the S

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ning across the region and comradely atmosphere of spreading good practice and helping one another.” Pictured are unionlearn’s Joe Fearnehough leading a discussion on community engagement, and USDAW’s Denise Gordon leading her group’s work at the Network Forum in Bolton College. The next Regional Network Forum will be held in Rochdale Co-op College on Friday 27th April at Holyoake House, Hanover Street, Manchester M60 0AS. The event is for all Union Learning Reps and others. Please register with Visha in unionlearn NW office on or telephone 0151 236 2321 The 2012–13 year’s programme will include events in Merseyside, Oldham, South Cheshire (Crewe), Burnley and Manchester Our Champions of Learning Unionlearn NW’s annual conference was held in Aintree Racecourse on Merseyside in November. With 200 reps in attendance, this event saw the twelve unionlearn regional Champions receive their awards – the winners were featured in our Champions of Learning Booklet sent out in the New Year. If you have not received this book, do ring the unionlearn office.

Six Book Challenge at unionlearn’s Annual Conference

The 2011 Learning Champions Digital Champions ★★ FBU’s Mark Dunne (Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service) ★★ Steve Hewitt, UNITE (Oldham Council) ★★ UNISON member Jackie Saville (Salford City Council)

★★ Community Champions

★★ Barbara Griffiths and Dahlia Roslan, UNISON (Cheshire West and Chester Council)

Apprenticeships Champions ★★ Amanda McNally UNISON (Sefton Council) ★★ Marie Reece – UNISON (Aintree Hospital)

Age Champion ★★ Graham Kingston, CWU (Royal Mail Stockport)

Learning Champions ★★ Helen Duerden, UNISON (Liverpool City Council) ★★ Annette Bott and Drew Welborne, USDAW (Argos Home Retail in Widnes) ★★ Paul Smith, FBU (Manchester Fire and Rescue Service)

National unionlearn champion And, of course, the National unionlearn Champion is also from the North West! ★★ USDAW’s Jonathon Waterhouse (McVities in Stockport)

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This update gives unions and centres news of recent changes and announcements in the range of qualifications in English and Maths that will be available for funding in 2012/13; and some of the background to what is going on. We will produce further updates as the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) and the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) give more information on how English and Maths programmes are going to be funded, and how the new qualifications picture will fit.

In summary ✔✔ at Entry level, the existing Adult Literacy and Numeracy qualifications will continue to be available and funded. ✔✔ at Level 1 & 2, centres should prepare, and work with partner providers: ✔✔ on whether to offer Functional Skills Levels 1 and; ✔✔ on how feasible it is to encourage many learners at Level 1 and 2 to go for GCSE English and Maths qualification, given the time commitment that this will entail; to watch out for new unit qualifications from the awarding bodies, which the Skills Funding Agency have announced that they will fund from Sept 2012. These may be the best option for many centre learners, and would fit well with centre programmes for English and Maths, and the Climbing Frame structure. Centres should continue to “watch this space”, while we wait for further information in the next few weeks. A separate note has been produced for ESOL, and can be found on

Background In 2011, the Government has announced a number of changes to the qualifications in English and Maths that will be recognised and

Changes to Maths and English qualifications funded beyond 2012. In summary these mean that: ✔✔ Key skills qualifications will cease to be available beyond September 2012. ✔✔ Skills for Life qualifications at Level 1 and 2 will cease to be registered beyond 2012, although accreditation is available until 2014. ✔✔ Functional Skills will replace Key Skills and SfL. ✔✔ GCSE qualifications will be funded from September 2012. Appendix 1 includes the extract from the Skills Funding Agency policy document that clarifies this.

Update However, there have been some changes and some re-thinking about the new structure of qualifications. For example, there has been concern that Functional Skills qualifications may not meet the needs of some adult learners. In addition, the preparedness of centres to offer FS effectively has been raised as an issue. As a result, BIS has been developing its policy in this area. In its policy document at the end of 2011, ‘New Challenges, New Chances’, BIS announced that ‘the Government will financially support those who did not achieve basic English and Maths in school. The Skills for Life programmes which enable adults to improve their basic literacy and numeracy skills will be expanded to include and fund those who need GCSE English and / or Maths Level 2.’ The key actions for basic skills announced included: ✔✔ Re-establish the terms ‘English’ and ‘Maths’ for adults ✔✔ Pilot in 2012 how providers can be funded on the basis of the distance a learner has travelled. ✔✔ Fund GCSE English and Maths qualifications from September 2012. ✔✔ Recognise the differential learning patterns of adults by enabling Awarding Organisations to create standalone units that provide the necessary rigour and flexibility to support progression to a GCSE or other training. ✔✔ Confirm that, from the 2012/13 academic year, all Apprenticeship providers will be required to support Apprentices in progressing towards the achievement of Level 2 English and Maths. From October 2012 all Apprentices starting English and

Maths courses will be taking Functional Skills or GCSE qualification An initial document has been produced by BIS on the ‘distance travelled’ pilot. This could be of importance to union learning centres, as well as others, and we will keep centre staff updated. On unit funding, unionlearn has been approached by a major awarding body to comment and participate in a trial of new standalone units for English and Maths (at all levels), with a view to their launch and accreditation by September 2012. These may also fit well with union learning: they allow for accreditation at different levels within the same award; give recognition of achievement in smaller, funded, units; and may help learners to progress, by focusing on the areas of English and Maths where they really need help. Information on how unit funding works can be found on the SFA website: Finally, at the Association of Colleges Conference, 8 February 2012, Susan Pember (BIS) announced that skills for life Entry Level qualifications would continue to be accredited and funded. Further information is needed to fully understand what this means – but at first sight, it looks like good news for centres already working with learners at Entry Level. If you have any questions, or you have found alternative approaches that will work, please contact, quoting ‘English & Maths’ in the subject line.

Appendix 1 Functional Skills in English, Mathematics and ICT at Entry Level, Level 1 and Level 2 were rolled out nationally in 2010/11. These replaced the Key Skill learning aims in Communication, Application of Number and ICT from 1 September 2010 at Levels 1 and 2 delivered through the Adult Single Budget. To note, a further period of transition has been agreed to allow Key Skills to be funded (alongside Functional Skills) in Apprenticeship frameworks up to 30 September 2012. The end of the accreditation period for Key Skills and Skills for Life qualifications is August 2012. As such, there are sufficient tests in place to continue until 2014. The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills has secured, from Ofqual, confirmation to accredit and regulate revised Skills for Life ESOL qualifications beyond 2012.

page 11 Another success notched up for Aintree University Hospital Trust’s strong partnership between their UNISON learning project and the Trust’s Learning and Development Team The team recently picked up an award at the Trust’s Aintree Excellence Awards for staff development. The ULF funded union learning project at the hospital has helped the Trust engage almost 600 staff there in learning in the last three years

Working in Partnership in the NHS

The ceremony was held at Liverpool Crowne Plaza in November 2011. BBC Radio Merseysides Roger Phillips acted as MC and said, “It was an absolute pleasure to be asked to present the Aintree staff awards. I have great respect for people who choose to help others for a living and helping recognise the very best at Aintree University Hospital was an honour.”

The photo above shows Debbie Fryer Director of HR; Lead ULR Marie Reece, Pete Melia NVQ assessor and Fiona Chapman NVQ Manager

Learning Centre Broadband Launch at HMRC in Trinity Bridge House, Salford Previously, Broadband access and computer facilities were the only things missing from the otherwise vibrant and successful learning environment and so were a natural next step to ensure all staff can make the best use of their learning space. Thursday 16th February 2012 saw the long-awaited launch of Broadband in the PCS Learning Centre. All staff were invited to come along to see the new computer suite and find out how they can use the facilities, to further their studies or for anything else they wish to do. Visitors were shown the range of courses available from UK Online, encouraged to complete some of their choosing and given instructions for how to do these in their own time. The day was also a fantastic opportunity for the ULRs to chat to staff to find out what they would like to see in the Learning Centre and many discussed courses they would like to take, both in and outside work, leaving the ULRs with much food for thought. Another surprise success of the day was the Learning Centre Library, which has been growing in popularity and size for several years, regularly attracting new faces to the Learning Centre. For once this worked the other way round though, with people signing up to use the IT facilities and taking the chance to browse the books and take one, or in some cases several, home with them – showing that a move towards the digital and new doesn’t have to mean abandoning the old – or at least not without a Kindle Reader! Some staff also took the opportunity to visit the Next Step website and use their Skills Assessment Tool to create a personal profile of their

The Learning Centre at HMRC launched as a UK Online Centre in February, setting out PCS’s Salford Branch’s commitment to getting everyone online and helping communities through tackling social and digital exclusion. The centre is partnership between HMRC, PCS and unionlearn, led by Michael Bennett, ULR skills which is unique to them. Next Step have been delivering CV Workshops from our Learning Centre to assist staff with internal HMRC applications. The specialised format of these applications is something of a skills test in itself and takes up the full 2 hour workshop, however the Next Step website offers tools for creating CVs to use for those trying to escape the department as well as activities to boost confidence when writing about our strengths. Salford’s very own Family History expert, Paula Matthews, was on hand to show visitors

the delights of searching their heritage. Paula kindly gave her time to guide staff through the first steps to take when researching their family tree. This is another superb example of the wide variety of interests and pastimes that be explored on the World Wide Web and bridges the gap with older generations who may not think the internet relates to them. The centre now boasts 6 computers all connected to the internet that staff can drop by and use at any time, providing an official course is not in session. Learner Kelly Baker says: “I came to the broadband launch last week and having gone through the online learning packages on UK Online I thought they would be ideal for people who are relevantly new to the internet. I have taken the information and have discussed it with my 66 yr old mother in law (Who is now a bit of a silver surfer) and she thinks it would be perfect for her needs as she now communicates via e mail with a lot of her family who live all around Britain and would love to know how to send pictures etc without having to put an emergency phone call in to me.” “Not only would it be perfect for her but also for my brother in law who has only got as far as facebook on the internet because he has no IT skills, I will be signing both of them up and would like to thank the ULR’s for showing me through the packages and well done for an excellent launch day.” For further information please contact Jeff Lathom 0161 872 2688 phone 07500 041253 mobile email

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TUC’s union learning representative of the year Jonathan Waterhouse and North West Regional Manager Dave Eva discuss the benefits of collective learning funds

Sustainability of union learning: Usdaw’s ‘Nine Steps to Success’

Unionlearn, Usdaw and McVities delivered a hugely successful conference, hosted by McVities in Stockport, promoting the success of Collective Learning Funds and how innovative approaches to co-investment in learning have helped union learning representatives from across the North West support learners in a variety of different learning initiatives. Dave Eva, unionlearn’s North West Regional Manager outlined the importance of collective learning funds and emphasised that in the current climate joint approaches to supporting learning can help overcome many of the barriers to learning that union learning representatives often report. Helen Day (Factory Manager) and Brian Johnson (Lean Process Manager) both identified the key role the union has played in developing both the workplace collective learning fund and the on site learning centre. Julia Baldwin (Project Officer) Usdaw delivered a presentation explaining the wide range of Collective Learning Fund projects that Usdaw have been involved with across the region. Other speakers including Carole Sydenham (In-training), John

Tony Saunders and Julia Baldwin lead a workshop looking at the benefits of a collective learning fund O’Donnell (Wigan and Leigh College) and Steve Wood from Merseytravel who all explained how different partners can support Collective Learning Funds. Workshops throughout the day looked at how Usdaw’s “9 steps to success” helps to support successful collective learning funds and the Collective Approaches workshops considered the benefits and potential issues needed to be considered when developing a collective fund.

The day was well received by all participants and unionlearn and Usdaw are producing a guide to collective learning funds which should be available soon. For more information on Collective Learning Funds Please contact Tony Saunders or Jeff Lathom

Looking for some Summer Reading? The Jacobites’ Apprentice is a new novel set during the 1740s. It has action, adventure, intrigue, complex relationships and a modest dash of 18th century bawdiness. The book’s author is David Ebsworth – but he might be better known to some of you as Dave McCall, former Regional Secretary of the Transport and General Workers’ Union (now Unite) in the North West. Dave retired in 2008 and, whilst still doing some union-related voluntary work, he decided to take up writing full-time. Dave and his wife Ann (ex Transport and General Workers’ Union (now Unite) Regional Education Officer) have always been great activists and supporters of the learning agenda and its not entirely a

surprise that ‘retirement’ has lead to writing rather than just reading books! The Jacobites’ Apprentice is Dave’s first novel to be published, although he has recently completed a second book and is part-way through a third! “I wanted to write historical novels,” said Dave, “but with strong political themes. So Jacobites, whilst hopefully an entertaining story in itself, is set against the background of yet another civil war in Britain – on this occasion with Bonnie Prince Charlie’s attempt to restore the Stuart dynasty.” Many people will be familiar with that background and the Prince’s final defeat at Culloden in 1746 but they might be less familiar with the part played in the Rising by

Jacobite supporters in Lancashire and Wales, and these provide the central characters for the plot. So, if you want to be transported back to Manchester’s political underworld all those years ago, this is definitely the book for you! e-book Publisher SilverWood Books ISBN 9781781320099 asp?item=99 Dave McCall will be signing copies of The Jacobites’ Apprentice Waterstones, Arndale Centre, Manchester Saturday 21st April (12pm – 3pm) Waterstones, Trafford Centre Friday 27th April (12pm – 3pm) For further information please contact Dave McCall –

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Adult Learning Week 14th May to 18th May Have you planned your workplace learning activity yet? Now is the time! Unionlearn will be organising a series of events across the region using the key themes of learning through: ★★ Art and Culture ★★ Learning with your family ★★ Learning for Health ★★ Learning through Sport and Leisure ★★ learning through Technology ★★ Learning for Work and ★★ Learning about your World Unionlearn will work jointly with unions, providers and community organisations to organise a series of informal adult learning events across the region which will be open to Reps and members and where possible we will link into community and voluntary sector organisations to work together. Events will be promoting economic and social history, promoting volunteering, the value of reading, business start-up and self employment and promoting learning to adults over 50. This year we will not be inviting individual

unions or branches to bid for money but if any produce a good idea that fits with the themes above, cannot be sourced through their own ULF (see page 14) and complements our programme then we will look favourably at these applications Contact Tony Saunders for more information. See also for information and ideas.

Supporting Older Workers into Learning (Learning through Sport and Leisure), in Cheshire area Contact Jeff Lathom Working with Social Housing Providers and the NHS to support Digital Inclusion (Technology and Innovation) Contact John Inskip

Unionlearn events will include

Promoting Health and Wellbeing (Learning for Health) Contact John Halligan

Heritage Events at National Trust Tatton Park Cheshire and East Lancs Railway (Art and Culture) Contact Janet Valentine

Promoting Green Technologies and Environmental Awareness (Learning about your World) Contact John Halligan

Promoting Learning through Reading (Family and Community), in Greater Manchester area Contact Janet Valentine Business Start Up with University of Bolton (Learning for Work) Contact Jeff Lathom

The event at Liverpool Museum on 18th May is organised jointly by Merseytravel, unionlearn, National Museums Liverpool and many other learning organisations and ULRs in Liverpool. The day is for all the community and will feature talks, gallery tours, workshops and much more!

| page 14

ULF update Projects from rounds 13 and 14 are now drawing to a close with unions once again proving their ability to deliver learning opportunities to

Projects coming to an end in March 2012 have helped unions reach over 160 learning agreements with employers and have supported the development of 154 learning centres across a diverse range of workplaces, offering staff learning via the trade union route. Round 15 will see unions concentrating on key themes agreed with the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. They include:

members. From Skills for Life and

■■ Engaging with disadvantaged learners

NVQs to informal learning and ICT

■■ Tackling skills gaps and shortages

courses – over 270,ooo learning opportunities all made possible through unions accessing the union learning fund (ULF) in rounds 13 and 14.

■■ Developing high performance workplaces ■■ Reaching out to non unionised workplaces ■■ Equality and Diversity There were a total of 45 submissions to round 15 of ULF and all projects are committed to building on the work of previous rounds and will specifically prioritise equality and diversity. As well as building on traditional strengths,

unions will be meeting new challenges in developing their role around Green Skills, supporting young unemployed people into work and reaching out to non unionised workplaces. In line with unionlearn priorities, apprenticeships will be integral to a significant number of ULF projects. Equality and Quality are key to successful apprenticeships and trade unions have a vital role to play in ensuring apprentices are supported in the workplace and through their apprenticeship programmes. For further information on the union learning fund or if you have examples of unions helping to improve your skills Please contact The ULF team email 0151 243 2575 phone

unionlearn publications page 15

Negotiator’s guide for

Bargaining for skills

Supporting Learners at 50+

Making ices cho ed orm inf

diar y dates

Above is a variety of some of the publications available through unionlearn. If you wish to download any of the publications and you

are viewing onward as an e-bulletin, simply click on the publication you are interested in. Otherwise, contact the regional office for

further information or visit the unionlearn website at

20th – 22nd June Digital Champion training course

RK MAKING SKILLS WO the workplace Optimising the use of skills in – a workshop for unions and employers

s workshop is to The aim of this joint unionlearn/Aca union-employer promote best practice in agreeing in the skills of strategies to optimise the use can achieve workplace. Using skills successfully s, job satisfaction, improvements in working practice ivity. organisational performance and product ent and The workshop will be run by the Involvem arn has Participation Association (IPA). Unionle report and studies case a produce to IPA commissioned achieving better a guide for union representatives about negotiations with use of skills in the workplace through available to employers. Both publications will be delegates on the day.



Tuesday 29 May 2012, 10am to 12.30pm

Merseyside Trade Union Education Unit, Suite 520, The Cotton Exchange, Old Hall Street, Liverpool L3 9LQ 9.00am to 16.30 each day Please contact Ray Roberts email 0151 237 2753 phone


Mechanics Centre 103 Princess Street Manchester M1 6DD

23-25th April 2012

For more information and to register your place at the workshop, please contact Visha Chander on 0151 236 2554 or

Equality & the Role of the Rep 3 Day Course Dane Bank Avenue, Crewe Please contact course coordinator Les Doherty 01270 654654 ext 518 phone

29th May 2012 Making Skills Work Mechanics Institute see attached flyer Book with email

3rd April, 12th June & 7th August 2012 Regional Equality Forum For all equality reps and other reps interested in equality issues in Transport House, Salford Quays All are welcome Please contact Kath Dawson email

27th Apri l 2012 Apprentice Champions Course 9.30a.m – 4.00pm Merseyside TUED in central Liverpool To book please contact Dr David McMonnies email 0151 237 2750 phone (2755 fax) Merseyside Trade Union Education and Workforce Development Unit, Suite 520, The Cotton Exchange, Old Hall Street, Liverpool L3 9LQ

| page 16

Communication and Contacts Dave Eva North West Regional Manager T 0151 236 5366 E

Tony Saunders Union Development Co‑ordinator T 0151 243 2574 E tsaunders Responsible for Higher Education; Digital Inclusion; Older Workers (50+); Skills For Life and PDAs; UNET; and unionlearn Quality Award

Pete Holland Regional Education Officer T 0151 243 2564 E pholland Responsible for TUC Education centres and all TUC Education courses

John Halligan Senior Union Support Officer T 0151 236 2321 M 07717 531 151 E jhalligan Responsible for ICT; Environment & Sustainability; IAG and Supporting Learners; Mental Health; and Response to Recovery and Recession

Laura Robertson‑Collins Senior Union Support Officer T 0151 236 2321 M 07786 706816 E lrobertsoncollins@ Responsible for Apprenticeships; Marketing & Publicity; ULR Networks; Local Government Skills Awards; and Equality and Diversity

John Inskip Union Support Officer T 0151 236 2321 M 07717 531148 E Helps to lead on UNET; ICT; Equality and Diversity; and ESOL

Keith Pemberton Union Support Officer T 0151 236 2321 M 07769 726159 E kpemberton Helps to lead on Community Engagement; Local Government; Environment and Sustainability; and ULR Networks

Kath Dawson Senior Union Support Officer, Merseyside T 0151 236 2321 M 07717 531154 E kdawson@ Helps to lead on Learning Agreements; Climbing Frame; Unionlearn Quality Award; and Apprenticeships

Janet Valentine Union Support Officer, Manchester T 0161 872 2688 M 07825 684526 E jvalentine

Marj Wainwright Regional Administrative and Finance Officer T 0151 236 5366 E mwainwright

Helps to lead on Older Workers; Higher education; IAG and Supporting Learners; and Marketing and Publicity

Jeff Lathom Union Support Officer T 0161 872 2688 M 07500 041253 E uk Helps to lead on Digital inclusion; Apprenticeships; Mental health; and SF

Steve Hewitt Union Support Union Support Officer T 0161 872 2688 M 0771 873 105 E Helps to lead on Digital inclusion

Visha Chander Administrative Support Officer T 0151236 2321 E vchander Pauline Murray TUC Education Secretary/ Administrator T 0151 243 2565 E uk For info on TUC Education courses

Becky Soon TUC Education Admin Assistant T 0151 243 2572 E l For info on TUC Education courses

onward - spring 2012  

Apprenticeships are union business, commitment to equality and diversity, Go On!, It’s the Campaign for Digital Inclusion!, Changes to Maths...

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