Bakers union helps learning bloom at Tulip

Over the last couple of years the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) have promoted learning at work in Tulip Foods in Coalville, Leicester, but courses have started and then dropped away for one reason or another. 

BFAWU Learners at Tulip

However recent promotional work around learning by BFAWU Project Worker Karen Plasom has seen a sustained uptake in courses at the food manufacturer. Tulip Foods is country’s largest pig farmer and producer of pork and the Leicester factory is one of 17 across the country.  

Karen ran a series of open days at Tulip supported by full time official Lukasz Bemka along with Tadeusz Hojden, site branch secretary. These promoted learning at work and particularly focused on the benefits of English courses for progression and promotion.  

Karen said:

We gathered together names of those interested and had meetings with Paula Oldham from HR at Tulip and Lee Kirton, head of the Workskills department of Chesterfield College.”

We then held assessment days and the company gave the learners 20 minutes to come up and do their English assessment, and were then invited to come to a meet and greet day.”

Twenty-five people attended this day and were put into groups. It was decided to run three lessons, two on a Monday and one on a Thursday which gave the opportunity to all shifts.

Paula was thrilled with the turnout saying:

We are delighted by the uptake for our English classes at Coalville site, it really encourages me to see people wanting to learn and improve their language skills, we will continue to work with the BFAWU to support all colleagues on site …investing in peoples future”

Sally Lowndes, a tutor from Chesterfield College, was given a factory tour so she could see for herself the procedures that people have to follow and so incorporate these into the lessons.

The union held an enrolment/registration day to get all the paperwork completed and the lessons started proper in February and are due to finish at the beginning of July 2019.  

Karen added that:

The classes are well attended, and we can see the positivity in the learners faces, that ‘lightbulb’ moment when they understand what they are learning.”

The union and provider are now looking forward to developing their work with the employer and giving even more people the opportunity to take up a course and improve their skills.

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