Union Learning Reps support GCSE learners in Kirklees

Unite Union Learning Rep Richard Gilbert and colleagues have been supporting workplace learners from Kirklees Council and Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing who have successfully completed their GCSE courses for Maths and English.

GCSE learners at Kirklees
(L-R) back row - David Marlow (ULR), tameka Thomas, Andrew Crosland, Kerryann Cross, Katie Bloomfield, Anita Wilkinson. Front row - Sharon Booth (ULR), Richard Gilbert (ULR).

The learners all work in different roles across the council and are older learners aged in their 30’s 40’s and 50’s so going back to school could seem quite daunting but the Unite Union Learning Reps made sure that they have all the support they need to complete the GCSE courses and succeed in their exams.

So far ten learners have completed GCSE Maths or English courses at Huddersfield or Kirklees College, and found the experience very positive – many commented that they didn’t have very good experiences at school but really enjoyed learning at college.

Anita Wilkinson is a Family Support Worker with the Parenting Team at the Council. Anita studied English at Kirklees said:

It was absolutely brilliant, my tutor really helpful and gave me advice and guidance throughout.”

It was different from school as I had a lot more support and wasn’t afraid to ask for help. The other students also supported learning and wanted to be in class.”

Andrew Crossland is a plumber with the council and decided that he wanted to also study English GCES at Kirklees College after successfully taking part in the functional skills offer previously.

Andrew thought that by studying for an English GCSE he could have an opportunity to correct what he didn’t do at school, something that he feels would help both himself and his career.

Andrew feels this has been a success thanks to the course and said:

It was a bit daunting at first but I soon got into it and found it a great help, and very interesting.”

It was totally different to school, and they used different methods of teaching that I haven’t experienced before.”

Richard said that he was very pleased with the way the learners had fared on the courses and also the support they had received from the employer and College.

Richard said:

With the support of our Functional Skills tutor myself and fellow ULR’s David Marlow, Sharon Booth, Michael Pogson and Carole-Ann Gleadall have helped learners at Kirklees Council get back into learning and build confidence and skills by taking GCES courses in Maths and English.”

I’m also really pleased to hear from a number of learners that they see this as just that start and are looking at future GCSE courses to continue their learning journey.”

Unite, GMB and Unison at the council are keen to spread the word and give more staff the opportunity to get involved, something that those who took their GCSE’s this year would encourage.

When asked if other people should think about taking a GCES course as an older learner Anita said:

Do it! It’s one of the best things I have done. It has not only helped me, but I can know help my grandchildren with their homework with confidence.”