David supports diverse workforce gain English skills

Morrisons Rathbones in Wakefield is a multicultural vibrant workplace with many different nationalities working together on the site – and Plant Operative David Ratnik is BFAWU Union Learning Rep on the site looking to support the learning needs of this workplace community.

David Ratnik
David Ratnik (left) with a learner at a BFAWU presentation event

David has been working at this Morrisons site for just over a decade, and has been a member of the union for over 40 years, receiving his 40 year badge in 2017. He has been very active to support learning and has helped with open days, covering every shift so no one missed the opportunity to find out about the range of learning that was available to them.

David works along with Sean Molloy the Branch Secretary of the BFAWU and Matt Castle the People Advisor for the company, to drive the learning agenda forward. He has helped arrange meetings with the company and has been a key person onsite in helping communicate with colleagues and relaying information.

David was encouraged collectively to take up the role of a ULR by Sean, Full time officer of the union Pauline Nazir and Kamran Ali the project worker for BFAWU Learning Services.

Kamran explained:

This encouragement came from the recognition of David’s passion for helping others and his natural ability to communicate with his colleagues. David wants to help his colleagues progress in their personal and professional lives and we thought he was the perfect fit to become a ULR at the site.”

David has been in the union a long time, he received his 40 year badge a few years ago, and  although he has not yet done a dedicated ULR course he has been a shop steward for many years and has always had an active role in helping members.”

David has helped organise and run open days at the Morrisons site, where he promoted the learning services, helped with both the organising and running of the assessment sessions, attended meetings and generally goes around the workplace to keep people updated on the progress of the learning agenda.

He has recently been helping colleagues sign up for the distance learning courses that the union offers.

Morrisons Rathbones is a exciting workplace with many different languages and ethnic groups working on site, while this diversity brings benefits it can present some challenges and the company recognised the need to help colleagues get a better understanding of English.

The union worked Morrisons who agreed for David to have time off to promote learning and agreed to having the project worker from the learning services on site. They also allowed open days to cover every shift, authorised their staff to do English assessments to determine their levels.

David and managers at the site have met with various learning providers to see if the needs of their colleagues and the company can be catered for by having Functional Skills classes delivered in the workplace.

Kamran added that:

Due to the needs of the workforce who are interested in taking up learning, Functional Skills English is priority as this will help them to be able to progress onto other courses, such as, Maths and Digital Literacy.”

David said:

After many months of hard work, organising, surveys, meetings, open days, assessments, we are now in a position to find the learning provider who can meet the needs of the business and the learners. Some colleagues signed up for various different Level 2 courses. These are distance learning courses and suitable for those who are able to learn independently.”

It now won’t be long now till we have classes of Functional Skills English running on site.”