Minister Commends Union Led Learning

Presenting the award for the 2015 Union Learning representative at the Northern Ireland Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the Union Learn NI Conference in Belfast on Wednesday, the Minister for Employment and Learning Dr Stephen Farry congratulated the winner Carmina Kaszoni, an employee of Moypark, Ballymena, for her dedication and support in encouraging her colleagues to participate in learning.

Dr Farry said: “Union Learning reps are playing a crucial role in steering employees towards enhancing and upgrading their skills and abilities and are fast becoming a cornerstone of the Trade Union movement. They ensure that workplaces are not only conducive to lifelong learning but are professional and effective as learning environments for both employers and employees.

“We need to raise the skills levels of the whole workforce to ensure we are equipping people with the qualifications, aptitudes and abilities they need to achieve their full potential.

“The need to invest in skills is the central message of my Department and it lies at the heart of everything we do. Through the Union Learning Fund we are offering thousands of workers across Northern Ireland a chance to re-engage in learning.”ULF-logo transparent

There are currently 11 union learning projects operating in workplaces across Northern Ireland, funded through the Department for Employment and Learning’s Union Learning Fund. These projects are aimed at improving workplace skills as well as providing a second chance for people to gain qualifications in literacy, numeracy and ICT. They have also helped to train and support Union Learning Representatives, establish learning centres and facilitate learning agreements with employers.

The Minister continued: “Skills play a vital role in performance. In fact research shows that firms in the UK that do not invest in training are, on average, twice as likely to fail. So, if employers want to increase their productivity, introduce new technology or improve customer service, they need to up-skill their current workforce. Working in partnership with your Trade Union to encourage learning in the workplace can help deliver that goal.

“Last year, Union Learning Representatives brokered learning opportunities for over 2,000 people, with almost 1,000 improving their Essential Skills in literacy, numeracy and ICT. No matter what stage you are at in your career, skills are vital at all levels throughout everyone’s working life.”

Welcoming the Minister to the conference on behalf of NICICTU, Mark Langhammer said: “I am pleased to pay tribute to the work and spirit of the Union Learning Reps and those workers who have taken this opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills.”


Work Club Guide

At our ACT Centres we operate weekly Work Clubs offering support to those out of work to help them learn new skills and gain employment.

There is always a member of the team on hand to offer help and advice.

It’s fair to say that there is a whole host of information to take in, whether it’s creating a CV, learning to type covering letters, assistance with searching for jobs online or help with interview tips.

So we thought we’d try and capture as much of it as we could in a handy Work Club Guide.  It’s a useful tool if you’re attending one of our Work Clubs but if you can’t make it to one of our Centres but would still like some help you can use it to help you in your own time too.  You can call 0161 848 9173 to find your nearest ACT Centre.

Please share it with anyone who could benefit from using it.  You can either download it or print out the relevant pages below. We’d also love to hear any feedback and comments about the Work Club Guide.


Northern Irish Newsletter Issue 1

To make sure you all know what’s going on with our Northern Ireland project we have created a special edition of our newsletter.

There are printed copies available at the Holywood office and Project Worker Andy McCann will be able to make sure you get a copy, or a few copies to hand out among colleagues.

We’ve also kept some here in England, so if you’re based in the Northwest and would like a copy, please let us know.

Alternatively you can view an electronic copy of the newsletter here:

We hope you enjoy reading and if you have any comments or ideas for future articles in either this or our regular newsletter please make sure you get in touch.

Online Basics And MORE

As part of our PledgeIT Campaign, you may have heard us talking about Online Basics or Learn My Way and how it’s a fantastic way for people Pledge ITwho are new to the internet to get to grips with the basics.

However, Learn My Way also has short courses for you if you are comfortable using the internet but want to know more. So whether you want to know more about public services, job hunting, banking and shopping online or you’d like to learn to use Facebook and e-mail or just be safer when online, there is a course for you.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or a regular internet user there will be a module or 2 that you can take advantage of.

You’ll need to create an account to use the Learn My Way website, but it only takes a couple of minutes to set up.  Click here to start setting up your account.

If you have any problems or questions while setting up your account please call a member of the team on 0161 877 9439.

Once you have entered all the required details you will be asked for a centre code; please use the code 3451005. 

Once your account is set up you’re good to go!!

Start with the Online Basics or jump straight into the Online Plus courses – it’s up to you!!


Schools Support Courses

In addition to sector specific courses that are available to members in the retail and care industries, we can now announce courses aimed at supporting members working in schools.

Working in partnership with CSM Training there are currently 2 different qualifications available to teaching support staff.

There is a level 2 intermediate apprenticeship and a level 3 advanced apprenticeship available.  Eligibility criteria for both courses is as follows:

  • Must have lived in the EU for 3 years or more
  • Must be 16 years of age or above
  • Must be in paid employment for 16 hours per week or more
  • Must not hold a level 4 qualification or above

Further details about each course can be found below.

Level 2

Level 3

Currently these courses are only available to members in England.