Student Will Kitto spent a week with Learning and Organising Services earlier this summer as part of his work experience programme. Here’s what he had to say about his time with us…
I was fortunate enough to have undertaken a two-week work experience placement in the Learning and Organising Services department at UNISON Centre. I was drawn to UNISON because of my interest in the Labour movement and my view that trade unionism is essentially a force for good, and of increasing importance in an era dominated by austerity and rampant neo-liberalism. My experience in LAOS has only bolstered this view.
During my time here, I have been hugely impressed by the commitment, intelligence and sense purpose that permeates the office environment. Prior to this placement, I had no comprehension of the importance that the provision of learning and educational opportunities has within a union, and felt genuinely heartened to learn of the ways in which UNISON members have been able to transform their lives for the better thanks to LAOS, while at the same time feeling concerned for the masses of disenfranchised and downtrodden who for whatever reason haven’t joined UNISON, and accessed those opportunities.
As part of the placement, I have been able to engage in a multitude of activities, including attending the UnionLearn conference, where prominent figures such as David Blunkett, Frances O’Grady and Anne Milton MP talked about the vital role that union learning plays in peoples’ lives and in providing the educated workforce essential to a thriving economy. In the office I worked with the team, and was able to attain a real grasp of how the union functions and what goes into organising and delivering learning opportunities for members. Also I had the opportunity to campaign with UNISON on the Stop Trump protest. The LAOS department were very friendly and interesting people, who really made me feel part of the team, and were the absolute embodiment of the values UNISON espouses.
I cannot recommend a work experience with UNISON highly enough, especially in Learning and Organising Services.