Tina Davies organising Welsh language learning in stores

At a Check Out Learning event in February at my own store, Tesco Broughton, 12 people expressed an interest in taking a Welsh course, so I went ahead and organised it.

Seems pretty simple on paper to set up a course like this doesn’t it? But, as my story shows, ULRs sometimes need well developed communication, organising and negotiating skills – and a lot of patience and determination - to set up learning in the workplace.

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First find your tutor. After lots of phone calls and talks with our Project Worker, Pam and Ceri Lewis from Adult Learning Wales (formerly WEA Cymru), we managed to get a tutor to do the course, with the plan that it would run for five weeks for two and a half hours per week. However, the tutor was only able to do it during the day as she doesn’t drive.

I’d successfully negotiated paid release with my store manager. However, having twelve staff interested in the course caused us a problem. It was a lot of hours to take out of one day and would have a massive impact on the store. After speaking to my store manager, she asked me to draw up a plan on paper so she could see what it looked like.

After going away and thinking about how we could make this work, I spoke with Ceri to see if we could shorten the number of hours from two and a half hours down to two hours and run a six-week course. We then looked at splitting the group into two and alternating the classes. Group 1 would do the first week and every other week, with Group 2 doing the same but starting the second week. So, the course would run for twelve weeks in total but each group would do six sessions in total, which Ceri and the tutor was happy to do.

I then put this in writing for the store manager to look at. She was happy for me to split the group into two, as long as I made sure that there wasn’t more than one person from a department on the same session.

It took a lot of planning, quite a bit of negotiation a lot of communicating to get the course up and running. It took longer than I expected and it’s had its problems along the way. However, it’s also given me lots of experience and I’m feeling so much more confident about my own skills and abilities. I’ve even organised another Welsh course to take place outside of my own patch at the request of a manager from Tesco Caernarfon which started in August.

Fingers crossed its going well!

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Tina Davies

Tina Davies is a Mobile Union Learning Rep (MULR) based in North Wales. Tina has noticed a growing number of staff have shown an interest in learning Welsh – so with this in mind Tina decided to set something up!

Tina explains how she met the challenges of working in a busy retail environment and organised courses.