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The Magazine of the Northern TUC

Digital Inclusion Special Digital Champions, UK Online, BBC First Click, celebs and regional learners

Take a taste of Bitesize Briefings There’s plenty to get your teeth into this Autumn

Health and Wellbeing The benefits of workplace wellbeing come to TU Education

Checkout Learning Usdaw and Tesco sustaining a ‘superstore’ of learning

unions north Issue : 27 September 2011

Get Online Week 30 October to 6 November 2011 Get online week is coming! The theme for 2011 is “Give an hour” and the campaign will take place from 30 October - 6 November, with activity taking place throughout the whole of November. We'll be working with lots of great partners including the BBC and Race

You’ll receive a free marketing pack,

Sign up for Get Online Week now

Online 2012 to make sure the campaign

access to training webinars, and a

Centres, please make sure you're logged

will be bigger than ever and we’re asking

weekly e-newsletter with ideas, tips and

into the website before signing up so

you to sign up to take part! All you

guidance on how to run a fantastic

we can match it to your centre.

have to do is commit to run an event

event. You’ll also get your centre details

and activities between 30 October and

listed on a nationwide database so new

Non-centres can sign up by simply

30 November to get new people online

learners in your area will be directed

providing an address.

using the site.

your way.

part will need to have achieved a minimum of three Online basics completions in each month.

Once a centre becomes a UK Online Centre they are eligible to apply for

A learner needs to complete 2 of the modules below to count as a completion

To be eligible for the funding, centres have to be a UK online centres

Online basic grant funding

Using email

partner, and centres will have to

Training grant of £1000 per year

Using the internet safely

register to take part. You will only

to train staff and/or volunteers

Using online searches

need to register once, and payments will then be made each month after

Online basics comprises of 5 modules

A completion is worth £35 to the centre.

a simple confirmation from you that the amount is correct.


This means that instead of up-front


grant funding, UK Online partner

Become a UK Online Centre

Using email

centres will be paid every month (in

Simply go to:

Using the internet safely

arrears) for the Online basics and click

Using online searches

completions they deliver. In order to

“I’m an organisation - how can I

trigger the payment, centres taking



Issue 27

BBC First Click: Who Do You Think You Are? Log on and find out as part of the campaign


BBC One’s smash hit genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are? is encouraging computer novices to go online and research their own genealogy as part of the BBC’s First Click campaign.

EastEnders and Gavin and Stacey star,

discovers that he has a long lost relative.

Larry Lamb was well into adulthood

Suspecting that the family emigrated,

when he discovered that his mother,

a search of passenger lists confirms

Jessie, was adopted as a baby.


At the age of 84 Jessie has recently

Says Larry about the making of the

accessed her adoption files. Larry

programme, “My mum had always

investigates this family mystery.

nursed this dream that she would meet

His search uncovers extraordinary

was offered, I thought this would be a

The series delves deep into celebrity

photographs of relatives who were lion

good thing for her.

family ancestry, uncovering a host of

tamers and showmen, he sees a picture

hidden pasts and shock revelations.

of his grandfather for the first time and

her mum again, so when this programme

“It was all surprises - the whole female

side and the male side were a complete

Larry says, taking part in the series has

part of Get Online Week (30th October

surprise. I had no idea at all about

made him slightly more curious.

to 6th November).

“I was rather interested to find that

The family history guide is just one of

there are people alive now who I am

a series of inspirational resources being

“It was the things that I discovered

directly blood related to whose existence

produced by BBC Learning containing

about these people that I was related

I knew nothing of. It’s made me more

helpful step by step instructions.

to that made me understand more about

curious in that obviously there are

me. I had always figured that I was a

elements to what we discovered that

Other new guides all available later this

kind of a ‘johnny come lately’ who had

remain unknown, like nobody knows

year include: where to search on the

tumbled into the entertainment business

where my grandfather went.”

internet for advice on how to save

these people, other than the names on a certificate.

by accident when in actual fact, I was

money; a health check and wellbeing

probably, at least part way genetically

A special family history guide for new

guide, and sport in the lead up to the

programmed to be in it.

computer users offering advice, tips

2012 Olympics.

and encouragement to get online will be available at:

“Who did I think I was before? I knew I didn’t really know, now I’m better informed. And that’s what it’s like for everybody. I think that’s why the programme is so popular because it’s a common thread in everybody - this inquisitiveness about where they have come from.”

and at venues running the popular First Click beginners courses in October as

As part of the First Click campaign, Larry is presenting a series of three fascinating films, available on the BBC’s Red Button, in which experts explain how viewers new to computers can use some of the key resources available to the amateur family historian. Each film features examples and stories from the current series highlighting how passenger lists, birth, marriage and death certificates; census returns, Army Service records, foreign records and Poor Law records can all be accessed online.


Issue 27

Find info, stay in touch, save money Be a Digital Champion

Did you know that online households can save £560 a year by paying for bills and doing their shopping online? This is just one of the benefits of being online – people also save time, stay in touch, find info and explore interests. There are a staggering 8.7 million adults in the UK who’ve never used the Internet, and 90% of these people know someone who does. If we all took the time to show someone the benefits of being online, and to pass our IT skills on, we’d be very close to enabling everyone in the UK to enjoy life online. That’s


why we’re mobilising a network of Digital

Are confident using the Internet

material provided to advise your

Champions who can inspire, encourage

and enthusiastic about the things

members/colleagues on the benefits

and support people to use the Internet.

that the Internet can do

of the Internet

Can get to know people in order

Give people the number 0800 77

to understand their interests and

1234 or use the postcode search

Inspire people who don’t know



about the benefits of the Internet

Have the patience to support people

website to find out where local,

to give it a try

who are learning something new

low-cost Internet courses are

Point these people to free Internet

Are interested in working with

available and tell people about

training, or help them with an online

other digital champions in your




Learn more about training people

What do Digital Champions do?

to use the Internet from your local

Help these people to get set up

UK Online centre or library

accessibility features

What can trade union digital champions do?

Donate spare IT equipment

You and your trade union may have

you show members/colleagues

your own ideas, but here are some to

something they can do on the

start you off:

Internet e.g. searching on

with IT, including telling them about

What skills and personal qualities should Digital Champions have?

Organise events/sessions where

Know your members/colleagues –

Google/Bing, getting the news,

Being a digital champion can be really

actively find out who hasn’t used

using price comparison sites, using

easy and a great experience. It helps if

the Internet before

i-player, or listening to music


Familiarise yourself with online

Direct members/colleagues to where

Have basic computer skills (e.g. be

services – so that you can talk

they can buy low cost first-timer

able to turn a PC on, use a mouse,

about them yourself

packages (computer and

connect to the Internet)

Use your welcome pack and any


How do you register to become trade union digital champion? If you want to register to become a digital champion and find out what support there is for this role please go to:


Issue 27

Heather Davidson Case Study Getting a taste for learning Heather

Davidson has worked for Cavaghan and Gray in Cumbria and been an Usdaw member for the last 27 years.

from her line manager, and Carol, Heather did just that. Heather thoroughly enjoyed her first foray back into learning, made easier by her patient and understanding tutor, Donna Brookes – so much so that she

During that time she has worked

decided she wanted to learn more and

throughout the company in various

subsequently enrolled on the maths

departments, but four years ago found

and English courses the union-led

her way on to the technical team in a

learning project were offering as well.

new job, which brought with it a whole new set of challenges she hadn’t faced

After completing those and achieving


a Level 2 in literacy, Heather then went on to a Power Point and camera course,

Heather’s job in the test kitchen requires

and when, having exhausted all of the

her to cook up the product being tested

different courses available, she began

before it goes out to retail outlets and

to attend the ones she’d already done,

record any issues onto the computer,

Carol suggested that she might like to

including all data such as time and date

become a Union Learning

of production, weights etc. However,

Representative! Heather has also taken

prior to taking up this role, the only

her learning home and become a

experience Heather had of computers

domestic digital champion. “The

was dusting her son’s, and she was

knowledge and confidence I have gained

more than a little anxious.

my son if I needed anything off the

“Heather’s joy of learning is lovely to see. Never think you are too old to learn.” 

internet. After I got my new job the

Donna Brookes: Tutor

Heather said: “Three years ago I couldn’t even switch a computer on. I would ask

has helped me be able to use my own laptop, which was a generous birthday present from my husband – and I have been able to teach him the basics so that he can access the internet by himself, too.

person I worked with taught me the “Working at the same company for 25

basics of the work I needed to know,


but I wanted to be able to sort things

completing a basic IT course, was on

years and seeing how the computer has

out for myself and not have to keep

hand to listen to Heather’s concerns –

become part of modern working – and

asking for assistance all the time when

and offer a solution. Carol shared her

home life makes me think that everyone

things went wrong.”

experience of the course as both a

should have the opportunity to learn,

learner and a ULR and told Heather that

for the benefit of themselves and their

Thankfully, Union Learning Rep Carol

there was going to be another underway

employer. I’d like to thank everyone

Gill who was working nearby in the

shortly and that she should definitely

involved for the opportunity to improve

same department – and fresh from

consider signing up. With full support

my life.”

Supporting Learners Higher Level Skills opportunities Over 70 Union Learning Representatives and regional Trade Union Officers attended the recent unionlearn ‘Supporting Learners Event’ held at Ramside Hall in Durham.

Delegates were provided with

ability to heavily subsidise the cost of

information on a range of unionlearn

some higher level skills taster courses

and Foundation Degree Forward (FDF)

for these learners.

resources related to work based higher learning by Ian Borkett (unionlearn

To date the Higher Skills project in the

Standards and Quality manager) and

Northern region has supported almost

Susan Hayday and Lesley Haughton

150 employers on the higher skills

from FDF.

agenda as well as supporting around 250 learners into accessing higher level skills courses.

The theme of the event focused on

Dedicated Higher Skills Project Workers,

higher level skills opportunities for

Mike Tansey and Julie Robinson provided

learners and was supported by several

a regional focus which included

Kevin Rowan unionlearn Regional

providers and other strategic partners,

information on the unionlearn regional

Manager said, “Higher skills are an

including; South Tyneside College,

initiative which aims to encourage and

increasingly important part of the union

Darlington College, City of Sunderland

support more trade union members and

learning landscape for ULRs, employees

College, Amacus Training and the North

workers to engage with the higher skills

and employers and I am proud that we

East Higher Skills and Brokerage Project.

agenda. Part of that support is the

can help support the development of


Issue 27

this agenda in our region, practically

skills taster courses looks as if it will

and financially.

be extremely popular. Trade Unions and trade union learning is uniquely placed

“Events like this one demonstrate the

in the heart of many workplaces – and

demand and appetite for learner

specialist support and encouragement

progression and home-grown talent can

to workers who want to get back into

only mean good things for everyone

learning. The higher skills offer available

involved; better career prospects and

in the region goes a long way to allowing

increased opportunities for individuals,

people to continue their learning journey

a highly motivated and qualified

and fulfil their personal and professional

workforce for employers and a reduced


skills gap in the regional economy.” For more information please call Mike HLS Project Worker, Mike Tansey said,

Tansey or Julie Robinson on:

“This was a really successful event, the

0191 232 3175, or go to:

interest from affiliate unions has been

fantastic and our offer around higher


Apprenticeships Unions working for a brighter future Unionlearn with the Northern TUC held a very successful Apprenticeship event at Durham County Cricket Club in July, attended by more than 70 union reps, apprentices and employers.

presentation that really set the scene,

Lifetime earnings: £65,000 more for

and tone for the rest of the day. And

a Level 2 apprentice, and £100,000 more

if anyone ever needed convincing that

for Level 3

The event brought together the key

Apprenticeship framework suitable for

players needed to drive the

hundreds of job roles, from Nursing to

Apprenticeship agenda forward, with an

Graphic Design, Horticulture to Electric

higher annual profit of over £1,300 per

emphasis on union-employer partnership,

Vehicle Engineering.


underpinned by equality and diversity.

Apprenticeships are a modern, worthwhile and valuable investment for

Career progression: many advance to highly skilled jobs

all parties then Barrie supplied the

Costs to employer are recouped

unequivocal evidence, some of which

relatively quickly (between 6 months

is below:

and 3 years)

There are nearly 200 types of

Over 130,000 workplaces in England

Productivity, motivation and retention are increased Increased profits – BT estimated a

employ apprentices. More employers

The day was a very practical one, which

Barrie Irving, Employer Services Manager

are taking on apprentices in several

included 3 case studies from regional

from the National Apprenticeship Service

areas of their business.

employers from different sectors and

began the day with a very illuminating

Benefits to individuals and employers:

their unions, who are leading the charge


Issue 27

in their work with Apprentices and

from participants honestly and accurately.

partnership working: South Tyneside

Newcastle City Council also proudly

Homes, Caterpillar Peterlee and Redcar

received their unionlearn Quality Award

and Cleveland Borough Council. All

for Apprenticeship Provision and are

employers and unions spoke extremely

another example of best practice in

positively about joint-working and


integrating the Apprenticeship Framework

into their internal structures and the


benefits of Apprenticeships for all concerned. Each case study and the workshops also featured genuine Apprentices from a broad spectrum of employment; from

“I was honoured to receive the Quality Award for Apprenticeships on behalf of Newcastle City Council.

those who had entered into Apprenticeships straight from school to a lady in her 50s who began hers a couple of years ago; and from the more traditional areas such as mechanics to the more modern and vocational, like Business Administration, all of whom gave candid accounts of their own experiences and the benefits of a joinedup approach and answered questions


“It is great to be recognised for our work with apprentices and a good opportunity to share our best practice with those in attendance.” Kenny More Head of Training, Resources & Performance: Newcastle City Council

“Apprenticeships are our future and UNISON will also be working with employers in the region who currently don’t have apprenticeships to inform them how important they are e.g. for productivity of their organisation.” Gemma Taylor UNISON Regional Learning and Development Organiser

“The event was informative and inspiring. The Apprentices gave very impressive accounts of how being taken on as an apprentice had positively changed their future prospects of employment and education. “The value to employers, both financially and practically, of taking on apprentices was put across very well, as were the benefits of doing this in partnership with the trade unions." Eve Cole Branch Secretary UNISON: Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council

Wherever possible working with the Trade Unions on apprenticeships, and having them involved throughout the process, is invaluable to success and to maximise the benefits that apprentices can bring to organisations. What is important is that apprenticeships should never be seen as cheap labour for organisations but rather integral to their long term business plans, providing a dedicated and committed workforce for the future.”

“Working in partnership has to be the way forward, sharing best practices, transferring knowledge and experiences to other organisations can only help. These events provide a very good forum to improve one's understanding. “As I say here at Caterpillar Articulated Trucks, ‘our road to success is under construction!’"

“The event was informative and interesting. It brought home many of the aspects as to why apprenticeships are an important part of the future in businesses. The most important point brought home to me was that the campaign needs to reach the grass roots by promoting apprenticeships at school level. “ Rennie Simpson Unite union convenor: Caterpillar Peterlee

Phil Handley Managing Director: Caterpillar Peterlee

Andrew McIntosh GMB Workplace Organiser and ULR: South Tyneside Homes


Issue 27


SIZE BRIEFINGS Autumn 2011 As the summer holidays seem like a distant memory, unionlearn with the Northern TUC is proud to present their Autumn term offerings for the second round of Bitesize Briefings.

the NHS and the North East Better

Choosing credit – awareness of the

Health at Work award and organising

different credit options available to

around the Health and Wellbeing

people and looking at how to spot


value for money. Credit unions – what are they? How do they work?

Thursday 13th October: Bargaining for Skills and Organising This interactive briefing invites the reps

Looking at the Northern Money website.  

Tuesday 1st November: Update on Equality Act

and officers to explore how we ensure that learning and skills are an integral

This session will be providing an

part of union negotiations with

overview of the 2010 Equality Act from


the perspective of trade unions. It will

How do we engage employers


successfully and what arguments

Practical workshop exercises using

work with them?

real world workplace scenarios

How do we make learning

New updates to the law following

agreements in workplaces the norm,

changes subsequently made by the

so that members can get

Coalition Government

access to the learning they need

Awareness of employers’ obligations

and so that employers contribute

in this area

to development of their staff’s skills? 

This important session will provide reps

Eight short, informative sessions will

Is this the right time to take the

with latest information to inform and

take place on a whole range of subjects

next steps with bargaining for

represent their members and ensure

that aim to help regional reps keep up

learning and skills?

their rights under the Equality Act are

to date with the issues of the moment.

not overlooked.

Wednesday 19th October: Financial Exclusion awareness

see if there's a session (or two, or three,

This briefing will cover the main aspects

Tackling Racism is a bite size briefing

or four…) you might like to get your

of the financial issues many people are

to support trade union activists to

teeth into, please read the briefing

facing in the current economic climate

understand and challenge racist activity

content summaries and check out the

and equip reps to help members and

both in their workplace and in their

Autumn timetable.

their families to break the cycle.


This term we are proffering up briefings from An Introduction to Health and Wellbeing to Financial Capability - with

Thursday 10th November: Tackling Racism

just about everything in between. To

Thursday 6th October: Introduction to Workplace Health and Wellbeing


What is financial exclusion and how

do you spot the signs that someone

Its aim is to provide arguments,

is vulnerable to getting into debt? 

information and step by step help to

Dealing with Debt – How do people

union reps to make fundamental

get into debt? What are the recovery

changes in the workplace and to support

powers of priority and non priority

them to take up race issues at work.

This briefing is aimed at Reps who have

creditors? What are some of the

not been involved with Workplace Health

ways you can solve debt problems?

There are practical examples of:

and Wellbeing and makes the case for

Defining terms describing options

health interventions, engagement with

for dealing with debt.

challenging racist arguments

experiences of workers who have

The resource to back up the discussion

suffered racist attitudes and

will be our new guidance, “Disability


and Work” - available free from TUC

trade union activities to end


The briefing will assess the Government’s

discrimination at workplace, branch, national and international levels 

Monday 21st November: Understanding Disability and Work

Monday 12th December: Employment Law Update

plans to weaken employment rights

Friday 2nd December: An Introduction to Greening the Workplace

including: Making it easier for employers to sack staff and to limit workers’ access to Employment Tribunals 

Why is the environment a trade

Weakening TUPE protections for

union issue? What are the Identifying the main issues facing

implications of climate change:

disabled workers in the workplace

For work? For jobs? For skills?

today, including the link between

What does this mean for our way

sickness absence and disability

of life, trade unions and our



The legal right to “reasonable

What can trade unions and

adjustment” – its scope and limits

communities do?

contracted out employees Reducing the right to be consulted on collective redundancies   It will also cover TUC campaigns to protect employment rights and the right to strike.   

Tackling mental health




Autumn 2011 Timetable Briefing




Registration Contact

Introduction to Health and Wellbeing

Thursday 6 October

Northern TUC Newcastle

1.00pm to 4.00pm

Alex Rodgers

Bargaining for Skills and Organising

Thursday 13 October

Northern TUC Newcastle

1.00pm to 4.00pm

Ananthi Parkin

Financial Capability

Wednesday 19 October

Northern TUC Newcastle

1.00pm to 3.00pm

Anne Cairns

Update on Equality Act

Tuesday 1 November

Northern TUC Newcastle

9.30pm to 12.30pm

Charlotte Farrar

Tackling Racism

Thursday 10 November

Northern TUC Newcastle

1.00pm to 4.00pm

Ananthi Parkin

Understanding Disability at Work

Monday 21 November

Northern TUC Newcastle

1.00pm to 4.00pm

Helen Parry

Introduction to Greening the Workplace

Friday 2 December

Northern TUC Newcastle

1.00pm to 4.00pm

Helen Parry

Update on Employment Law

Monday 12 December

Northern TUC Newcastle

1.00pm to 4.00pm

Melanie Lowden

Please check the timetable below for details of preferred sessions. For general enquiries or to register via telephone, please call 0191 232 3175 and ask for the designated Bitesize Briefing contact.


Issue 27

Bright Sparks at HMP Acklington Shine during Adult Learners Week HMP Acklington played their part during the 20th Adult Learners Week which was held from 14-20 May.


visit the Learning Centre that day

Skills at HMP Acklington said: “The

received a free tasty treat, as well as

concept of Adult Learners Week for a

new skills. And for the more vocationally

transient workforce is important for two

and artistically inclined there was the

reasons: the first reason is that staff

launch of Bright Sparks’ Photographer

can develop their own attributes as well

of the Year competition for any budding

as learn new ones and secondly, it

David Baileys.

makes for a more prosperous and diverse company of staff. The union

Hannah Pugh, Learner Support POA

Learning Centre and its staff are an

Union Learning Rep said: “ As a union

important team within the prison

Learning Centre, we are in a position

establishment and the wider prison’s

of being able to offer staff of our prison

community and their work is invaluable

and members of the local community

to the promotion of learning for all.”

The Bright Sparks workplace learning

a variety of brilliant learning

project based at HMP Acklington in


Northumberland, held a range of diverse

Manager said: “The ongoing work of

and engaging activities to encourage

“Adult Learners Week is the perfect

the Bright Sparks ULRs and wider project

as many people as possible - members,

occasion to let people know that these

partners to provide such a fantastic

staff, friends, family and the community

opportunities exist, are accessible and

array of learning activities for their

- to learn something new.

most importantly possible. It’s an

colleagues and beyond is what Adult

invaluable chance to connect with the

Learners Week is all about. From helping

The Union Learning Reps who head up

workforce and show them the benefits

people get online to showing them how

the project arranged something for

of learning something new.

to play tennis on a Wii are all new

everyone, with both formal and informal

learning experiences – many of which

learning opportunities, including maths,

“When someone realises what they’re

offer transferable skills too. I hope

English and supported IT drop-in

capable of and can accomplish through

everyone who can take advantage did

sessions as well as a week-long Book

lifelong learning it makes what we do

- let’s hope there were enough

and Video swap. For the more active,

even more meaningful. Adult Learners

doughnuts to go round!”

there was the hotly anticipated Wii

Week provides so many of these

Wednesday where participants could


take part in a Wii ‘gamestravaganza’ or simply cheer on their colleagues as they competed to become the Bright Sparks Ultimate Champion! As if the wealth of activity wasn’t enough the Bright Sparks team sweetened the deal even further with the promise of a surprise ‘Doughnut Day’ during the week where anyone lucky enough to


Kevin Rowan, unionlearn Regional

Tony Pinkerton, Head of Learning and

Carlisle Rural Payments Agency A healthy interest in learning To celebrate Learning at Work Day on 19 May 2011, the PCS Union Learning Reps at the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) in Carlisle organised a host of activities for members and staff in the workplace. With a focus on Health and Wellbeing, this year’s event will, amongst other things, see participants engaged in a round of ‘Beer Goggles Bowling’ as part of an alcohol awareness session, aimed to promote healthy living and educate people on the short, medium and longterm effects of drinking alcohol. The session involves participants placing a specially made pair of goggles over the eyes which simulate the effects of drinking several alcoholic beverages,

demonstrated a real commitment to.

standing behind a marker, then bowling

initiatives from walking to work to focusing on individual health issues

a ball to try to knock down pins several

Terry Gadd, a Senior Manager at the

that may affect people now or in the

feet away – which invariably proves

Rural Payments Agency who is also

future. We identified the need to set

very difficult!

involved with the Carlisle Wellbeing

up a Wellbeing Group to raise awareness

Group said: “Learning at Work Day is

of health and wellbeing and organise

The exercise is fun and engaging yet

an ideal opportunity to celebrate learning

activities to support being healthy. Our

delivers a clear message about how

and development and to encourage

people are our most important resource

alcohol impairs motor-function on even

people to develop their skills and

and we want to support people to be

the simplest of tasks and is an excellent

experience. The focus here has very

fit and healthy.”

lead into the awareness session.

much been on personal development,

including trying out different types of

Declan Burton, who participated in the

Tom Ross, unionlearn Health and

fitness such as Zumba or having a go

beer goggles game, said: “The beer

Wellbeing Project Worker, hosted the

with another language.

goggles game was a lot of fun, I think

session as part of his region-wide work

it shows you how everything should be

on promoting healthy workers and

“Learning at Work Day fits in really well

in moderation. Personally I never drink

workplaces, something which the unions

with the Carlisle Wellbeing Group which

at a weekend so I can spend time with

and management at RPA Carlisle have

is all about highlighting wellbeing

my children and not spoil their fun.”


Issue 27

Usdaw: Checkout Learning Sustainability Study who not only treats the feet but also

The Usdaw project is continuing to offer a ‘super-store’ of learning.

gives out advice and information, teaching staff about how to take care of their feet: what creams to use and how often they should be applied, how

After 3 successful years as one of the

to treat corns, verrucas, hard skin or

northern region’s flagship Learning for

in-growing toenails.

All Fund projects, Checkout Learning South has flown the nest but is

Jayne Chapman, lead ULR for the project

continuing all of the good work – and

said: “I think projects like ours are a

more – it has done previously, thanks

real positive for members and colleagues

to Usdaw’s Union Learning Fund project.

as many people come to work and often

Having engaged with over 300 learners

forget about themselves. Checkout

already it is a well established project

Learning gives people the chance to

and a feather in both Usdaw and Tesco’s

come out of their comfort zone and

respective caps.

explore something different and gives them the opportunity to learn for


Jayne Chapman, dedicated lead ULR for

is demand. The incentivised maths and

themselves. I make sure that people

the last few years, is continuing in her

English are always a popular choice

know they’re never too old to learn and

busy post which involves around 1500

and a double-bonus for learners as

think the project and ULRs bring people

workers, on a 3 day secondment every

through the provider they not only gain

together, not only as learners, but as

week; covering all 14 of the Tesco stores

a Level 1 or 2 qualification, but are also

a community too. I am very grateful

in the south of the region, which includes

rewarded for their achievements with

to be able to continue doing something

Bishop Auckland, Newton Aycliffe, South

highstreet vouchers. However, the most

that I love and that I feel makes such

Shields and Gateshead. Not content

popular course of all demonstrates the

a difference.”

with that, the Checkout Learning project

learner-led nature of union learning yet

is also working to expand its remit and

is also probably the most work-related

Martyn Warwick, Usdaw full-time

identify someone like Jayne (a mobile

- ‘Healthy Feet’ - as most of the retail-

Learning Official who supports Checkout

and experienced Union Learning Rep)

based staff wear safety shoes and/or

Learning in the region said: “The project

who can use 2 days secondment to the

spend significant time throughout their

was doing so well through the Learning

project to offer colleagues a little further

working day standing or walking.

for All Fund that Usdaw felt it very

north (Tyneside and North Tyneside)

important to keep it going as that

the same learning opportunities as their

The Healthy Feet sessions are the result

funding stream ended, especially as it

counterparts in the south.

of a taster session piloted during Adult

ticks all of the boxes of our national

Learners Week last year and was so

learning priorities, too. The work Jayne

At the moment, the majority of courses

well received it has become a regular

and the other ULRs have done is

for learners are based around maths

date throughout the stores – with a full

fantastic and continues to be – their

and English, IT and Spanish, with more

waiting list – and currently there are

sustainability is extremely valuable for,

unusual courses like British Sign

150 people signed up! The service is

and valued by, the learners, union and

Language running alongside where there

provided by a local mobile chiropodist


Health and Wellbeing Trade unions pioneering the benefits There has been an enormous appetite amongst Trade Unions and employers alike in the North East for Workplace Health and Wellbeing. Northern Trade unionists are now

Wellbeing initiatives that otherwise would not have been introduced.

Around half of the employers felt relationships between the workforce and management had improved as a

70% of employees are less likely to

result of the project.

take time off work due to ill health and around 40% of employers stated that

With these facts in mind and the desire

sickness absenteeism had reduced as

amongst trade unions for knowledge,

a result of the project.

TU Ed have developed a new module

specifically for reps on understanding

recognised as pioneers in the promotion

More than 70% of employers and

the issues around workplace health and

of Health and Wellbeing working in

90% of employees reported the

wellbeing and recognising the

partnership with both the NHS and

workplace is now a better place to work.

forthcoming changes in how public

regional employers.

health in England will be managed. The 47% of businesses reported an

module will also make the case for trade

The outcomes have been staggering

increase in productivity as a result of

unions to lead the way in this area

with the following benefits highlighted

the project.

reproducing the above results in their

in a recent independent report:

own workplaces.

65% of employers and 60% of 90% of employers and employees

employees felt the project had helped

For more information contact Tom Ross

agreed the project encouraged the

encourage innovation and the generation

on 0191 227 5555 or 07919 174 202.

company to implement Health and

of new ideas within the company.


Issue 27 Kevin Rowan Northern TUC Regional Secretary Beth Farhat (Maternity Leave) Union Development Co-ordinator Ian West Regional Education Officer Ken Gyles Acting Union Development Co-ordinator Linda Hughes Acting Union Development Co-ordinator Dave Storrie Senior Union Support Officer

Email alerts You’ve got mail! If you’ld like to keep up to date with the latest unionlearn activites, you can register for regular emails to inform you of any additions or changes to the unionlearn site.

Pat Winter Union Support Officer

Tom Ross Health and Wellbeing Project Worker Susanne Nichol Marketing and Communications

date with learning and skills related news,

You can also register to receive any of our regular e-bulletins.

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For information on events or issues please contact the Northern TUC

October 2011 Calendar

November 2011 Continued


Bitesize Briefing Northern TUC Offices


Regional Executive


Bitesize Briefing Northern TUC Offices


Reclaim the Night County Durham


Bitesize Briefing Northern TUC Offices

Julie Robinson Higher Level Skills Project Worker Mike Tansey Higher Level Skills Project Worker

instructions from there to be kept up to events and information.

Joe McGuigan Union Support Officer Graeme Rushton Union Support Officer Cumbria

hand side), then simply follow the

November 2011 Calendar 01

Bitesize Briefing Northern TUC Offices


Bitesize Briefing Northern TUC Offices


Bitesize Briefing Northern TUC Offices

December 2011 Calendar 02

Bitesize Briefing Northern TUC Offices


Bitesize Briefing Northern TUC Offices ELSF Date TBC


TUC Office Closed for Christmas Break Reopens 3 January 2011

Northern TUC, 5th Floor, Commercial Union House 39 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 6QE Telephone 0191 232 3175 or email Copyright in this publication is held by the TUC unless otherwise stated. For further copies of this item contact Northern TUC on 0191 232 3175 or via Email This text may also be made available, on request, in accessible formats such as braille, audio tape and large print, at no extra cost.


unionsnorth magazine issue 27  

Digital Inclusion Special Digital Champions, UK Online, BBC First Click, celebs and regional learners Take a taste of Bitesize Briefings Th...

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