UNISON learning reps Jane Eyre and Beverley Herring from Blackpool Health branch, and Donald McCombie from Birmingham City branch, were recognised with awards at today’s Unionlearn conference for their efforts in supporting learning in the workplace.
Donald’s activity as a learning rep has seen him running sessions for workers facing forced job transfer or redundancy, many of them over the age of fifty. He organised workshops on Managing Change, Get That Job and Interview Skills among other topics.
The investment in union learning over a considerable number of years has paid dividends in terms of personal support for members who are often very challenged by changing circumstances later in life. With over a thousand members each year benefitting from the project, it has been truly a demonstration of lifelong learning in a very practical way.
Davinder Sandhu, UNISON Education Officer, said,
Donald is one of our long-standing, long-serving, ULRs. As well as delivering training, Donald is very prolific in organising and promoting courses, and he includes all the community, particularly encouraging older learners. He’s a great communicator, he talks about learning with such passion, and he really gets that across. Donald could have retired years ago, but his love of learning has kept him in the role.
It’s the second year running that the Blackpool Health team have been honoured by Unionlearn for their work with numeracy. They have been working with the charity National Numeracy since 2016 to help members and non-members at Blackpool Victoria Hospital build confidence and skills with maths.
We are really pleased that we’ve won it again, it’s brilliant. The recognition helps us spread the word more widely within the trust, and get out to the community staff as well as those in hospital settings.
She is seconded to her learning rep role four days a week courtesy of the Inclusive Learning Project, and comments ‘We could not have done it without funding from the Union Learning Fund.’
Most people start off small, but these two started off with the Numeracy Challenge, getting the whole Trust involved. What stands out with both of them is that they’re inspiring people. I’ve seen both their levels of confidence grow doing something that they love – and that’s the right word, hearing how they talk about learning.
Watch this space for an interview with Jane next week…