The BFAWU has been working for some time to support learning through its Batley Life Centre at Fox’s Biscuits factory in Yorkshire – it recently had another successful cohort of English learners just complete courses.
Over the last four years the union has supported over 80 learners through its Learning Centre. These have included Functional Skills English, Mental Health Awareness Course and distance learning sign ups. The Learning Centre has just had 20 learners complete Functional skills English, nine at Entry Level and 11 at Levels 1 and 2.
Kamran Ali is the BFAWU Learning Services Project Worker covering the workplace and explained why there has been such an interest in Functional Skills English.
Members have been signing up to English courses for a number of reasons. To build their confidence, progression and help in their personal lives.”
Also for the entry level learners it is better to do the Functional Skills English first and then do the maths or digital literacy as both the maths and digital need an understanding of English as the qualifications are functional skills.”
The union has organised four sets of Functional Skills English classes over the last four years, and the pass rate has consistently been above 90%, with Chesterfield college running them.
Each class is two hours long. We have negotiated with the employer that one hour is the learners own time and one hour is company time where the learner gets released from their job. We have had two lessons a week on a Tuesday and Friday.”
The classes continue to recruit and once a few retakes from the current cohort are out of the way in March the union will be looking at further classes, with promotion and sign ups taking place from mid-June 2020.
The BFAWU and the Learning Centre offer English learners a lot of support beyond the weekly sessions.
There is a library in the learning centre for use for the learners and employees in general, we also have five computers installed by the BFAWU Learning Services with internet provided by the company so learners are able to access online help. The tutor is also available for support beyond the weekly sessions.”
Kamarn attends site most weeks and is available at short notice if any learner needed support with accessing learning, he is also able to help with getting release from work if any release issues arise as well as promoting further learning.
Mark Dickens is a learner at Fox’s and said it was a:
brilliant course made fun by the tutor who makes learning interesting.”
We have excellent support from Kamran the project worker from BFAWU Learning Services and Sally Lowndes the tutor from Chesterfield College.”
Fellow learner Penny Grimsditch added that it was a “great course and teacher, would recommend to anybody”.