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Usdaw reps secure two awards at the TUC’s UnionLearn Conference

Date: 11 July 2019 Two Usdaw union learning reps have had their work recognised with awards at UnionLearn’s thirteenth annual conference at Congress House in London today.
UnionLearn is the learning and skills organisation of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) that assists union delivery of learning opportunities, as well as managing the Union Learning Fund (ULF). UnionLearn is also responsible for providing education and training opportunities for workplace reps and professionals via TUC Education.

Michelle Whitley won the 2019 Union Learning Rep (ULR) Award for Supporting Older Workers at Argos-Sainsbury’s contact centre in Widnes. In 2018 Michelle got involved with the UnionLearn mid-life career review initiative doing surveys across the workplace in order to help staff and particularly older workers, reassess their career options and look at the areas of their skill sets that they needed to develop. Michelle has worked closely with UnionLearn to develop her successful mid-life career review project and utilised the Usdaw supported Learning centre to deliver the training identified.

Sean Dixon won the 2019 ULR Award for Supporting Disadvantaged Learners. Sean has led the impressive work of ULRs at DHL Castleford to unlock barriers and provide learning opportunities for disadvantaged learners. This has been over a whole range of areas, from running focus groups with migrant workers on looking at mental health and being away from home while improving their English skills. The learning centre which Sean oversees has a huge resource library where members can pick up materials on a whole range of health and wellbeing issues.

Paddy Lillis - Usdaw General Secretary says: “We are delighted that the work of two of Usdaw’s union learning reps, Michelle and Sean, has been recognised with national awards. They are shining examples of the tremendous work all of our union learning reps do to deliver lifelong learning for our members.

“Usdaw’s Lifelong Learning Campaign aims to provide members, many of whom feel they missed out at school, with the chance to get back to learning to help them with their own personal development and to improve their career opportunities. Learning is not only good for individuals there is also a strong business case because it boosts employees’ confidence, improves morale and gives employers a more motivated and skilled workforce.

“Through our Lifelong Learning Campaign, we are opening doors for members who want to increase their skills and knowledge and improve their career prospects by offering on-site courses in conjunction with companies, local colleges and other course providers. Crucial to achieving this is the hard work and dedication of ULRs, like Michelle and Sean, who have rightly received the recognition they deserve.”

Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 410,000 members. Membership has increased by more than one-third over the last couple of decades. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
Usdaw’s Lifelong Learning Campaign: Since 2003 more than 74,000 members have returned to some sort of learning and more than 1,800 Union Learning Reps have been trained during the last 11 years. Usdaw has agreed partnerships to access learning with many major companies including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Wincanton, Next, DHL, CRL, McVities and Unilever.
UnionLearn's thirteenth annual conference celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Union Learning Fund and reflected on achievements. There was broad agenda focussing on skills development through learning of individuals and communities, meeting the needs of a modern workforce, and supporting high quality apprenticeships to boost social justice, productivity and the UK skills base.
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers