Rachel Vine is a Compliance Officer at Pennine Foods in Sheffield where she has worked for 19 years. Rachel is also a Union Learning Rep and Shop Steward with BFAWU at the factory – and last month was recognised the unions National ULR of the year award.
Rachel was presented with award at the BFAWU 100th Anniversary conference at the Southport Convention Centre by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for all the help and support she has given, and continues to give, her colleagues at Pennine Food's.
Lisa Greenfield is a Project Worker with BFAWU Learning Services. Lisa said:
We are really pleased that Rachel has won this award – it is very well deserved. The National ULR committee selected Rachel from the nominees and everyone was in agreement that she was a worthy winner.
They recognised all the hard work she has put in since taking over as Lead ULR at Pennine.”
Rachel has been very busy as Lead ULR in the factory. She has been organising English functional skills classes with Chesterfield College, and arranging for the college to come and carry out do assessments, then put learners in the correct levels.
Because we are a multicultural work force, the English functional skills classes help them at work and in the community.”
The courses help with writing formal letters and emails which gives workers more confidence, and the ability to be able to progress within the company.
One of my favourite success stories is that of Thirumeni Thambirasan. He struggled with basic English in terms of talking, reading and writing. He struggled to get on because of his English skills were so low.”
However we organised an assessment through the college and got him enrolled on classes. Now he’s running, and in charge of, his own chill unit at work.”
Rachel has been keen to arrange lots of initial assessments, so that the union can support as many members of the workforce as possible. Rachel said:
We are in the process of doing more assessments, and will be putting them on for who needs them the most first, then we aim to keep going up the levels , starting from Entry Level 1 to 2 to 3, then Level One and Two.”
It is this level of dedication to supporting colleagues in her workplace that really made such and impression on the judges, and resulted her being awarded the 2018 National ULR of the year.