Rachel Vine is Lead ULR with the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) at Pennine Foods in Sheffield and at the 2019 unionlearn Annual Conference won the ULR award for supporting Literacy at work.
The site that Rachel works at currently employs over 500 people and is extremely diverse with a large percentage having English as their second language. Rachel realised that language barriers can have a massive impact on site and decided that as a Union Learning Rep she was in a position to help provide classes to support spoken and written English.
Working with Rachel, Pennine Foods is currently on their fourth cohort of English classes with learners ranging from Entry Level 1 to Level 3. All classes have 100% achievement and 100% paid time release, something that Rachel has negotiated with the company.
I recognised that people in the workplace were struggling to read and write. Every year we do a company survey and people were struggling to read the questions and answer them. So we met up with the management and union and organised some English classes.
The classes were very popular and not only build up skills but also increased the confidence of individual workers.
Ben Lee, BFAWU Learning Services Project Worker said:
Rachel is an amazing ULR who puts her heart into helping every single learner that uses their learning centre. She has become the sites go to person when it comes to anyone needing help – whether it comes to understanding her payslip or things which are not work related.
Lois Sarginson HR Manager at Pennine Foods said:
We really value the work that Rachel does here, she really is an excellent Learner Rep. She spends all her time making sure that everybody is aware of what courses are being run, then she speaks to the people on the shop floor to make sure it’s the right course for them.
Unionlearn Director, Kevin Rowan, added:
Union Learning Reps are vital in promoting learning and skills development, which not only helps workers, but also employers – and the ULR awards recognise their hard work.
Rachel has done a fantastic job supporting the diverse community in her workplace developing their English skills and supporting her colleagues at Pennine Foods. Unionlearn is very pleased to present her with the 2019 ULR Literacy Award.