Becoming a ULR rebuilt Donna’s confidence

Donna Dutton readily admits that she has never had a lot of confidence, and an accident dented it even further. However after becoming a Union Learning Rep with Usdaw her confidence has bloomed – and she now helping others build skills.

Usdaw learners
Just some of the 100 distance learners Donna and other Usdaw reps have signed up at Bradford Next

Martyn Warwick is an Usdaw Lifelong Learning Project Worker and said:

Confidence is such an elusive thing – like the adverts for saving accounts say; “it can go up or down”. Donna Dutton’s has taken a real roller coaster ride over the past few years but now with the support of her union colleagues and her new role as an Usdaw ULR, it’s firmly on the up again.”

Donna started at Manchester Next in August 2005 and moved to the Toftshaw Lane site three years later. Soon after her move, a Training Instructor position was advertised. Donna was immediately interested.

Donna recalls that:

I would train new staff on jobs that they have not done before, and although my confidence was not that great, I applied for the job as it sounded exciting”.

Unfortunately, due to a car accident Donna couldn’t attend the interview. And the effects of the incident went deeper.

After my car accident I couldn’t apply for the Training Instructors role again because my confidence had been knocked back even more so I just stayed where I was.”

However, a few years later, a Union Learning Reps position came up and Donna put herself forward for nomination.

Donna explained: 

I decided to go for it and lucky for me I got it! With my lack of confidence, I didn’t think I would.”

Nearly a year later, Donna is blooming. 

Since becoming a ULR, I have been helping people on Maths, English and Distance Courses which means enrolling them and recording figures on to our database”.

Donna has also been involved in a series of workshops that the ULR team set up to help staff use the new bonus sheets introduced by the company.

Donna says:

It was a challenge to show other staff how to fill them in as I lacked confidence, but in showing the staff how to complete them, my confidence has grown each day”.

Looking back over the last few months Donna says

I don’t think I could have done it without the other ULR, Alison Swales. Back in the day I wouldn’t have dreamed of training or helping staff to learn new skills. I am now able to speak to staff in big or small groups. This shows me that when you push yourself, and when you have the support of your colleagues, you can achieve great things.”

Martyn recognises the progress that Donna has made.

I’ve been really impressed with the change in Donna over such as short space of time. She has really excelled, come out of her shell and grown and that is plain to see.”

The bonus workshops that Donna and Alison are involved in have proved extremely popular with both staff and the employer and they are now being rolled out to the other sites”.