Cheryl Copley, Usdaw Union Learning Rep (ULR) for Next distribution in Dearne Valley, has really grown into the role according and has been focusing on supporting learners improve their English skills.
Usdaw Project Worker Martyn Warwick is impressed with the way that Cheryl has developed as a rep and said:
Cheryl was quite a shy individual to start with, but she now takes a lead on the learning agenda with confidence. She really drives the initiative forward, negotiating with the college and the company on behalf of the learners to make sure they get the best offer available”.
Cheryl has been particularly successful in identifying literacy needs of the staff in her workplace and encouraging them to get back into learning. Working in partnership with Dearne Valley College, Cheryl has negotiated two levels of English classes for workers on site to make sure their needs are covered.
Firstly, Cheryl implemented full accredited functional skills English, so staff can gain a recognized qualification. Secondly, she set up a more informal ESOL class. It doesn’t lead to a qualification but meets the specific needs of the workforce by giving them the time and flexibility they need to explore the English language in a work or society context.
The company recognised the benefits of learning early on. There is now a more productive and innovative workforce with reduced staff turnover and absences, integration and increased staff morale. Not surprisingly we were able to convince them to provide paid time off to attend the courses and help to set up a Learning Centre at the site”.
Cheryl is always on hand to offer support, provide information, leaflets or only resources via the learning center’s computers, such as resources for Futurelearn or the British council, to ensure that Usdaw learning is at the heart of the benefits for being part of the union and working for Next.
Being a ULR has helped Cheryl to grow in confidence.”
She learned how to use the onsite learning committee and the national next learning agreement to get things up and running and now she has now become a shop steward and will be able to link learning into the wider union offer.”