Caroline's learning journey inspired by Usdaw event

Caroline Scully is an Usdaw member working in the Tesco Bury store, and a chance meeting with an Usdaw Mobile ULR at a learning event has resulted in a learning journey that has built Caroline’s skills and career.

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When Mobile ULR Sue Sowe first met Caroline she didn’t know it was the start of a long-term relationship.

Sue explained:

I think it was a Check-Out learning day back in 2017. Caroline wanted to know more about the kind of courses that the Lifelong Learning Project offered.”

She thought it might help when her children started asking questions about their homework”.

Sue suggested that Caroline start with maths by doing the National Numeracy Challenge.

I thought this would be good for her because it was just a few questions to check her knowledge and maths level, and some informal learning to develop her Maths skills. NNC can then be repeated to further improve”.

Caroline also felt that her digital skills could be improved so Sue signed her up to the Get Online with Usdaw course, to improve her confidence and her skills.

In 2018 Caroline contacted Sue again saying she was interested in doing something for herself but didn't know exactly what. Caroline wanted to improve her job prospects but wasn't looking to leave Tesco.

Sue gave it some thought and suggested that Caroline take a level 2 Customer Service course; as a checkout worker this was something she did every day.

Sue said:

When Caroline had completed and passed her Level 2 in customer service, I sat down with her again and we discussed where she wanted to go next.”

I knew now that Caroline was on a journey. We focused on further developing her IT skills and though Caroline still had her doubts about her capability, her confidence had grown, and she signed up to a Level 2 I.T. Apprenticeship”.

Whilst she was doing her IT apprenticeship Caroline applied for and was successful in getting a new job as an admin clerk in the store. The role required digital skills competence, so Caroline had done exactly the right course.

In fact, her store manager Chris Stewart said that doing the apprenticeship showed Caroline’s commitment and made her an excellent candidate for the role.

Caroline goes from strength to strength. She passed her I.T apprenticeship and in November 2019 enrolled onto the Tesco Retail Apprenticeship course. She has also been nominated to join the Usdaw rep team as a Union Learning Rep, which she has agreed to do.

Sue said: “You never know how things will turn out” says Sue. “Some people enquire and you never see them again. Others make a start and then just grow and grow. I am so pleased to have been able to help Caroline achieve what she wanted to do.”

Usdaw Project Worker Jonathan Charnock Bradshaw said:

Caroline’s story strongly demonstrates the value of ULRs and the role they play in helping to support people develop themselves and gain the skills to advance in their careers.”

It’s what modern trade unions do.”

The National Numeracy Challenge and lots of other learning activities can be found on the Learning @ Home page on the unionlearn website.