John wins award for supporting literacy learners in Stoke

John Goodwin is an Usdaw Union Learning Rep (ULR) from Stoke and was presented the unionlearn ULR of the Year Award for Supporting Learners with Literacy Needs at the unionlearn Annual Conference at TUC Congress House in London.

Usdaw ULR John Goodwin collects award from Frances O'Grady and Anne Milton MP
Usdaw ULR John Goodwin collects award from Frances O'Grady and Anne Milton MP @JessHurd

John Goodwin has established a fully functioning on-site Learning Centre at his workplace, DHL / Sainsburys Stoke that is supported by a team of three ULRs across a range of different shifts, including nights with an agreement of 10 hours paid release per week for the reps to carry out their role.  The centre is ideally located at the back of the staff canteen and is easily accessible for all members of staff.

A large number of learners on the site are colleagues for whom English is not their first language, each learner completes an English assessment and is then enrolled onto the correct course with both John and the tutor supporting them.  Many migrant workers at the site are first employed by one of the two agencies located within the organisation, to ensure that all colleagues have access to the Learning offer, John attends all new started inductions and works very closely with both agency managers ensuring the Lifelong Learning continues in be inclusive to all staff.

John was presented the award by TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady and Skills Minister Anne Milton MP at the annual gathering of learning reps, union officers and education providers.

John said: “I’m overwhelmed to have won this award for supporting learners with literacy needs. Here at DHL we have a lot of workers where English isn’t their first language – and it is vital that we have a Learning Centre on site.”

“Since we have had a new provider we’ve had 140 learners starting from entry level to level 2 and we also hold a Reading Ahead Challenge.”

Johnathon Charnock, Lifelong Learning Project Officer with Usdaw, said: “It’s really important for union learning reps to be in the work place so they can get information out there to the member about courses and learning opportunities. So the work that John has done to get that information out to members at DHL is so important and we are proud of him.”

Ann Murphy is National Lifelong Learning Co-ordinator – Usdaw. Ann said:

John has a real passion for education; he left school with no qualifications and since working at DHL / Sainsburys Stoke he has enrolled onto a number of different courses.  Before becoming a Union Learning Rep, John was first a learner; he worked in the re-cycling / waste management department and completed an NVQ Level 2 course.”

John added:

I’ve moved from Entry level to level 2 and progressed as a ULR – and now I’m giving back the company and learners the support what I’ve had.”

Unionlearn Director, Kevin Rowan, said:

The unionlearn Annual Conference celebrates workplace learning and the role of unions in supporting members across the country. Union Learning Reps are vital in promoting learning and skills development, which not only helps workers, but also employers – and the award recognise all their hard work.”

John has done a fantastic job supporting literacy skills at DHL Sainsburys in Stoke, and organising the Reading Ahead Challenge for staff. Unionlearn is very pleased to present them with the 2018 ULR Award for Supporting Learners with Literacy Needs.”