Award winning Stella plans apprentice support in Bristol

Stella Perrett, a Case Officer from The Planning Inspectorate in Bristol, is a Union Learning Rep (ULR) with the PCS union and has received the unionlearn ULR of the Year Award for Supporting Apprentices at the unionlearn Annual Conference at TUC Congress House in London.

Stella with her ULR of the year award

Stella Perrett became branch ULR in 2017 – the first time the branch had had a rep focusing on workplace learning. Soon Stella was focusing on supporting the new intake of apprentices at the Inspectorate under the governments apprenticeship scheme.

At the time there were no induction in place, so Stella made up her own ’welcome packs’ for the apprentices which included: the ULR forms (E&D and Learner interview form, the PCS) the PCS joining leaflet for apprentices, my own poster with contact details, and the PCS Young Members newsletter.

Stella has also built a spreadsheet of useful training providers in the Bristol area which she emails to all new apprentices.

Stella has been very proactive in encouraging young apprentices to develop their interests and skills, she said:

My proudest achievement is finding out what the people enjoy doing most and finding ways for them to pursue it within the workplace.”

One apprentice is studying Event Management outside work and hopes to take it up as a career. I have been able to encourage her and her managers to let her practise relevant duties, such as booking train travel and scouting hotel rooms and meeting venues et, and this is developing her skills for her CV.”

Another apprentice is keen on Health and Safety, because his father was a H&S rep, so I have been able to refer him to some free online H&S bite-size learning. If he stays with PINS after his initial year as an apprentice, he has expressed a wish to be trained as a H&S rep. I have encouraged him and our existing H&S rep, who is retiring soon, to take him to the management-union H&S meetings as an observer.”

Jack Davies, PCS South West Learning Organiser, said:

There is a very successful apprenticeship programme at the Planning Inspectorate, the relationship between the employer and the union has been very fruitful, and Stella has been intrinsic in getting that off the ground.”

Stella said:

I’m really proud to have won this award for supporting apprentices. It is personal to me as I was an apprentice way back in the day. I’ve only been a ULR for a year and in that time we have had our second batch of apprentices.”

Stella is really enjoying the role, and has set up regular meetings with HR. She has an ambition to have a Learning Agreement approved between the Planning Inspectorate and PCS in the future.

David Cobbin is with HR at the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol. David said:

The Planning Inspectorate are really proud of Stella winning this award. She has worked so closely with the apprentices and has helped them along. From a personal perspective I’ve really enjoyed celebrating with Stella and looking forward to the future.”

Unionlearn Director, Kevin Rowan, said:

The unionlearn Annual Conference celebrates workplace learning and the role of unions in supporting members across the country. Union Learning Reps are vital in promoting learning and skills development, which not only helps workers, but also employers – and the award recognise all their hard work.”

Stella has done a fantastic job supporting apprentices at the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol, and being there for young people starting their careers. Unionlearn is very pleased to present them with the 2018 ULR Award for Supporting Apprentices.”