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SUMMER 2013

onward with North West unionlearn and North West TUC

■  Adult Learning Week and Learning at Work Day in May 3 ■  ‘Working Together’ – unionlearn Annual Regional Conference  4 ■ Regional Collective Learning Fund 6 ■ PCS Branch in HMRC Salford 6 ■ First Manchester Lifelong Learning Project 7 ■ unionlearn supporting the Union Learning Fund  8 ■  Working with PCS in HMRC – A Historic Day for Learning in Salford  9 ■  Virgin Trains Learning Open Day at Lime Street Station, Liverpool 9 ■ Go On It’s Liverpool continues to lead the way 10 ■ Go On Preston 10 ■  Go On Manchester – unions taking digital inclusion to our communities  11 ■  Go On Tameside  11 ■  Fired up for Learning – Learning At Work Day with the FBU at GMFRS Training Centre, Manchester, May 2013 12 ■ Norman Hunter wins the Local Digital Champions Award in London sponsored by Go On UK  13 ■  Rochdale Community Learning Champions Training receives the unionlearn Quality Award  14 ■  STOP PRESS! Celebration of Learning Events and Funding 15 ■  Communication and Contacts  16


onward Welcome to the latest edition of Onward Welcome to the latest edition of Onward, unionlearn North West regional magazine for unions and Union Learning Reps. I’m delighted to have taken over from Alan Manning as the regional Secretary of the TUC in the North West following his retirement earlier this year, and look forward to working with many of you over the coming years. The important role of unionlearn and ULRs has been highlighted in the TUC’s National Campaign Plan launched this year on May Day, and this is reflected in our regional work programme for the forthcoming years. Whether it’s about jobs and the economy, dignity at work or stronger unions, the union learning agenda really is at the heart of what we do at the TUC. Unionlearn is a vital support mechanism for unions campaigning Lynn Collins, Regional Secretary, NW TUC

for jobs, skills, and good employment in the workplace. Being a Union Learning Rep is a great way to get involved in union activism and is often a route into activism for those not traditionally taking up roles in our unions. Women and young members will often see the value of engaging with a learning agenda, bringing them into the trade union family and making sure our unions represent the diversity of membership that we have. The union learning agenda overlaps so much with the work of green and environment reps, equality reps and those bargaining on terms and conditions – it truly is at the heart of our trade union teams at workplace level. Over the next year we want to ensure our team in the North West continues to provide our unions with support and assistance in delivering a learning and skills agenda, and I very much look forward to working with you.

Best wishes, Lynn Collins, Regional Secretary, NW TUC  

The front cover shows part of the Visual Minutes created at unionlearn’s Annual Regional “Working Together” Conference at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in Warrington


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Adult Learning Week and Learning at Work Day in May

Helen Silk painting was very popular with many of the learners

Adult Learning Week provides a great opportunity to promote learning in the workplace and the role of Union Learning Reps. Unionlearn encourages all ULRs to use this as a chance to show the importance of learning and of the union role in this. We have had some fabulous innovative activities run by ULRs in various workplaces around our region for LAWD in the past and again this year! Funding for activity may be available from your union as well as from your employer for activities, and many are available free. Resources and ideas for activities are available from NIACE at www.alwnw.co.uk and the Campaign for Learning at www.campaign-forlearning.org.uk. Liverpool Councillor Nick Small presents a certificate of Achievement to NIACE Nominees. Dawn Williams was one of the NIACE nominees in the region who collected her certificate at the Crosssector learning event in Liverpool’s World Museum. Dawn has battled against illness to complete a Creative Writing Course at Blackburne House in Liverpool. Dawn’s tutor nominated her for an award and said Dawn is “a dedicated and supportive member of the writing group and even though she is often in a lot of pain, she never misses a session – she is a pleasure to teach

Organisations and providers including the Open University will support activity as an opportunity to showcase their courses to learners (see www.openuniversity.co.uk/ learnatwork) Start planning your Adult Learning Week and Learning at Work Day activities for May 2014 now!

Merseyside Cross-sector Union and Community event for Adult Learning Week The Cross-sector learning group, comprising ULRs, Community Learning Champions and Workplace Learning Advocates, puts on a large event in Liverpool city centre to mark Adult Learning Week each year. The event is in its

fourth year now, and took place all day at the World Museum on William Brown Street in Liverpool City centre on Friday 24th May. The event was attended by hundreds of people from across Merseyside, and included interactive learning stalls from a great variety of organisations, with poets, arts and crafts and singing from the Merseytravel workplace choir. There were presentations for the region’s nominated NIACE learners in the Treasure House theatre, from Liverpool’s Cabinet Member for Skills and Employment, Councillor Nick Small, and to other learners who had achieved during the year via Liverpool’s Adult Learning Services. Plays about austerity and other events utilising the theatre also attracted the crowds. Liverpool’s World Museum donated the venue for the day. The Merseyside Cross-sector Steering Group meets throughout the year to support learning in all settings, with the annual ALW event as a centrepiece high-profile activity to promote adult learning across the Merseyside region. See other examples of LAWD activity on page 12

For further information Please contact Laura Robertson-Collins e lrobertsoncollins@tuc.org.uk t 0151 236 2321 m 07786 706 816


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‘Working Together’ Unionlearn Annual Regional Conference Over 250 delegates attended the Unionlearn ‘Working Together’ conference in The Halliwell Jones Stadium, the home of Warrington Wolves, in December 2012. The conference brought together Union Learning Reps, Workplace Learning Advocates and Community Learning Champions in the first regional conference for all three types of learning representatives. The event was an opportunity to share good practice across these three sectors and look at current issues around adult learning and skills in them.

Dave Eva presents a unionlearn Quality Award to Lorraine Lewis and Janet Hussein-Ali of Merseycare

Plenary sessions looked at the work of all three key partners with contributions from Dave Eva, Regional Manager at unionlearn, Liz Johnston of the Workplace Learning Advocates and on the role of Community Learning Champions from Helen Plant from NIACE. The conference

was also addressed on the innovative work of the Merseyside ‘Cross Sector Learning Group’ from Tony Norbury of Merseytravel. Unionlearn Quality Awards were awarded to eight providers for specific areas of their work which includes:


page 5 >>Mantra Learning for their Information Careers Advice (Mark Currie and Maureen Comiskey) >>Tameside College for Functional Skills in Business Improvement Techniques and Logistics (Louise Elson, Jacqui Anderson and Chris Matthews) >>Ashworth Hospital for Merseycare Apprenticeship Programmes (Lorraine Lewis and Janet Hussein-Ali) >>PCS at Trinity House for Information Careers Advice (Michael Bennett, Donna Smith and Pauline Hutton) >> Skills Solutions for NVQs (Gerald Leckey and Lisa Chapman) >>Oldham College for their Leadership and Management Qualification L2 and L3 (Cheryl Wiseman, Ged Latham and Tracey Germon) >>Joint Learning for their Apprenticeship Programme (Martin Byrne and Anne-Marie McCabe) >>Lancashire College for Apprenticeships with South Ribble Council (Carol Ann Smith and Christine Goldstone) On receiving the unionlearn Quality Award Mantra’s Executive Director Mark Currie said, “Mantra Learning has worked with Unionlearn for over 5 years. We have achieved many combined goals.  As part of that process we have been able to refresh individuals qualifications and up-skill them to address technological change and new working practices. Achieving the unionlearn Quality Award, we believe it will only strengthen the partnership we already have with unionlearn and their affiliate unions.” Delegates also participated in workshops about Digital Inclusion, Functional Skills, Social Media, Informal Adult & Community Learning, Health & Wellbeing, Resilience, and Apprenticeships. Delegate comments about the day were overwhelmingly positive. An USDAW ULR said, “This was my first conference, I was very surprised how well everyone was looked after. I found it very useful and have took full advantage of the people offering training and I’m currently negotiating for apprenticeships offered by Intraining.” A training provider said, “The overarching information about how the community and workplace learning reps work alongside the Union learning Reps was helpful.” One PCS delegate said, “The event was very well attended which meant there were plenty of people to chat to and share ideas. The workshops were very informative especially the functional skills and social media workshops where we were given plenty of information to take away”. A GMB representative said: “The Digital Inclusion workshop was very useful. Allowed me to cross- network with people also running community venues offering online support”. A highlight was the Manchester Airport Choir (as featured on BBC’s ‘Sing While You Work’ programme!) which welcomed delegates to the event. The event was recorded or interpreted with a series of ‘visual minutes’ which were put

up on the walls (as featured on cover photo) during the conference. The artists create a “live, illustrated record of conferences, events, meetings and debates”’ to capture words in a dynamic, creative and exciting way. This meant that minutes unfolded live during the event, intended as a way of making all information digestible (see Visual Minutes at www. clairestringer.com)

For further information Please contact Tony Saunders e tsaunders@tuc.org.uk t 0151 236 2321


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Regional Collective Learning Fund where fee arrangements have included a contribution to the CLF.

Many ULRs are familiar with

12 CLFs have been operating over the last five years in the NW region, and the changing funding system for learning and skills has again made them topical with the reduction in state funding for over 25’s and the introduction of adult loans requiring that we look again at how to support members in achieving their learning objectives.

the concept of the Collective Learning Fund. At unionlearn we have been encouraging unions to set these up as a means of sustaining learning projects beyond initial funding, or in the absence of other external funding. unionlearn Regional Coordinator Tony Saunders CLFs are best thought of as a way of linking up the funding for all the various elements of training and learning that go on in the workplace, whether the funds originate from the employer, government, providers, unions or the individual workers. The driving principle is about managing this ‘pot’ of resources effectively to see how all the contributions can be joined up to best suit individual learning need and the needs of the workplace.

The concept of ‘co-investment’ is now firmly part of this Government’s agenda for learning at work, with loans replacing grants and subsidy in both HE and FE, and the trial of Skills Banks as part of the Employer Ownership of Skills initiative. Some unions have established CLFs through negotiating agreements between trade unions and employers which set up arrangements for pooling their learning resources. Another means is via providers

Now in addition to projects establishing their own locally-managed CLFs the NWTUC is forming a CLF to provide a regional resource to support learning and skills initiatives by unions and the TUC. The fund will be used to support additional workplace learning, and will be complementary to unionlearn and the ULF, it will not replace this. it will be made up from contributions from employers or other organisations that want to promote workplace learning, provider payments from referrals to courses, and other funds eg for Learning At Work Day. Tony Saunders, unionlearn Co-ordinator says: “A NWTUCCLF will allow us more flexibility to offer opportunities to unions at workplace level in particular. We hope that this funding will be available in October of this year, when unions will be able to bid to run activities for the ‘Celebration of Learning’ from it.” See announcement on page 15 for latest news.

PCS Branch in HMRC Salford The Collective Learning Fund (CLF) at the PCS Branch based in HMRC Salford was established to overcome a number of issues that were preventing learning projects from developing. The branch has a thriving Union Learning Centre (ULC) available to all staff, currently approximately 1900 in number, with over 1500 union members. When the ULC was established it was kitted out with items that were basically begged, borrowed and acquired!

Mike Bennett – PCS Branch Learning Coordinator says: “This meant the centre was up and running but it also meant that it was largely operating with unsuitable equipment. Ultimately, this held learning back as we were unable to tap in to the digital environment.” The branch had clear ideas on their direction of travel where learning was concerned, which involved developing a mixture of informal and formal learning opportunities in parallel. The ULC needed modern affordable IT, it required a separate broadband connection (as it was unable to utilise existing departmental systems), PCS wanted an element of portability with the IT and an infrastructure that would support outside learning providers as well as internally led solutions. In order to do this access to funding was needed in a way that allowed development of priorities through controlling the spending decisions that would support and enable the ULC’s growth. Mike Bennett says: “Initial funding was supplied by Unionlearn and this allowed us to kick start the redevelopment of the ULC.

From there we have sought a number of grants through organisations such as UKOnline, allowing us to develop the ULRs through PTLLS and CTLLS training. We are an UKOnline centre and through this relationship we have been able to access additional funding by delivering agreed levels of outcomes. We have also grown the CLF as a result of projects we have worked on with a number of learning providers. This has allowed us to reinvest grant funding to improve the facilities available to all staff using the centre.” The CLF constitution ensures the funding is separate to the branch and therefore can only be used by the ULRs for the purposes of learning. The CLF is used for the continuing development of the ULC and as well as to offer subsidised learning for members where possible. The CLF is audited at the end of each year and is presented to the members as part of the branch AGM. For more information contact Jeff Latham at jlatham@tuc.org.uk


First Manchester Lifelong Learning Project First Manchester is a bus operator in Greater Manchester with learner centres in four of its five depots. It benefits from a National Partnership Agreement with Unite’s project worker at First Bus

Stuart Smith, the Unite Project Worker at First Manchester describes the development of the Collective Learning Fund at the learning project there: “We first became aware of Collective

Learning Funds in 2007, when we were developing partnerships between a number of our smaller depots. In 2009, we consolidated our accounts into one account, which has since served all our depots. We have been fortunate to win a number of internal and external awards which have kept our fund balance pretty healthy. The employer is particularly generous and organises an annual conference and awards ceremony, where we have been successful in winning a number of cash prizes in recent years. We have recently hosted a Maths Champions Training Session for which we were again given a fee. “During these times of declining funding opportunities, our CLF has allowed us to support our colleagues with a wide range of learning opportunities, which would have been impossible had we not had access to these funds. We have used our CLF to support a wide range of activities, for example: >>Camera Club + Photo Competition; >>Guitar Club + bought two acoustic guitars;

Dave Alexander presenting the Gold Award to Gosia Piasecka, Bob Holt and Stuart Smith of First Bus

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>>Paid for equipment and tutor to deliver Emergency First Aid sessions; and >>Provided free class trips to Chester, Liverpool, Windermere, York, Dunham Massey and most of the museums in Manchester. Stuart adds: “Unionlearn supported and advised us when we were setting up our CLF account and it has proved to be one of the most valuable pieces of support we have been given.” See the photo below of Gosia Piasecka, Bob Holt, Dave Alexander, Stuart Smith where Dave is presenting the award to Reps from First’s Manchester Queens Road Bus Depot.

For further information Please contact Jeff Latham e jlatham@tuc.org.uk t 0161 872 2688 m 07500 041 253


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Unionlearn supporting the Union Learning Fund Unionlearn provides support to ULRs across all unions and work sectors to help deliver Union Learning Fund targets for all our ULF projects. This includes direct support from our Union Support Officers, based in Liverpool and Salford (and willing to travel!). The case studies on these pages are just a few of the projects to which we provide support to the ULRs in the workplace. If you need help or advice on learning at work then please do contact unionlearn, as well as your own union, for support.

Alison LeGood, Rob Upton, Caroline Mclaren and Irene Catarall on the PC

USDAW and the National Careers Service Information Bus Visits USDAW reps at the Tesco supermarket in Old Swan, Liverpool organised for the National Careers Service bus to visit to promote learning in the community for the shop staff in November 2012. The ULRs were supported by unionlearn’s Kath Dawson as well as Rob Upton their USDAW project worker to organise the visit, which was to promote online learning and give information on how Universal Credit may affect staff when it is introduced. Many supermarket staff work part-time and claim benefits in addition to being in work, so welfare reform is a big issue for USDAW’s members. The bus was visited by a wide range of Tesco staff with varying ages and interests, the majority of staff saying they gained knowledge about Universal Credit and information about using the internet. Most of the visiting members said they would be interested

in some type of computer training to help with accessing the internet safely - so long as there were not any tests involved! This could be achieved with a two hour workshop over a period of four to six weeks, within the workplace. Some of the older generation where adamant that they would never use the net for any reason, however, and said if they needed to access the net they would get their children to do it for them! This was the first time USDAW at Old Swan had used the NCS bus, which then visited other Tesco stores at St Helens, Haydock, Southport and Heswall in early 2013, to promote functional skills in Maths and English, to enable staff to be ready for the Tesco apprenticeship sign up this September. Julia Baldwin, USDAW project worker said: “This was the first time we had used the NCS bus, I feel it was a success for our members and the members of the community who visited the bus.” Picture left show USDAW Mobile ULR Rob Upton outside the bus. Rob says, “Using computers is a benefit and a useful tool and nothing to be scared of.”

For further information Please contact Kath Dawson e kdawson@tuc.org.uk t 0151 236 2321 m 07717 531 154


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CASE STUDY

Working with PCS in HMRC A Historic Day for Learning in Salford At the end of last year PCS ULRs from HMRC in Salford organised a trip to Ordsall Hall as part of their Celebration of Learning activity. ULRs were given a tour of the site contextualised to the Victorian era when the Hall became increasingly linked with local industrialists and the local landscape began to transform from country estate to an increasingly urban environment. They then spent some time discussing research resources and methods with Hall staff and ran a self-directed online discovery session using laptops. The visit concluded with ULRs purchasing a range of history resources including wallcharts and booklets to take back to the learning centre. An overarching aim of the event was to facilitate a link between the ULRs and the Hall, which is run by Salford Community Leisure Trust, the organisation that now

oversees museums, galleries and libraries in that city. This year’s Celebration of Learning in the region focused on engagement in learning through digital inclusion. In this context it was important to encourage and support interest in particular subjects through the use of ICT in combination with other learning formats and environments. One of the benefits to the employer of this was widening digital inclusion among employees which underpins the use of organisational development tools which are online. Another benefit was encouraging use of the workplace learning centre including formal learning through introductory informal routes. The employer support the PCS union as ULRs were released to attend and will get release for the follow on work. The event was supported by UL NW USO Janet Valentine, and Staff from Ordsall Hall, Salford

Mike Bennett, Branch Learning Coordinator at PCS – Salford Revenue Branch said, “Sheer professionalism from start to finish. The tour of the Hall and informal workshop that followed was led by Lauren whose knowledge and enthusiasm brought the material to life and enlightened and engaged the whole group. Kim who we made all the arrangements with and her colleagues ensured we were well looked after in this wonderful setting. We have made links here that we will be able to use in further projects (such as Learning at Work Day) with Ordsall Hall’s outreach programme” Janet Valentine said, “The ULRs aim to engage with the Hall on further work including exchanging local information and knowledge which will benefit the research activities the Hall is undertaking and provide further learning opportunities for colleagues.”

CASE STUDY

Virgin Trains Learning Open Day at Lime Street Station, Liverpool RMT Project workers Graeme Chesters and John Dougherty helped to set up an Education Open Day for the RMT members and reps at Lime Street Station at the end of 2012. ULRs Sarah Wilson and Annette Furlong had recently completed their ULR training and wanted to provide an Education Open Day for learners and other ULRs at the train crew depot in Liverpool. The aim was to raise the profile of the learning agenda to colleagues and to Virgin Trains management. Learner surveys were undertaken first, and taster courses provided on the day. Virgin train staff are spread across the UK, from London to Glasgow. The ULRs are hoping to engage members nationally across the network. The work patterns and geographical spread provide many challenges for these staff, in terms of being able to speak to ULRs or undertake learning A variety of providers and information was aimed at ULRs, for them to take out to wider membership. The event included opportunities for Functional skills learning, holiday Spanish, British Sign Language, first aid and computer skills. Unionlearn’s Union Support Officer, Laura Robertson-Collins, attended to demonstrate the unionlearn tablets, which were used as an introduction

to mobile digital learning, with learners undertaking alcohol awareness and diet assessments at the event. Hugh Baird College attended to promote FE and HE courses. Annette Furlong RMT ULR said, “I thought the event was a big success, it was great to be able to provide members with help and guidance for courses they are interested in. The providers were brilliant and I felt the knowledge and experience I gained on my ULR courses as well as working together with

John and Sarah, helped me to gain confidence and ability to make the day a success.” Sarah Wilson RMT ULR said, “I really enjoyed the day and gained a much clearer insight of how to work with education providers for the benefit of our members. They offered much more flexibility in providing courses than I originally thought possible and had a very fresh and enthusiastic approach to learning.I think the day was a great success and I can’t wait for our members to start achieving.”


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Go On It’s Liverpool continues to lead the way Marj Wainwright and Laura Robertson-Collins of unionlearn promoting digital inclusion in Liverpool

quarter however, pointing to the diff iculty of sustaining this agenda.

One of the first ‘Go On Places’ to be launched as part of the Race Online in the summer of 2011, this campaign is being held up by Go On UK as an example to others. The campaign was show-cased at the recent ND13 national digital conference held at the TUC’s Congress centre in London in June Liverpool reduced the digital divide in the city by 55% in 15 months following the launch of the campaign in June 2011 – from 104,000 adults who had never been online, 29% of the population, to only 46,000 in October 2012 (12%). Current figures are around 18% digitally excluded in the last

The Go On It’s Liverpool model for a Go On Places campaign points to the importance of the “Three ‘P’s”: Political leadership; Promotion and publicity; and Partnership. Laura Robertson-Collins of unionlearn, who chairs the Go On It’s Liverpool Campaign says “It is the depth and breadth of the partnership of this campaign which has made it so successful – despite the absence of any direct funding! Unionlearn, the City Council’s libraries and Adult Learning Services, the housing associations, the voluntary organisations and also private sector partners such as BT and Lloyds bank, all contribute to the agenda. All work to recruit digital champions and cascade the digital inclusion message in a way relevant to that organisation”. The Carnegie Trust have just published their study of digital exclusion in Glasgow (Across The Divide – Tackling Digital Exclusion in Glasgow), an in-depth study which concludes that both an over-arching city-wide strategy, with a steering group of key partners, and the vital peer-to-peer work on the digital champion model are both crucial to reaching all the community. Laura says: “The report is a fascinating read for anyone interested in digital inclusion, and it also shows the Liverpool model is working on the right lines!”. See page 12 for story of Merseytravel Digital Champion winning national award.

Go On Preston in Preston Unionlearn have been approached by Preston CVS to help support community groups struggling with using computers and access to a quality learning environment. The local CVS have sourced a town centre shop unit which will be developed into a learning centre. The Centre will support those most in need of basic computer skills and other learning issues. The idea will be to open the centre with key partner support, then develop outreach centres in local communities through the housing association and union links. In addition the Social Forum within Preston Council now has a sub group for social and digital inclusion. The local CVS have been successful in obtaining an ‘Awards for All’ project. The plan is to open the learning centre as soon as possible with unionlearn and wider trade union support. UCATT, Unison and Unite have already pledged support. The CVS project will then map out the IT learning support resources within the town and coordinate learning activity building up a network of support to local people.

For further information Please contact Mark Rowe e mrowe@tuc.org.uk t 0161 872 2688 m 07825 684524


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Go On Manchester – unions taking digital inclusion to our communities Steve Lynch

of Manchester City UNISON says that the benefits of digital inclusion can be life transforming: >>Small businesses that go online grow twice as fast as their competitors >>Households save up to £560 per year shopping and paying bills online >>The estimated increased lifetime earnings of all children being online in Manchester is £78.5 million >>The estimated increased lifetime earnings of the unemployed going online in Manchester is £6.7 million Government services are going online. Residents and businesses can make a payment, report a problem and request a service, anytime and anywhere they want, with all the convenience that brings. Online transactions will keep Council costs down and improve efficiencies, so encouraging customers to do it online benefits the Council substantially and sustainably People will have a personalised, self-service web experience with a breadth of localised services at their fingertips. The Go ON Manchester Digital Champions campaign is aimed at everyone who feels they have something to offer. It aims to help people go online in the first place, help local businesses to improve their online presence and enable people, businesses and community organisations to develop new skills and capacities. The partners have nominated staff or members to become Digital Champions. They run workshops, including training and networking events, to support Digital Champions. Manchester Digital Development Agency (MDDA) is currently working with the digital and creative network to develop these resources, as part of the ‘Manchester Living Lab’. This is all about enabling Digital Champions to pass on their skills as well as gaining access to new opportunities for themselves. To date, 400 digital champions have been recruited, with people out on the street campaigning and support from local student unions. A particular focus has been the area of social housing, with social landlords keen to get residents digitally included. As Steve Lynch, UNISON member and ULR Coordinator at Manchester City Council, says, “Supporting tenants is particularly important with the introduction of Universal Credit, which is why we are focusing on areas of high density social housing, like Wythenshawe, providing courses to residents with support from the area’s digital champions.” Steve, who has taken the lead in developing Go ON Manchester, adds, “People are panicking about getting online, what with the welfare changes underway. Go ON can help them access re-serviced, cheap computers, and

Over a three day period the events generated a wide range of interest and GMB project workers were on hand to give advice and support individuals to have a go on a computer, some for the very first time. The exercise was seen as a vital part of the GMB ULF community support activity.

Manchester City Council is working with a range of partners including unionlearn, Go On Tameside Manchester College, the Tameside council is the first council in the Chamber of Commerce, the country to test out the new Universal Credit welfare reforms. Unions have been working Manchester Digital trade closely with the council on up-skilling the workforce to meet some of the demand association, social housing universal credit will bring. In conjunction with this initiative unionlearn were approached organisations, local digital by a community group ‘Friends of Haughton Library’ which now runs the community and creative networks such Green centre since its transfer from the council. working with a range of unions and as the Manchester Digital Lab Unionlearn Manchester College supported the Friends (MadLab), and a wide range of Haughton Green at their launch event on 14th April. Hundreds of people came along of voluntary and community and the unionlearn stall had a very busy day and Manchester College had a wide range of organisations. Leading local requests. Steve Hewitt, Project worker from Unite the Union said, “It was an enjoyable organisations are pledging to day. It was a pleasure for Unite to support this community event and the Unite, Learn My Way, support Go On Manchester online course, now has 28 new recruits”. Steve Swift, Project Coordinator from Unison and are encouraging their said it was great to support colleagues who have come together to help form the Haughton staff and users to become Green Community Volunteer group. The day has proved the need to support those in the Digital Champions direct to them to learning centres, libraries and courses where more help is available. One of the commonest things I hear is: ‘why didn’t I do this earlier? It’s not as hard as I feared’.” The Go On Manchester campaign has had support from the GMB union, with the GMB bus used in conjunction with Manchester University student community volunteers group. Working together with MDDA the GMB Bus has provided a learning resource in communities as widespread as Wythenshawe, Harpurhey and Longsight, encouraging individuals to have a go at using a computer or brushing up their skills in an informal support setting.

community who are digitally excluded and Unison support to the community centre will continue.

Ann Keighley the volunteer coordinator said, “Thanks for the union support we just wanted to thank you for your help and support today at our Open Day event for the library and bandstand. We all enjoyed meeting volunteers and colleagues from Irwell Valley Housing Association and hope to make progress in ensuring local residents can access a library service with a learning centre and a wide range of activities. We have been approached by local business people looking to run events, and with readers group and others we hope to deliver something really special for our community”.


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Fired up for Learning – Learning At Work Day with the FBU at GMFRS Training Centre, Manchester, May 2013 Based on past successes with similar events, the FBU again worked with the employer this year to organise and facilitate an event on Learning At Work Day, 23 May, at the service Training Centre in central Manchester. Mark Dunne, Lead ULR for the FBU and Paul Smith GMFRS (ex FBU ULR now working in Training Centre) worked with unionlearn and Training Centre Staff and GMF&RS employees to provide a diverse range of learning opportunities, advice, resources and support with the chance to enrol for future programmes

and / or take part in on-the-day activities for LAWD. Further and higher education, workbased training provision, recreation, mental health, environment and recreation themes were all represented. The FBU was keen to promote provision available through its national learning centre which is currently able to offer funded supported distance learning at levels 1-3 regardless of prior qualifications. There were also opportunities secured through union and employer partnerships with providers for employees to access apprenticeships and higher education at subsidised rates. Some of this funding may no longer be available in future years. The Training Centre is in a central location for the entire service but inevitably colleagues from further afield or on watch were not able to attend on the day. An additional challenge therefore was to use the event to disseminate available opportunities through colleagues attending and through wider promotional work as well as securing enrolments on the day.

Benefits to employer included opportunities for employees to gain qualifications at all levels through flexible delivery routes with financial support. Employees were encouraged to attend the day if possible and/or enrol for programmes. Where appropriate e.g. with apprenticeships time off from fully productive working will be available for assessments. Janet Valentine UL NW USO says: “This event was notable for the diversity of resources, advice and support available on the day, the sheer volume of interest from colleagues attending and the securing of many enrolments for the FBU national learning centre programmes. There are a number of learners ready to enrol on FBU courses from August 1st as well as learners who enrolled throughout the week. As a result of subsequent enquiries from a learner on behalf of himself and his colleagues, he has also now also been engaged as a new ULR which will prove invaluable following the redeployment of the former ULR from an outlying station into the Training Centre.”

Norman Hunter wins the Local Digital Champions Award in London sponsored by Go On UK

Norman Hunter shows his Local Digital Champion award with Baroness Martha Lane-Fox, Graham Walker from Go On UK and Mariella Frostrup News just in that ULR and IT tutor from Merseytravel Norman Hunter has just been awarded the Local Digital Champions Award sponsored by Go On UK at the Technology4Good Awards at a ceremony in London for his work as inspirational tutor

helping people from disadvantaged parts of Merseyside get online for the first time The UK Technology4Good Awards are organised by AbilityNet and BT and sponsored by Barclaycard, BATA, Brandwatch, Camelot Group, Go ON UK, iT4communities, Information Technologists’

Company, Media Trust, Microlink, Microsoft, NFP Tweetup, Pleece & Co, Plug-In Media, UK Online Centres. Norman has been doing fantastic work supporting Go On initiatives across the Merseyside region so it’s great to see him get some recognition!


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From left to right: Colin Lambert, Leader of Rochdale Council, Community Champions Nicola Parkinson and Shaun Moscovita, Skills and Employment Manager Helen Chicot, and Tony Saunders, North West unionlearn Regional Coordinator

Rochdale Community Learning Champions Training receives the unionlearn Quality Award Community

Learning Champions (CLCs) perform a similar role to ULRs, outside of the workplace. Some local authorities directly support CLC projects, and in many places ULRs and CLCs work together on some learning projects (for example, see articles on unionlearn’s Regional Conference, and on the Merseyside Cross-Sector ALW event).

Community Champions in Rochdale are recruited and trained to help people who need some support. They are trained by Rochdale MBC to work with people to identify and clarify their goals; the person can work on any goals, but the emphasis chosen is often on well-being, skills, employment or family matters. The Champions are trained and are expert in using methods which help people progress towards their goals. In Rochdale MBC Unite the union are supporting the Community Champions. Rochdale Community Champions/Unite the union Community members are residents who have excellent “people” skills; they care about their local area and have a high level of expertise on their life experience. They use their skills and attributes to help others in their community. The training provided to the Community Champions reflects the expectation that anyone providing a service to people in the borough possesses the excellent interpersonal skills needed to transform lives ie Core Skills for all Champions, Foundation Skills, and Specialist qualifications that include support, teaching and coaching, Information Advice and Guidance and Open University. This training course has

now been recognised by unionlearn’s own Quality Award.

>>Helping people who are struggling with bereavement

Tony Saunders of Regional Co-ordinator for unionlearn says, “We are really pleased to present the unionlearn Quality Award to Rochdale Council and the Community Champions, this is excellent work and an inspiration to us all, and we look forward to working together”.

>>Help for people who want to get a job, through work clubs and one to one support

The Community Champions are trained to work with people from across the borough and have developed new ways of supporting residents who are facing real challenges. As a result, there are now 185 Community Champions who have delivered more than 2,000 positive outcomes relating to well-being, families, skills and employment. This includes people moving from long-term sickness into employment, others entering education, some learning to read and others simply being able to manage their family circumstances better and avoid family breakdowns. The team have an approved list of local providers whom they contract with – and some of the training provision is delivered in-house by qualified teachers / trainers in the team so that CLCs are trained in: >>Helping adults to develop skills (including reading, writing, maths, employability etc) >>Helping people to use computers and managing things online >>Helping parents to help their children with literacy >>Helping adults who are struggling with mental health issues (in partnership with other services)

>>Helping vulnerable or isolated people to get the most out of life >>Helping people to maximise their benefits or to deal with a change in circumstances >>Helping people to make the most of their money Helen Chicot, Skills and Employment Manager at Rochdale Councils said, “It’s great news that we’ve been awarded the unionlearn Quality Award… it has recognised our commitment to providing good quality training to our volunteers. The most important thing it recognises is the difference Community Champions make in promoting learning and skills to everyone in our community. The award will help us to recognise and value the contribution of Community Champions. That it comes from unionlearn is really important as it’s an organisation that our champions value and recognise. It’s been a pleasure working with unionlearn so far and we look forward to more partnership working in the future.” For further information Please contact John Inskip e jinskip@tuc.org.uk t 0151 236 2321 m 07717 531 148


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These resources can assist learning in the workplace, guide people on redundancy or retirement, advise on loans and handling money, apprenticeships, wellbeing and much more — and they’re all FREE! Get your supplies from vchander@tuc.org.uk or www.unionlearn.org.uk/publications

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STOP PRESS! Celebration of Learning Events and Funding Celebration of Learning Week 14th – 20th October Unionlearn will have funding available for ULRS to run workplace and community learning events throughout October. Details of how to apply will be circulated shortly by email and on our website. Meanwhile, please note the dates and start to plan your event now! Contact Tony Saunders on 0151 236 2321


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Communication and Contacts

Tony Saunders

John Halligan

Kath Dawson

John Inskip

Jeff Latham

Union Development Co‑ordinator

Senior Union Support Officer

Senior Union Support Officer

Union Support Officer

Union Support Officer

T 0151 236 2321 E tsaunders @tuc.org.uk

T 0151 236 2321 M 07717 531 151 E jhalligan @tuc.org.uk

T 0151 236 2321 M 07717 531 154 E kdawson@ tuc.org.uk

T 0151 236 2321 M 07717 531 148 E jinskip @tuc.org.uk

T 0161 872 2688 M 07500 041 253 E jlatham @tuc.org.uk

Responsible for ICT; Environment & Sustainability; IAG and Supporting Learners; Mental Health; and Response to Re covery and Recession

Responsible for Apprenticeships; Learning Agreements

Helps to lead on UNET; ICT; Equality and Diversity; and ESOL

Helps to lead on Digital inclusion; Apprenticeships; Mental health

Mark Rowe

Janet Valentine

Development   Worker

Union Support Officer

T 0161 872 2688 M 07825 684524 E mrowe @tuc.org.uk

T 0161 872 2688 M 07825 684 526 E jvalentine @tuc.org.uk

Helps to lead on Digital Inclusion

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

Responsible for Higher Education; Digital Inclusion; Older Workers (50+); Skills For Life and PDAs; UNET; and unionlearn Quality Award

Pete Holland Regional Education Officer

Laura Robertson‑Collins

T 0151 243 2564 E pholland @tuc.org.uk

Senior Union Support Officer

Responsible for TUC Education centres and all TUC Education courses

T 0151 236 2321 M 07786 706 816 E lrobertsoncollins @tuc.org.uk Responsible for Marketing & Publicity; ULR Networks; Local Government Skills Awards

Marj Wainwright Regional Administrative and Finance Officer T 0151 236 5366 E mwainwright @tuc.org.uk

Visha Chander Administrative Support Officer T 0151236 2321 E vchander @tuc.org.uk


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