Fran Hunter, who works for HMRC and is a member of the First Division Association (FDA), has won the SERTUC Union Learning Representative of the year.
The FDA have only been working with unionlearn relatively recently and Fran Hunter was she amongst their first ULRs – despite being based on loan at the Falkland Islands when she took up the role!
Whilst in the Falklands, she undertook ULR training by 'e' and was expected to meet 'case study' criteria by engaging with other workers. As HMRC had only 6 staff on the island, she engaged the Falkland Islands General Workers Union and helped workers in other employers (including the local hospital) to identify developments needs and set up learning plans.
In so doing, she took the unionlearn brand to a variety of UK workers based on the islands. As well as sharing her skills with those in work, she put her ULR training to good use establishing out of school clubs for school students and local sea cadets. She also took a wider view encouraging conservation work linking that to TUC Green Skills work.
Upon her return to the UK, Fran Hunter was active as a ULR in HMRC, Kingsway London. She undertook further training provided by unionlearn on pensions, and delivered workshops in London and Peterborough. Over 200 learners accessed these lunchtime courses and 2 fellow ULRs took up pensions training and in due course offered similar sessions to learners.
She campaigned for a learning centre in her workplace and, in 2010, was responsible for opening the first FDA learning centre at HMRC Kingsway (open to all HMRC workers). Prior to this, the FDA saw its role as extending no further than encouraging managers to support the initiatives of other unions around learning centres. The FDA now has 2 learning centres with another 10 planned. The Kingsway Centre has been visited by FDA learning Reps in Crown Prosecution Service and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) who have now secured premises and time to train for centres to open in 2012.
As HMRC is moving its Kingsway premises to Bush House, Fran Hunter took the opportunity of the success of the Kingsway Centre to establish a new centre in the premises with better facilities. This is some achievement, as the aim of the move was to make estate savings. She has added a whole new aspect to the FDA offer on learning, which (given the FDA footprint) has a very positive impact for other unions whose managers are FDA members.