From Dartmoor to Northumberland – POA sign new learning agreements

From Dartmoor to Northumberland – POA sign new learning agreements

POA Learning have busy signing new learning agreements and link centres across the length and breadth of the country. The union has recently negotiated agreements which will support workers, and the local community, at HMP Northumberland and HMP Dartmoor – with more in the pipeline.

Staff at HMP Northumberland will soon be able to take advantage of a new POA Learning link centre. This will be the first private sector prison in England to sign up to an agreement with POA Learning after talks between representatives from Sodexo who run the prison and POA Learning’s National Co-ordinator Alison Manion and Scott Close, Regional Centre Manager. 

Director of HMP Northumberland Nick Leader
with Paul Foster, POA Chair with the agreement.

POA Learning currently have several members of staff at HMP Northumberland undertaking distance learning courses something that Scott hopes will increase once the new centre is open.

Scott said:

I am delighted with the numbers of new learners we are currently working with, and fully expect that to increase once the centre is open and becomes more accessible for everyone.”

Looking to the future, Scott added:

I’d like to thank Nick and our Union Learning Reps at HMP Northumberland for their support and look forward to a positive working relationship with all the staff in the coming months and years.”

Nick Leader, Director at HMP Northumberland, is grateful for the support provided by the POA locally and also from Alison and Scott.

Nick said:

The work being supported by POA Learning is giving staff a chance to develop and is excellent evidence of strong partnership working. This is making a real difference to the life of staff and helping them gain skills of benefit in work, for career development and for personal growth.”

As Deputy General Secretary for the POA with responsibility for overseeing POA Learning, Andy Darken said:

I am delighted to endorse this agreement between POA Learning and HMP Northumberland.  It is particularly pleasing to acknowledge this first signed agreement with a prison operated and run within the private sector and I wish to praise the support from Sodexo in helping to achieve this partnership with POA Learning.”

Lives can be changed for the better through learning and I hope that this agreement with Sodexo can help to positively change the lives of those who access the learning opportunities this agreement provides.”

At the other end of the coutry at HMP Dartmoor POA Learning have signed a Learning Agreement with Groundwork South - national organisations dedicated to assisting local communities improve their local environment.

Every year Groundwork help hundreds of thousands of people of all ages to organise and work together to protect, preserve, improve or create parks, play areas, allotments, nature reserves and many other spaces and places that matter to them.

Groundwork assist those involved to develop their confidence and skills as volunteers and volunteer leaders, help them understand more about the way local services are run and create a host of valuable new facilities from skate parks to war memorials.

Groundwork staff and volunteers require time and space to train and up skill and this is where the staff at the HMP Dartmoor POA Learning Centre come to the fore.

POA Learning was keen to support the organisation and share their experience and resources.

POA Learner support Ivan Judd said that:

The signed learning agreement with Groundwork means that staff and volunteers can use the POA Learning Centre facilities to up skill in a whole range of areas from health and safety to numeracy and literacy from ICT to the latest environmental updates. "

Ivan went on to say that it is a delight being able to assist such a worthy organisation that has at its heart nature and the environment.

Alison Manion said:

Countrywide POA Learning are signing new agreements that support POA members, family members and local communities gain new skills and engage in learning opportunities that may not have been able to other access.”

Negotiating new learning agreements and Link centres is an important part of our work – and we are looking forward to announcing more new agreements over the following year as part of our Union Learning Fund project.”

Unionlearn produces a number of resources to support Union Learning Reps setting up agreements including “Delivering better learning agreements - A guide for union reps and officers”

If you would like a hard copy email unionlearn – [email protected]

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