My experience on a ULR course

I have to say I enjoyed the four Tuesdays at Blandford Square.

PCS Blog

It was an odd combination of professions, train drivers and civil servants in the same room brought some interesting interactions. The first week was cut short for the celebration of Ringo’s life (never met the guy but had saw him around town). It was essentially a ‘knowing the truth’ session about the circumstances and limitations that are forced upon us by our employers and possibly our branches who don’t see how truly valuable we are.  And what ways we try to overcome them. It was basically ‘new friends, old problems’ in that session.

It got better from there though. I had a couple of possible ideas for my project but what I wanted to do was get away from literacy and numeracy paradigm as it is a bit perpetual. I thought it would be great to offer the potential members something different and eye-opening. That idea started to take shape around week 2 and the presentation idea became clearer. The idea being to deliver a taster session on Bookkeeping and Accounts, for a future learning at work day. 

I do enjoy the collaborative approach to learning. Ultimately yes it does get everyone a qualification and is part of functional English qualification assessments, but it opens new ways of thinking, new methods. For example, one of train drivers runs between the mess rooms of Kings Cross and Newcastle. What methods did he use? And the drivers didn’t just stick to ASLEF only, they tried to involve everyone including the cleaners. Also, the benefit of learning partnerships was interesting to discuss. What would each party do to take it forward to get a written agreement?

For the project, I have taken a break from, I am ready to go the next stage. I admit I got a little bit of help with the structure of the presentation from a colleague-a lesson on how to keep it simple. I didn’t have the time to draw up a PowerPoint as I haven’t used it too much before. I was told always consider it as it keeps you focused if it’s on the screen, so you know where you are. 

But the presentation felt right, I don’t know where the confidence came from, but it did. I probably should have given more eye contact and some visual aids would have been good, but I felt I managed to structure the presentation as I planned it to be and it felt seamless. 

I wrote a lot here, said a lot more than I normally do. The message that came out of it was regardless of obstacles evolve, reinvent. With my project I am reinventing. But I am not reinventing the wheel…..

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Paul Cartwright

Paul Cartwright works in the Debt Co-ordination Team with the Department for Work and Pensions at Newcastle Pension Centre.

Paul is a Union Learning Rep with PCS and recently attended ULR stage 2 course with reps from various unions in the region.