Learning is a powerful tool
Article by Simon Walker
Having the resources and opportunity to educate their membership is one of the most powerful tools that a trade union possesses. Education can transform lives, open up a mass of
opportunity and upskill and develop our members. It can turn low moral low productivity and low rewarding workplaces into, good positive places to work. It can reduce bullying in the workplace and reduce disciplinary cases. It does this because the majority of bullying is based on ignorance and most disciplinary cases either stem from lack of training or failure to understand, learning combats both.
I can give myself as example to the opportunities that arise from workplace education and trade union support, in 1979 I left school at 16 with 6 CSE’s at average grades (CSE is below GCSE standard) I had numerous jobs from failing an apprenticeship with British Rail to working on a building site and also working in a supermarket. In 1981 I was offered a job at Royal Mail in 1983 I got involved with the union and my journey started there. Because of the effort placed into workplace learning and education by my union I went from delivery driver a job I loved, to lecturer at several colleges including one in the Oxford circle (Ruskin) teaching employment law diploma to qualified teachers. Now I am working with URTU where I can help others have their own journey.
But in order to make sure that we make the most of this opportunity we need all Shop Stewards, Officers, ULR’s, union members and none
members to understand the importance of
workplace learning and the important role that Trade Unions play within it. We have the power to transform the workplace through learning, to raise the aspirations of the membership and to put those aspirations within reach, there is little in the work arena that is more powerful than a well
organised well educated workforce and one
cannot happen without the other.
I have seen first-hand how education can benefit individuals and I have seen how it can benefit the entire workforce. It enables people individually and collectively to question and challenge things that they may have previously accepted. It
enables people to make informed and educated
decisions about their future development,
promotion, agreements and so on. The most
powerful of all it enables individuals to take back some control over their own future.
For all Shop Stewards, Health and Safety
Representatives and ULR’s when you undertake your training you are just starting your learning journey. When you get back to the workplace it is key that you embrace your union’s learning
project (URTU Learning) and give your members and colleagues the opportunity to start their
Contact any of the URTU Learning Project Team for more information and get involved in workplace learning.