Usdaw ULR Sean encourages Reading Ahead at DHL Argos

Usdaw ULR Sean encourages Reading Ahead at DHL Argos

Staff at DHL Argos in Castleford marked the success of their reading year with a special event, thanks to Usdaw, and the local Union Learning Rep Sean Dixon.

Thanks to Sean’s continued hard work and enthusiasm, 36 people completed Reading Ahead in 2015/16, a significant increase on previous years. They have also been running a number of book club sessions featuring Quick Reads and other titles chosen by staff.

Sean said:

This is the 5th year the Usdaw Learning Centre at DHL Argos Castleford has taken part in the Reading Agency Challenge.

We celebrate those participating and completing with an event each year. Completers receive a goody bag with their certificate, Reading Ahead incentives and a bar of chocolate.

Argos, DHL and the Learning Centre support the event with donations for a prize draw which this year had two tablets, signed books and book vouchers as prizes."

Sean normally approaches an author to attend the celebration event and come in, talk about their books, the stories behind them and how they got into writing and published. This pairs up with other events through the year around creative writing.

This year Sean arranged for Victoria Prendergast, author of The Army, Depression, Drugs and Me, to talk about how she has overcome some major challenges in her life and shared them in a book just published by Amazon. 

Victoria said:

I really enjoyed the whole experience and was so grateful for the opportunity to not only meet you all but tell my story. Yes I was a bit nervous - anxiety which I talk about in my book - but actually facing it head on helped me. It was good to tell my side and see so many people interested in what I had to say. I thoroughly enjoyed it, I just hope you all did too."

The Usdaw Learning Centre event also had Dawn Bartram from Wakefield Libraries on hand to explain their services and answer any questions, along with Genevieve Clarke from The Reading Agency and General Manager Steve Gallagher. Usdaw ULR Monika Paczkowska and Project Officer Martyn Warwick also attended the event.

Sean added:

It was pleasing that people signed up at the event to the library service, something that had been highlighted as not happening through the Reading Ahead questionnaire. We will be taking up their offer of resources for Book Clubs and also workshops around tracing your Family Tree.

We also had a visit from Andy Barker who is DHL Head of Employee Relations UK & Ireland, who was amazed in a good way at all the work Usdaw and DHL Argos at Castleford put into our learning on site through the Centre and will be spreading the word to his bosses.

The gauntlet was thrown down for us to achieve 50 completers next year to qualify for a bronze certificate. With staff able to sign up at the event, and 14 doing so, we are well  on our way to that figure."

Kim Cutts, who works at DHL Argos has enjoyed taking part in Reading Ahead and the reading group. Kim said:

The Quick Reads work really well. You get to the last page quicker! We all enjoyed The Baby at the Beach Café."

Genevieve summed up saying:

We’ve had fabulous support from Usdaw learning reps at DHL Argos for several years now.  They’ve shown how programmes like Reading Ahead and Quick Reads can create a real buzz in the workplace and get people talking about reading and learning.

We’d love many more Usdaw sites to take up the challenge and get involved."

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