ASLEF ULRs offer a snapshot of learning opportunities at depot

ASLEF Union Learning Reps were kept busy organising activities and events at depots across the railway network recently as part of this year’s Learning at Work Week.

At South Western Railways Strawberry Hill depot in south London ASLEFs resident ULR Leon Anthony set up a “drop in learning day” within the depot mess room. The event was held on Thursday May 18th between 10.30 and 14.30. and offered workers at the depot a variety of learning opportunities and taster sessions, as well as free refreshments and give-a-ways.

ASLEF Education Project Worker Emma Penman explained more.

Leon organised the event and, along with two ULRs for neighbouring depots, Nick Meagher and Mark Bloomfield held Information Advice and Guidance sessions to establish interest and disseminate information on the learning opportunities available.”

Jessops Photography ran informal 1-2-1 tasters and managed to recruit enough learners to run a level 2 photography course at Strawberry Hill Depot in September, whilst online and distance learning resources were promoted and several signed up to on the day.”

The ULRs also used iPads to encourage those attending to take part in online learning modules via the Litmos Heroes platform. This all proved very popular and rail workers from various grades participated. 

Emma said around 15 people took the opportunity to drop in during the session, with a number signing up for courses – including one learner who has signed up to a level 2 Team Leading Knowledge courses to improve his prospects of promotion at work.

The photography session was particularly popular as Emma points out:

We know from previous activities that photography is very popular and it attracts learners that wouldn’t normally engage in learning activities.”

Jessops Photography provided tasters and the ASLEF ULRs promoted the distant and online learning resources.”

The ASLEF ULRs worked with South Western Railways to ensure the event was a success.

The employer publicised the event and provided release for three ULRs to attend, while local management were supportive providing space and printing facilities.

The event was well promoted and Lead ULR Nick Meagher produced a newsletter that advertises events, flyers were distributed at local depots and the Apprenticeship and Development Manager posted it onto the company intranet. ASLEF Education also used social media and tweeted the event in advance.

The event wasn’t just for ASLEF members and all South Western Railway staff at all grades, both union members and non-members were welcome. It was also open to family members of staff.

ASLEF officers and ULRs all thought the event was a really success and works towards building a learning culture at the depot. As well as the member who enrolled with PETROC College on the Team Leading Knowledge level 2 accredited course, another has enrolled in basic IT skills course and one enrolled on a Portuguese language course.

Several took the opportunity to complete online learning modules in topics such as GDPR, while, perhaps unsurprisingly, ten are now enrolled on a Jessops Photography level 2 course.

Emma said:

The day went really well – and just goes to show the importance of Learning at Work Week as a way of engaging with members and employers around workplace learning.”