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The Magazine of the Northern TUC

Kicking off the ‘train’ing! Newcastle United heroes try out a high-tech train simulator

Focus on Higher Learning Skills Unionlearn delivers the full learning journey to meet increased demand

We are the Champions PCS Union Learning Reps achieve Health Champion status

unions north Issue : 29 May 2012

Issue 28


Higher Level Skills

Education Learning and Skills Forum Climbing the ladder to Higher Skills      Stadium           of    Light       played      The  host      to  a   winning           team       off     the    pitch       as     unionlearn               with     the      Northern TUC celebrated the success of the innovative regional Higher Level Skills project.

economy over the last three years, and

Intervention by exception

how it can continue to make a difference

Outcome related funding

going forward.

Employer ownership of skills A need to do more for less

After opening remarks from ELSF Chair,

Joyce McAndrew of UCU, the afternoon

The final theme was explored in depth

session was taken straight into the

as this is probably the most relevant

heart of skills policy and funding by

bit for ULRs talking to members and

Gillian Miller, Skills Funding Agency

colleagues and has the largest bearing

Director - Area Relationship Team (North

on the strategic and operational

On 14 March more than 60 delegates

East). The key themes of this

delivery/funding of higher level learning,

attended to keep up-to-date with the

presentation focussed around a new

and how it is promoted. The meaning

latest developments in learning and

skills landscape:

of the ‘need to do more for less’ was

skills, the regional funding landscape

explained via the following points:

and how the flagship Higher Level Skills

Freedoms, flexibilities and

project has made an impact on


25% reduction in FE budget from

individuals, employers and the regional

Competition and choice

10/11 to 13/14


Issue 29

Reductions in funding rates and

One of the key successes was the

with a CMI Level 5 Qualification

changes in entitlements (more “co

commitment and contribution that

Overview, something they have lots of

funding” and no funding)

unionlearn has made towards the

experience – and success - delivering

A greater expectation that employers


for learners through this project.

and individuals will pay fees

Project has enabled Higher Level

Review and refocussing of funding

Skills and Workforce Development

The afternoon was rounded off on a

for adult literacy & numeracy

agenda to be 'kept alive' at time of

suitably positive note with an update


uncertainly and change

of what is happening in unionlearn across all areas of work, by Beth Farhat,

Review of Informal Adult and Community Learning to increase

For more information go to:

Union Development Coordinator as well

focus and improve progression

as a thank you to all attendees,

Refocussing of provision for offenders

contributors and the Higher Level Skills

in custody

The subsequent workshops were held

team for their continued hard, often

Introduction of FE Loans in 2013/14

on two very complementary topics. One

pioneering, and much-valued work to

(people aged 24+ studying at Level

was Supporting Members into Higher

upskilling the region.

3 or above; not means tested and

Skills - the background to and taster

no maximum age; repayments to

of a bespoke TU Ed course, run by

For more information on the Higher

SLC start at an income level of £21k)

Margaret Stephenson and Mike Tansey

Level Skills project contact:

(one of the Higher Level Skills Project

Mike Tansey at:

The next speaker up was Dorothy Kelly

Workers) who developed the course in

or telephone: 07876 746 870

who treat the audience to an informative

a bid to tackle some of the fears/barriers

Julie Robinson at:

and very positive presentation on the

learners can have about stepping up

or telephone: 07824 819 646

Higher Level Skills Project Evaluation,

the skills ladder and to help make the

which detailed the origins and

transition easier. The second workshop

Full copies of the presentations

background of the project, the challenges

was provided by Scott Duncan and

mentioned in this article are also

it has faced throughout its course and

Alison Gordon from Amacus Training

available on request.

best of all, its efficacy - the impact it has made and the legacy it will leave. It was extremely heartening to hear the two main positives are the Skills to Grow NE web portal and the unionlearn activity which “played a key role in delivering outputs for the project, very successful from outset”. The key evaluation findings were highlighted in Dorothy’s final slide and were: Ongoing Need for Project confirmed Positive feedback from Higher Education Institutions to project activity Potential for the Portal to be the lasting legacy for the project


Higher Level Skills

Case Study: Higher Level Skills in Cumbria RPA Workington - PCS Over the last few years, and as the union learning movement has matured, so have the learners. Whilst there is still a huge appetite for informal learning and skills for life, there has become a noticeable increase in demand for a complete learning journey.

such workplace. Lisa Harrison, PCS ULR

flagship Higher Level Skills project and

and Assistant Coordinator has been a

Graeme was already actively working

Union Learning Rep for seven years so

with the Open University in the North

has facilitated lots of learning on site,

to bring higher skills to Cumbria. With

mainly focussed around informal adult

their collective knowledge and the

learning, skills for life, Level 1 and Level

funding, it was decided the best way

2s and GCSEs, in the past. But having

forward was to pilot the OU’s Openings

recently completed her own Masters

courses in the RPA.

Degree, coupled with increasing requests from colleagues and members asking

Katrina Coleman, OU in the North

about progression routes she began to

Community Partnerships Manager said:

explore additional avenues of learning

“Openings courses are 20 week

at higher levels.

introductory courses to Higher Education and are designed to introduce people

This demand means increased access to higher skills. So, in true learner

So, when Graeme Rushton, their regional

to a subject that they’re interested in

demand-led union learning style, this

Union Support Officer, contacted Lisa

and also allow them to brush-up/hone

has been something unionlearn and

with regards to running a smoking

their study skills which may not have

other organisations have responded to

cessation session she seized the

been used for a while. They are an

proactively and are delivering on for

opportunity to ask if he could help run

excellent first step and most importantly,

learners and employers in workplaces.

some courses around higher

serve as confidence-builders for the

skills. Fortuitously, there was some

learners. I am so proud of the work

funding available through the region’s

we’ve done here because bringing HE

The RPA in Workington, Cumbria, is one


Issue 29

to Cumbria is pivotal to ensuring equality

Management and Health) have

of access and opportunity – and I’m

completed, which is a major achievement

thrilled it’s been grasped with both

and testament to their dedication and


the need for more programmes and partnerships like this one. They are now

The Openings courses were advertised

in the process of advertising the next

at £195.00 with the added incentive of

cohort of Openings courses (to begin

a 50% refund upon completion, and

in June) and even without any funding,

despite the first round being run close

they have been inundated with

to Christmas this didn’t seem to deter

expressions of interest with two months

people and the take-up was still very

still to go! Lisa’s role as a ULR is now

good with 11 staff signing up to start

solely dedicated to Higher Level Skills

their respective courses in November. In

and she leads on this area for PCS in

order to both assist the learners and

the workplace, co-ordinating and

show their commitment to working in

facilitating all aspects of activity.

partnership the OU gave additional

resources in the shape of three tailored

Lisa said, “Having been involved with

Study Skills sessions on topics like

union learning for a long time we have

Essay Writing, Referencing and Making

seen more and more people develop

the most of Course Materials, which ran

and they are now looking for the next

in tandem with the Openings courses. As

step. The partnership work with

well as practical skills, these sessions

unionlearn and the OU has been a

proved invaluable for everyone involved

fantastic way to introduce higher

as it brought the individual learners

education into our portfolio of union

together as a group, giving the pilot a

learning and give members and

more cohesive feel and forming a very

colleagues what they want and need

effective learner support network.

for personal and professional development into the future. And judging

As of the end of March, 100% of the

by the interest and the achievements

learners who embarked on the Openings

it looks like it will become a permanent

courses in RPA (Psychology, Law,


Learner’s Story: Brigitta Hammell Brigitta, a PCS member, has worked at RPA for six years and is currently a Call Centre Operative and has just completed her Openings course, Starting with Psychology. She had accessed some learning prior to commencing this course in November 2011, and had done ECDL, and NVQs over the years but hadn’t done any focussed higher level learning. She was motivated to do this course by personal interest in the topic and a desire to gain a better understanding. At 44 and a mum of three, time and and accessibility are of paramount importance to Brigitta and the OU courses being run in the workplace made them convenient and allowed her to fit the learning into the spare time she has, especially as the closest university and HE institutions are in Carlisle; over an hour away. Just a couple of weeks after submitting her final assignments she has already registered for the OU ‘An Introduction to the Social Sciences’ (Level 1) course and her ultimate goal is a full degree in Psychology – which she also aims to complete through the OU. Brigitta said, “Doing the Openings course through work has been absolutely brilliant. It’s meant I can fit it in around my job and childcare commitments, and I’ve had the added support of the ULRs, Katrina and Betty, my tutor, who were all a massive help. I’d love to take my learning all the way up to degree level; to keep learning, improving and achieving for myself and to prove I can. I can’t wait to start my next course!”  


The Open University and ‘Access to Success’ Ensuring access in the new world of higher education

Higher Level Skills

students a low cost entry route into the OU. This programme is called the ‘Access to Success Route’, it will start from September 2012 and is aimed at those who have lower incomes and lower levels of qualification. Students on the

advice in order to help them complete

route will pay only £25 towards their

their courses. Like all OU courses the

first introductory course followed by a

route offers flexible distance learning,

£50 fee for their second course which

which can be fitted around our

will be at Level 1. The student will have

students’   commitments  and gives the

to pass their first course before

opportunity to work whilst studying for

In the past five years, through our

progressing to the second. The aim is

a qualification.

widening access work, we’ve developed

to gradually develop students self-belief

outreach programmes which recruit

and skill - so by the end of the

We know that students will be faced

students in the most disadvantaged

programme they feel confident in taking

with difficult choices as the higher

areas of the UK. The students we recruit

out a loan to complete their studies.

education offer becomes increasingly

At the Open University our focus has always been on giving students a second chance at education.

complex. We recognise this and would

through this work are often less confident in the world of higher

To be eligible for the programme

encourage potential students to contact

education, and have fewer resources.

students will have to have a residual

us to talk through their options, get

Our concern is that increasing fees and

household income of less than £25,000

advice and see what route would be

a fear of debt may have a real impact

and be new to higher education. The

suitable for them.

on their willingness to take on a course

route is recommended for students who

at HE level.

are less confident and have lower level

If you think the Access to Success

qualifications and would not be

Route may be for you then contact:

In the last year the OU has been working

appropriate for students who are used

Katrina Coleman on 0191 4776100, or

hard to ensure that these students aren’t

to study at higher levels.


impact of funding change is going to

Students on this route will also have

Meg Allen:

be felt most keenly in England, so the

access to a dedicated telephone support

Community Partnerships Programme

early focus has been on developing a

team in the first year of their study and

Manager, Widening Participation   

new programme which will give English

will be given additional support and

disadvantaged in the new system. The

You can find further information about the Access to Success Route at:


Issue 29

Helping businesses grow through Higher Level Skills Higher Level Skills

Skills to Grow NE Increasing skill levels and economic growth is a new and unique web portal for the North East. Its aim is to encourage economic growth, and increase skills levels and innovation, through promoting collaboration between business and the North East’s universities and colleges. It provides a single gateway for

support services and dedicated staff

Partnerships. This enables businesses

across the region’s colleges and

to gain an understanding of the type


of support that is available and what type of business solutions might be

The site has been developed in response region who sometimes found difficulty is free and has a

in accessing the relevant institutions

number of features, enabling users to

and people to help them to develop

select a range of information. They can:

and grow their business. The design and functionality of the site has been

search by industry sector to find

created in conjunction with the business

potential solutions to workplace

and learning community to ensure that


it provides the information they want

find out how other businesses have

and is easy to navigate.

benefited from working with the HE sector

workplaces to access the vast range of


appropriate to their needs.

to feedback from businesses across the

support and expertise available from

The site includes a range of fact sheets

access and download a range of

the region’s universities and colleges,

and information, highlighting the key

industry sector based information,

as well as access to a range of useful

skills and recruitment issues facing

guides and fact sheets

information and links to regional

individual sectors, both now and in the

understand the key skills issues

business support organisations.

future; as well as useful web links to

affecting each industry sector - now

business support organisations and

and in the future

The North East’s universities and colleges

initiatives across the North East. It uses

receive email alerts about business

are an integral part of the skills and

case studies from employers to

support events in the region

innovation supply chain to business.

demonstrate how our region’s colleges

find and link to the most appropriate

The portal provides

and universities have worked with

business support staff to help you

a comprehensive ‘go-to’ web site for

companies to develop solutions to

collect information from across the

employers looking to develop their

address specific business needs - ranging

site and create your own bespoke

organisation and staff by giving them

from student projects and internships,


a single point of access to business

through to Knowledge Transfer

NHS Health Champion Awards Waterview Park Union Learning Reps Congratulations and well done to Lucy Lanaghan and Gillian Hindson, both Union Learning Representatives (ULRs) in Waterview Park, (WvP) Washington.



The health initiatives have had a positive impact on people in WvP. During a visit by the Stroke Association a number of people were referred to their GPs. One person was found to have extremely high blood pressure but didn’t know. (This

Both have achieved the status of NHS

is why high blood pressure is labelled

Health Champions and were presented

‘the silent killer’!) Following the

with their certificates by the Mayor of Sunderland.

This award is recognition of the ongoing work on health improvement in WvP. We're delighted to have achieved this standard, and will continue in our efforts to provide staff with health opportunities onsite. Lucy Lanaghan: Union Learning Rep At the event the Chair of Sunderland

It's brilliant that large outside organisations such as the NHS are aware of our work in Waterview Park and that we are now known for being proactive in health improvement.

referral it was also discovered that

Gllian Hindson: Union Learning Rep

fluid and was referred immediately

the person was pre-diabetic. They immediately made lifestyle changes and worked with their GP to stop and control this. At a recent health event, they took part in a mini health check and were delighted to be told that their blood pressure is now the same as a 16 year old. Following a fitness check arranged on site, another person was found to be carrying high levels of excess to their GP. Tests showed that the

Some of the good work carried out by

fluid was actually around their heart.

the WvP ULRs includes arranging a

Without the fitness test there would

‘World Mental Health Day’ event, as

have been no way of knowing about

part of their Better Health at Work

this until it was too late. They are

(BHAW) initiative.

now working with their doctor and

Teaching Primary Care Trust mentioned

that check has proved to be a life

some organisations by name, giving a

Two mental health experts from

special mention to HMRC. This gives

Sunderland Primary Care Trust came

outside organisations a very positive

along providing advice about mental

Once again, a massive well done to

message about how HMRC is working

health and wellbeing. ‘Goodie’ bags

Lucy and Gillian and keep up the good

together with ULRs to engage with staff

donated by the Mental Health


and help them to take responsibility

Foundation and NHS were also handed

for their own health and wellbeing in

out including relaxation CDs and stress

the workplace.



Tracy Maddison PCS Branch Learning Co-ordinator


Issue 29



HIV24/7/365 - World Aids Day Highlighting the global epidemic World AIDS Day is just one day to highlight a global epidemic that people live and die with every day of their lives; not just one special day where we wear pretty ribbons and attend union-led award winning exhibitions.


million new infections per year and 2

support, help and inform our members

million deaths annually due to it.

and colleagues even more with focussed campaigns around health and wellbeing. In the summer of 2011 I had an idea for a specific campaign about bringing attention to HIV back to the forefront as in recent years a certain level of lethargy and complacency seems to have crept into society. So, I felt that it was a good opportunity and prime time to raise the issue of HIV awareness

As part of the PCS-Identity Passport

once again, along with associated risk

There are over 33 million people around

Service workplace Better Health at Work

management strategies/safe sexual

the world living with HIV, with nearly 3

initiative we now have a platform to

practices like; wearing a condom, being

careful and honest with partners about

The event at Milburngate was really

your sexual history and getting a regular

very well attended, lots of people from

routine HIV test if not in a monogamous

every level of the business came to see


what all the fuss was about, and take

advantage of the sexual health stalls as well as reading the exhibition boards and hopefully reminding them of the salient point that HIV is still very much something people need to be acutely aware of. The event at the Town Hall was on one of the coldest days of the year. However we had to get people in to see the exhibition so that meant donning hats, scarves, coats and gloves and going out into the cold to hand out leaflets to the passing members of the public many of whom where doing their

Thus, this was the basis of the roadshow

Christmas shopping and thinking of

and featured exhibition which a group

nothing else. But, most people were

of us put lots of hard work, effort and

thankfully in Christmas spirit and some

creativity in to make it informative,

took valuable time out to visit the

engaging and fit for purpose.


As I write this four months on we’ve now won the gold level ‘Better Health

What really stunned me was the

at Work’ award with a special bonus

graphical sorcery performed by John

award for the ‘HIV Roadshow’. The

Cook, as he made the individual pages

exhibition is still very much relevant,

come alive with striking visuals.

too. HIV is still with us all around the world, it has not been cured, and it is

I was keen to bring in outside groups

still infecting people and killing

and suggested MESMAC, a charity based

them. The message we sent out then

in Newcastle which made for a really

is as relevant now as it was four months

strong presentation team.

ago as it will be for every day between now and until the day every last person who has it is cured. The final event was at St Nic’s church,

a good likeable venue but still it was

World AIDS Day is just one day a year

the middle of December so once more

but people live with it every day of

we were wrapped up warm for leafleting

their lives. Every day needs to be World

duty. The parish vicar made a personal

AIDS Day, and that’s the message we

visit to the display and really enjoyed

need to get across otherwise Kenny

not only the content but the

Everett, Rock Hudson, Freddie Mercury,

professionalism with how we conducted

Anthony Perkins, Easy-E, Isaac Asimov

ourselves. By that time we’d had enough

and many, many, many others will have

practice to look like we knew what we

died in vain.

were doing!

Rachel Redhead: PCS


Issue 29

Stephen Hughes MEP gets on board with union-led learning at Northern Rail



Hughes MEP, kindly took time out from his busy schedule to present learners at Northern Rail with National Test literacy and numeracy certificates at the company’s Heaton Depot in Newcastle on 1st March.

from improved skills and qualifications,

partnership has enabled individual

they also enable more learning

employees to move forward with their

programmes and courses to be run for

learning and development—good news

others, too. There have been 30 passes

for them personally and good news for

in total so far and the initiative is still

their employers. Investment in learning


pays dividends. Well done to all


The long-term aim of the project is to

set-up an on-site Learning Centre with

Kevin Rowan, Northern TUC Regional

a room donated by the employer, fitted

Secretary said: “It’s always great see

The learners were receiving their

with 6 computer stations supplied by

the real difference projects like this one

certificates after successfully completing

the unions to support even more diverse

make in practice; to the workplace and

national literacy and numeracy tests as

learning opportunities, both online and

also back into families and

part of the union-led learning project


communities. What is even more

that is running within their workplace.

admirable is that all of the achievements

The project is a joint initiative between

Stephen Hughes was joined by the

are being driven by a true partnership

the TSSA and Unite unions, City of

learners, ULRs, Union Learning

approach via their Collective Learning

Sunderland College and Northern Rail,

Organisers David Nicholson from TSSA

Fund, a relatively new model that relies

run by Union Learning Reps, Steve

and Mick Simpson from Unite, a

very much on an active and sustained

Cambridge and Grant Scott, which aims

representative of Northern Rail

commitment to learning and learners

to promote adult, family and community

management and Kevin Rowan,

from all parties involved.

learning to staff, members and beyond.

unionlearn Regional Manager/Northern

TUC Regional Secretary.

“It’s a pleasure and a privilege for

As part of their Collective Learning Fund,

unionlearn to be able to support projects

which was established in 2011 and is

Stephen Hughes MEP said: “I am

like this one and kudos has to go to

the first of its kind within Northern Rail,

delighted to celebrate the fantastic

TSSA and Unite, Northern Rail and City

City of Sunderland College pays £50

partnership work between a major

of Sunderland College for their combined

into the fund for every skills for life

employer, trades unions and an

contributions of time, funding, resources

pass, so not only do the learners benefit

important regional college. This

and dedication.”


Issue 29

Sunderland and Gateshead Councils receive Quality Award for Apprenticeships Both Gateshead and Sunderland Council were very deserving recipients of the prestigious unionlearn Quality Award for the Delivery and Co-ordination of their Apprenticeship programme at the national ‘Apprenticeships: Quality and Equality’ conference in London, presented by Dr Pete Waterman.

and union learners are considered in

roles that unions can play in ensuring

the design, development and delivery

apprenticeships are high quality and

of courses and programmes. The

accessible to people from disadvantaged

Gateshead and Sunderland Local


Authorities ably demonstrated they are

exemplar employers and providers,

The 200+ attendees, who included a

committed to partnership working in

delegation from each of the Local

this area and so passed the stringent

Authorities, heard from a host of

assessment process with flying colours

inspiring speakers from unions,

earlier this year.

employers and providers on what they

are doing to promote apprenticeships

The conference was unionlearn’s annual

and how they are working together to

event highlighting the role that trade

ensure apprenticeships are the gold

unions play in supporting apprentices

standard for work based learning.

in the workplace and working with The unionlearn Quality Award is a

employers to develop more high quality

Keynote addresses came from Frances

kitemark awarded to organisations that

apprenticeship places.

O’Grady, TUC Deputy General Secretary,

are committed to working with trade unions and can demonstrate that unions


Dr Pete Waterman OBE DL, Record This year’s event was focussed on the

Producer, rail enthusiast and Patron of

the National Skills Academy for Railway

the unionlearn Quality Award for

Engineering and Simon Waugh, Executive

Apprenticeship Provision.

Chair, National Apprenticeship Service.

Apprenticeships not only provide

valuable opportunities for young people

Gateshead Council is delighted to receive the Quality Award for Apprenticeship Provision from the TUC

but they also create vitality and energy

Rodger Kelly Chief Executive, Gateshead Council

across our workplaces.” Dave Smith, Chief Executive at Sunderland City Council said: “One of

We have some fantastic apprentices within Sunderland City Council who have proven to be a valuable asset to their teams

the key benefits in recruiting an

Julia Harrison Workforce Development Consultant Sunderland City Council

apprentice is that their mix of on and off the job learning means they have the skills that work best for your service. Indeed, it’s been reported that

Howard Fawcett, ULR Coordinator of the

Rodger went on to say: “We are proud

employers who take on apprentices

union-led Learning Styles project said:

of our reputation for being a Council

benefit from higher productivity, reduced

“The Learning Styles project and the

that supports employees in their learning

staff turnover, and an improved skills

trade unions are really keen to support

and development, and even in the

base. An apprenticeship also develops

the promotion and development of

current economic climate, we will strive

the skills of local people and involves

increased numbers of apprenticeships.

to provide and support Apprenticeships

the local community in the delivery of

It’s immensely gratifying to be able to

that develop competent and confident

local services.”

play a part in supporting this endeavour.

individuals who will have successful

careers in their chosen area of work.”

Julia Harrison, Workforce Development

“Sunderland City Council’s innovative

Consultant, Sunderland City Council

and supportive approach in conjunction

Dave Smith, lead Union learning Rep

said: “Processes and procedures in

with close partnership working, is

at Gateshead Council said: “Gateshead

engaging with apprentices have

providing positive rewards for all those

Trade Unions are totally committed in

developed greatly over recent years

connected with quality apprenticeship

supporting quality apprenticeship

leading to a more structured approach


opportunities and we are extremely

and successful experience for all.”

proud Gateshead Council has achieved


Issue 29


Introduction to New Media


Mental Health First Aid Mental ill health affects one in four people in the UK at any given time. Over the last 12 years the Department of Health has concentrated on mental health problems and prioritised it as a key target to improve public health in general.

April to June 2012

The Bitesize Briefing on Mental Health First Aid will help combat the stigma associated with mental health problems and hopefully encourage people to

You can register

With over half of the UK's adult

become Mental Health First Aiders.

population now using social media, the

direct via email to

significance of utilising all avenues of

It will also increase awareness on the

the designated

modern, cost effective digital

major areas of mental health and how

communications couldn’t be greater.

they affect individuals in and out of the

contact or for general


enquiries/to register

The briefing will cover how to use

by telephone please

Facebook, Twitter and You Tube,

call 0191 232 3175

discerning which is best for what and

new/social media and sites like

Blogging for Beginners

how you want to communicate, for example: creating groups, raising

This will be a hands-on session to help

awareness, distributing information

you blog and report news, campaigns

quickly etc.

and issues relating to your workplace, union and community.

It will provide an overview of each medium and some tricks of the trade

Blogging is an increasingly important

to help you inform, publicise, and

way of ‘getting the message out’ quickly

organise for maximum impact.

without having to rely on the traditional media.

Topics covered will include: Using new media for

The recent successful Northroots


conference on new and digital media highlighted that this is an area many

Creating multi-media messages

reps are interested in.

Utilising social network sites

This session will guide you through the ‘dos and don’ts’ as well as enabling


Using text messaging for mass

you to set up a blog there and then if


you have not done so already.

Knowledge of the ‘two ticks’ criteria

Disability Champions

Promoting the role

The briefing will give an update on the

Understanding access to work

Disability Champions course.


Topics will include:

Working with management to develop improvement plans

Understanding of the Disability Champions role

Cumbria Forum on Health and Wellbeing

Barriers to carrying out the Disability Champions role Understanding specific disability

There’s never been a more important


time for trade unions and employers to concentrate on how workplaces can be

Case Studies

an effective area to improve health and

Equality Act - specifically the disability characteristic

the wider public health. Key areas of concern currently are around



wellbeing, not just of employees but of

The Forum will explore why workplaces

mental ill health, stress and coping with

should be involved and more importantly

cancer in the workplace. These subjects

why trade unions should participate.

and more will be covered at the Forum.

April to June 2012 Timetable





Registration Contact

Introduction to New Media

Wednesday 9 May

Northern TUC Newcastle

1.00pm to 4.00pm

Helen Parry

Mental Health First Aid

Wednesday 16 May

Northern TUC Newcastle

1.00pm to 4.00pm

Anne Cairns

Blogging for Beginners

Tuesday 29 May

Unison Office: 140-150 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle

1.00pm to 4.00pm

Helen Parry

Introduction to New Media

Tuesday 12 June

Carlisle College Room 140

1.00pm to 4.00pm

Helen Parry

Disability Champions

Friday 22 June

Northern TUC Newcastle

1.00pm to 4.00pm

Anne Cairns

Cumbria Forum on Health and Wellbeing

Thursday 28 June

Rheged Penrith

12.00pm to 4.00pm

Melanie Lowden


Issue 29

Training time for Toon heroes Magpie duo try out high-tech simulator Newcastle United football heroes John Beresford and Joe Allon on Friday 27th January sampled a very different form of training at the controls of a 125 mph East Coast express!

Newcastle. It's a real eye-opener to see

once a week to continue my education.

how quickly the train driver has to think

We're already planning a second event

ahead and react at the controls.

for rail staff and the support from two legends of St James' Park is very

'Learning something new is always positive - that's why Joe and myself are keen to help East Coast raise awareness

The driving simulator is one of four

of the learning opportunities for

based at East Coast driver depots in

hundreds of rail staff at Central Station.'

Newcastle, Edinburgh, Leeds and London

The popular duo tried their hand on a

King's Cross. Each features an exact

high-tech driving simulator at Newcastle

East Coast's Driver Manager at

replica complete with all the controls

Central Station, to kick off a drive to

Newcastle, Bob Howes, was an

and gauges of the real thing. The

promote a wide variety of further

apprentice player with the Magpies in

simulator can be adapted in seconds

education courses to rail staff in the

his youth. Bob said: 'Both John and Joe

to depict either of East Coast's two


enjoy the lifelong affection of United

types of motive power - the Class 91

supporters - left-back John for his

electric locomotive or the Class 43 diesel

The event followed a successful open

memorable performances in Kevin

High Speed Train.

day for staff at Newcastle station,

Keegan's 'Entertainers' team in the early

organised by East Coast in partnership

1990s, and striker Joe for his great goals

The ‘Education Station’s’ second event

with rail unions ASLEF, TSSA and RMT,

across five years with the Toon from

is planned for May to coincide with

to promote learning and educational

1984 to 1988.

Learning at Work Day and looks to be

opportunities both within and beyond



as successful as the first, with activities

the railway. John said: 'The simulator

'When I was a young apprentice with

like a Spanish taster session,

is very realistic - right down to the

Newcastle United, they still made sure

photography, first aid, guitar tuition and

landmarks alongside the track leaving

I went along to North Tyneside College

skills for life for staff to participate in.


Issue 29 Kevin Rowan Northern TUC Regional Secretary Beth Farhat Union Development Co-ordinator Ian West Regional Education Officer Linda Hughes Senior Union Support Officer Dave Storrie Senior Union Support Officer Ken Gyles Union Support Officer

And finally...for the record! We are currently updating our records so that we hold current and correct contact details for all active ULRs. We would be grateful if you could complete and return the form you should have recently received in the post in the envelope provided to our Freepost address. This will help us keep you up to date with all of the relevant learning and skills information, details of events,

Joe McGuigan Union Support Officer

For information on events or issues please contact the Northern TUC

Graeme Rushton Union Support Officer Cumbria Susanne Nichol Marketing and Communications Mike Tansey Higher Level Skills Project Worker Julie Robinson Higher Level Skills Project Worker Tom Ross Health and Wellbeing Project Worker Alex Rodgers USO non-union workplaces Melanie Lowden Secretary/Office Manager Anne Cairns Unionlearn Project Assistant

briefings courses and meetings reach everyone who may be interested in attending. Even if you are no longer an active ULR and do not wish to receive further information from unionlearn and the TUC, please could you let us know and we can remove you from our records.   If you return your form to us before the 31st May you will be eligible for entry into our prize draw.  

May 2012 Calendar

June 2012 Continued


Adult Learners Week 12 to 19 May 2012


Executive Northern TUC Office


Learning at Work Day


Learning and Organising Seminar Centre for Life


Volunteer Day


Cumbria Apprenticeship Event Rheged


Regional Council Gateshead Civic


Skills Utilisation Seminar Thistle Hotel, Newcastle

June 2012 Calendar 04

Spring Bank Holiday/Diamond Jubilee Office closed 4&5 June

July 2012 Calendar 12

Executive Northern TUC Office


Durham Miners Gala Durham City


Northern Pride Parade 12 noon, Newcastle Civic Centre; Main event 1.oopm Leazes Park

September 2012 Calendar 09

TUC Congress - Bournmouth 9 to 12 September 2012

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 - May 2012  

Kicking off the ‘train’ing, Focus on Higher Learning Skills and we are the champions PCS Union Learning Reps achieve Health Champion status

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