MP’s and Mayor support Unite learning events across South Yorkshire.

As part of Learning at Work and Mental Health Awareness Week this May, Unite the Union Learning Representatives and First Bus South Yorkshire celebrated the continuing success of the Lifelong Learning agenda.

LAWW with Unite in S.Yorks
Mayor of Sheffield, Tony Downing visits Unites Olive Grove Learning Centre

The week began on Monday with a visit by Councillor Tony Downing the Mayor of Sheffield; who visited the Olive Grove Learning Centre witnessing first hand all the good work being done by the Unite Learning representatives.

Tony said

As a retired driver it was a privilege to re-visit the Olive Grove depot and play a part in launching Learning at Work Week 2019. Initiatives that encourage people to upgrade their skills must be encouraged. I was impressed by the friendliness of the Union Learning representatives in the lifelong learning centre, the quality of the facilities plus the opportunities they provide for all staff through the first bus and Unite partnership.”

It was a pleasure to meet Garry Birmingham, Managing Director of First Bus South Yorkshire, Andy Cullen from Unite the Union, Ray Satur and Mike Atkins who informed me of the partnership between First Bus and Unite the Union”.

The week also coincided with First South Yorkshire agreeing to support Unite the Unions Period Dignity campaign. The campaign is about making sanitary products available in workplaces, education centres and communities.

Activities on the Tuesday tied in with this at the Rotherham depot Union Learning Rep Alison Banks spoke to members about learning opportunities available, raised awareness of mental health in the workplace and ran a photography competition. The day concluded with Neil Bailey, Operations Manager for Rotherham, signing the Period Dignity agreement.

During Wednesday of Learning at Work Week Unite reps travelled to the Archway Sheffield and Doncaster. Celebrating National Numeracy Day, Mike Atkins, Unite Learning Representative from Sheffield, handed out a numeracy quiz. All members completing the quiz were placed in to a draw and one lucky winner will receive a £25 shopping voucher.

In Doncaster, supported by Craig Baker Unite Learning Rep, Choice for All Doncaster (ChAD) visited the depot promoting the needs of local people on subjects such as learning difficulties, disabilities and mental health. ChAD is a committee of adults who have a learning disability and speak up on behalf of up to 700 peers in Doncaster.

On Thursday the events continued at the Archway Sheffield with driver David Blackham supported a Deaf Awareness team who ran small workshops promoting sign language and the awareness of the hearing impaired.

Unite wrapped up the week on Friday with a visit by Gill Furniss MP for Brightside and Hillsborough and Rt. Hon Dame Rosie Winterton DBE MP. The MP’s visited Engineering, the Learning centres and witnessed the signing of the Period Dignity agreement.  

Gill, who visited the Oliver Grove Centre, said:

I found my visit to First Bus interesting and informative. The work done to promote Learning at Work Week using the excellent Learning Centre to provide opportunities to develop skills is vital. I was pleased to see First Bus and Unite sign their Period Dignity pledge which is extremely important to female employees. The visit was great and I will come back sometime soon.”        

Dame Rosie, who visited the St Leger Depot, said:

It was great to see first-hand the opportunities being made available for employees locally and that local businesses are participating in Learning at Work Week.  It was also encouraging to see First and Unite both sign their Period Dignity Pledge – this is extremely important for female employees.”