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.”


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.

First Courses in Northern Ireland

The new Reach Out learning centre at the GMB Holywood Office in Northern Ireland will
be hosting it’s first courses in March.

On Monday 9th and Tuesday 10th March the fully equipped IT suite will be used to teach 2 different courses.

Online Basics

Our Online Basics course is designed to assist people in taking their first steps into the internet. There are online modules you can work at that will guide you through some of the fundamentals and our friendly tutors are on hand to help as well.

Social Media

Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and a whole host of other Social Media sites are quickly becoming everyday communication tools. Find out how you can use them for work, personal use and job searching.

Course TimesPoster & Flyer

Monday 9th March:
Online Basics  10am-12pm
Social Media  1.30pm-3.30pm

Tuesday 10th March:
Online Basics  10am-12pm

Places are limited and are on a first come first served basis so CALL 02890 393340 or EMAIL NOW to reserve your spot.