BFAWU support food workers facing redundancy in Sheffield

Pennine Foods has always been one of the BFAWU Learning services most active sites and continued all the way to October last year when it was sadly announced the site in Sheffield would be closing its doors for the final time in Spring 2020.

Pennine food workers supported by BFAWU

Pennine Foods was based in Sheffield and over the years there have been lots of courses run on the sites union learning centre including ICT, Maths and numerous English classes all at different levels ranging from entry up to level 2.

Right up to the announcement in October another set of English classes was being planned with one of the union’s provider’s, The Learning Curve.

BFAWU Learning Services Project Worker Ben Lee explained what the union had been doing to support worker facing an uncertain future. Ben explained:

In the last few weeks before the closure we have been on site helping with CV, job searching and interview skills. Staff have really engaged with the learning and hopefully this will help them succeed with their next chapter in life.”

One important area of support that the union organised was around interview skills, these workshops ran throughout the last weeks at Pennine Food before the closure.

Ben said:

These courses have been run by Matthew Pointon from unionlearn and the BFAWU Learning Services team to help people to understand how the group interview process is often done.”

Staff were split into groups of between four and six then gave them a scenario to work out between themselves working as a team then present to us their findings.

Ben added:

We then judged the groups on how they had used their different skills to see who would move through to the next stage of interviews with Matthew explaining to the group that there was no wrong or right answer for the scenario.”

Every person got some feedback on how they had done and what they needed to work on in a group interview if one came along in the future.”

After some initial puzzled looks people started to understand the scenario and staff enjoyed the task and really got their teeth into it. Branch secretary Debbie Loy helped with the judging, and later spoke about the number people who had commented on how they had enjoyed the interview skills and hoped they could move on to doing individual ones.

Unfortunately, due to the current outbreak of coronavirus, the last sessions were cancelled but Ben hopes the staff that completed the course will be able to take away what they learnt and get the new job they want and wished them all the best for the future.

Ben said:

None of this would have been possible without the help of Debbie and her team who have given us 100% support in everything we have achieved together.”

Ben also thanked lead ULR Rachel Vine, who in 2019 won the unionlearn ULR of the Year Award for supporting literacy skills. Ben said:

Rachel has gone above and beyond her role over the years and on one occasion even run an English class when the tutor couldn’t get to site due to bad weather.”

I would like to wish everybody at Pennine all the very best from all of us at the BFAWU learning services.”