Our Wirral branch education team met this week to plan activities for members and communities over the coming months. The group was supported by Lorraine Mirhim from UNISON centre who explained the national member learning offer - free workshops available to UNISON members and supporters to aid personal and professional development. Plans include:
- Publicising to branch members the Women's Lives course starting in Liverpool on 19th April
- Promoting the Return to Learn course to gauge interest from members with a view to running the fantastic 12 week course for Wirral members later this year
- Hosting 2 member development 1 day workshops for the branch - 4th June and 18th June - Your skills Your Future and Power to be You. These will help to engage new learners and promote the positive benefits of being in UNISON
- Promoting learning with UNISON at Adult Learners Week and signposting members to lifelong learning and the colleges to develop skills
- Raising the possibility of opening a new learning centre
Lorraine Mirhim - national membership development officer, Paul Wiggins - retired members section and ULR, Dave Hardcastle - lifelong learning coordinator and ULR, Gill Whitfield, Carol Munns, Diane Moore - ULRs. Also present: Amanda Callender - ULR, Tom Jenkins - Learning Organiser, Nick Bower - branch officer and health and safety officer.
A great session took place at the Mechanics Institute last Tuesday as 20 ULRs came together to discuss dyslexia in the workplace.
Our tutor, Julie Mooney, has over 30 years experience working with adults around numeracy and literacy and has learned about dyslexia through coming into contact with people for whom dyslexia has been a barrier to learning – due to poor practices in schools and workplaces.
In particular, we looked at some union literature including some from our beloved regional centre, which it turns out is not always dyslexia friendly.
Reps picked up top tips for workplaces including making reasonable adjustments such as increasing font sizes for text and using sans serif fonts like Ariel. Julie also explained the impact of the 2010 Equality Act and how this can be used to persuade stubborn workplaces. By and large however, simply making the case to employers about the importance of being dyslexia friendly is enough to win the argument, and our ULRs are now much better equipped to tackle employers over these issues.
As Julie explained, it’s important to talk about the many positives that people with dyslexia bring to the table, and a pop quiz where we learned of famous people with dyslexia highlighted this fact. For example, Winston Churchill, Einstein, Agatha Christie (history’s best selling author) and Cher all had dyslexia.
Many groups now plan to host dyslexia awareness sessions of their own in workplaces and branches – to create and instil a dyslexia friendly culture.
25 UNISON members attended our regional Mindfulness session run by Lucy from the WEA.
This secular course has it’s roots in the Buddhist tradition and has found it’s way onto HR health and well-being programmes and has widespread interest in all sectors.
Members enjoyed the time to relax and reflect away from everyday work pressures, and took away strategies to improve their everyday health and mental well –being.
One study by Transport for London has shown that after introducing Mindfulness programmes, the absentee rate for the organisation reduced by 71% with the effect of Mindfulness being a major contributing factor. Our members also benefited from group discussion work with colleagues from other workplaces. Some of our Wirral members recently enjoyed a half day Saturday session in their branch.
There will be a further regional session on the 22nd March due to the demand for the course, and sessions will be running soon at Liverpool John Moores Univeristy and at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
To run an event in your branch contact Tom at the regional office.
Members from Rochdale branch attended an excellent session on Saturday 27th Feb on basic internet usage.
This course is part of UNISON's 'member learning offer'. We can organise for this to be set up in your own branch so that all members have the opportunity to get online - in an age where online communication is becoming a basic human need, yet not everybody has access.
Learning and Organising has published a Course Directory today - the course titles are arranged in A-Z order and each title has an embedded link to the appropriate webpage which will give you more idea of course content and dates of future events
Please remember - if you print the Directory you'll loose the links - Always use the Forward option
Return to Learn - students enjoy a residential weekend away in Chester as part of their learning journey
12 students from the Liverpool and Manchester courses joined forces to spend the weekend at Queens Hotel in Chester where they continued their learning with IT sessions, numeracy, report writing techniques, discussion groups and creative writing. UNISON North West plans to follow up this fantastic experience with runnings of our 'Women's Lives' course.
UnionLearn Annual Conference - Blackpool Health and Bury UNISON branches receive awards for their partnerships with employers and contributions to learning
Both our Blackpool Health and Bury Council branches received awards at the UnionLearn Regional Conference for their partnership working with employers and their contributions to learning for members and staff.
Jane Eyre, learning rep at Blackpool Hospital, spoke alongside a senior manager from the Trust about their joint working partnership, learning agreement and how they have been delivering for members.
Our branch education officers met for a session to learn more about what's on offer in the North West and how we can work together more effectively to deliver training for members. A good time was had by all.
Members at Knowsley Community College attended a Welcome to UNISON informal learning event in the Swan Pub, Roby, Merseyside, on Wednesday 3 February.
The event, organised by Regional Learning Organiser Tom Jenkins and College Stewards Paul Windle and Donna Hollett, started off with members enjoying a buffet and UNISON freebies, followed by completing a UNISON quiz and jigsaw activity. Tom and Donna then gave members an insight into the various learning opportunities and rep roles available within UNISON, before Paul raised awareness of the Heart Unions campaign taking place in week com Monday 8 February.
The feedback from the members who attended the event was positive, with responses including:
- I've been a member for 15 years but this is the first time anything like this has been put on, so I hope more events are organised because tonight has been good;
- I've only been a member for a couple of weeks and tonight has made me feel more welcome, supported and confident;
- I'm looking forward to helping out with the Heart Unions campaign and telling the local community about how UNISON is fighting for us.
Plans are now underway to organise another event in the spring so that more members can learn about opportunities to improve their skills for working individually and collectively.
Wirral branch gets online - we'll be booking holidays to Egypt in no time (and learning essential skills for the workplace)
Members in our Wirral branch attended our Saturday session at Leasowe Learning Centre last week, run by the WEA.
The Unison member learning offer includes this fantastic one day introduction to using the internet efficiently and effectively including how to use job search websites and create and upload CVs. With one in four adults lacking home internet access, the Unison Inclusive Learning Project works to ensure greater access to IT for our members in a world where internet access is becoming an essential human need.
Contact us to get this course running in your branch.
Learning Organiser in tracksuit bottoms shock horror, explains the importance of the learning rep over lunch - provided by the Unison Inclusive Learning Project
Members looking interested and engaged during the speech, which was both informative and funny