Celebrating our winning learning reps

UNISON Learning and Organising Services were proud to watch as two of our learning reps received awards at last week’s Unionlearn conference for their work supporting learning.

Jayne Barry from Derbyshire County branch was recognised for her achievements in ensuring that apprentices are supported and receive quality training.

A few years ago, as a result of UNISON lobbying, Derbyshire County Council agreed to employ apprentices directly rather than through an apprentice training agency. Since that point Jayne has taken a lead on ensuring that apprentices are supported in the workplace. She led on designing and implementing an Apprenticeship Charter for Derbyshire County Council, and developed resources to introduce trade unions to young people entering the workforce.

Jayne’s positive and enthusiastic attitude to engaging with the employer has meant that her branch now has a key role in negotiating around developments in apprenticeships.

Jayne is passionate about ensuring that everyone has an equal chance. She recognises that learning is essential to supporting those on low incomes, to show that women can be as successful as their male counterparts, and that nobody is ever too old to learn.

Jon Tennison of UNISON Learning and Organising Services said,

I’m delighted that Jayne has won an award for her work around apprenticeships. During her four years as a UNISON learning representative she has carried out a tremendous amount of work supporting learning right across the branch.  However, she is most proud of the fact that supporting members, and apprentices in general, is now a central focus of her branch. Jayne’s work gives tremendous credit to our union and shows the value that UNISON can offer its members in all aspects of their lives, both at work and away from work.

Jane Yugire from Newcastle City branch received an award to recognise her work supporting numeracy learning.

Jane has worked to put on a range of courses including English and maths, Open University, ‘lunch and learn’ workshops and online courses, most of which are free, and many of which provide routes to qualification across the whole of Newcastle City Council.

In recent years Jane has made school support staff one of her priorities. This initially stemmed from necessity, when she was asked by UNISON Newcastle City branch to help support staff who were facing redundancy due to the closure of the school where they worked.

Jane’s work with schools led to an innovative course, ‘Keeping up with the kids’, which is closely mapped to the primary school curriculum, so that parents improve their own English and maths skills a week or two ahead of their children. Ten of those parents have gone on to work on their English and maths skills through a twelve-week programme of two-hour sessions.

Jane works on the UNISON Bridges to Learning project and said,

The UNISON Bridges to Learning project has enabled me to experience the power of learning first hand, to become more confident, develop my own learning and organising skills and driven me to continue inspiring learning and reaching out to more hard-to-reach learners to help them take their own unique learning journey, learning together and unlocking our learning potential.

Anne Hansen, director of the UNISON Bridges to Learning partnership, said,

Jane has been an amazing support for members in Newcastle City branch. This piece of work brings together school and community work where support staff and parents all learn together, developing themselves and supporting the children. Some of the staff and parents have gone on to achieve qualifications and are continually learning new things, with Jane’s support. I am privileged to work with Jane on UNISON’s Bridges to Learning project.