Getting functional skills up and running at Tesco Goole

Usdaw’s Lead Union Learning Rep (ULR) Keith Springate, along with the ULR team at the Tesco Goole Distribution Centre have successfully launched a programme of functional skills learning at the site.

Usdaw learners

Keith has been working with the Learning Curve to support learners at the workplace build their skills.

Keith explained:

There was a lot of demand for learning and we started with an English course, provided by the Learning Curve Group.”

It successfully engaged staff and demonstrated proof of concept to site management. We have now been able to open the offer further by negotiating with the company to offer maths learning as well. I think we have gained recognition that good English and maths skills are crucial to the workplace, in terms of integration, health and safety and productivity”.

Matched time release is offered for the courses and numbers are managed through the learning committee meetings. All the learners gain certificates and the ULRs organise a celebration event to hand out certificates to the staff.

Keith said:

It’s great for all the learners and shows what they have achieved and of course it highlights the initiative to both staff and management It shows the qualifications people have gained and their commitment to attendance and succeed.”

In the first year, over 60 learners have been engaged, with many taking multiple classes, courses and qualifications.

Usdaw Divisional Project Worker Martyn Warwick has seen that hard work that Keith and his team have put in is now producing results.

Martyn said:

Functional skills’ learning is now fully embedded within the site and there is a rolling programme of English courses and hundreds of learners have now taken part in the classes.”

The work that Keith and his team have done is exemplary and has created a model that can be rolled out to the rest of the distribution business”.

It’s no surprise that Keith already has ideas about the next steps, he said: 

We want to set up ‘conversational English classes’ for workers for whom English isn’t their first language. This will enable them to practice and improve their skills before moving on to functional skills classes.”


If you want to begin building your skills why not start with some maths with the National Numeracy Challenge.