RCN responds to longer working lives

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is responding to the expectation that nursing staff now face longer working lives. The RCN is developing a major initiative to build their members' confidence and provide them with additional support in the workplace.

The work is part of the RCN's ULF project and they are working with unionlearn in pilot sites across a diverse range of trusts, services and sectors. The initiative is designed to empower union learning representatives (ULRs) to be able to provide advice and support to improve workplace learning and skills.

In particular, the union has identified two key groups to work with:

  • those needing support with numeracy and financial literacy
  • those facing change at work and lacking confidence in/awareness of their transferable and portable skills.

The RCN is seeking to develop ULRs' capacity to support these groups chiefly through their engagement with unionlearn’s Supporting Mid-life Development and Climbing Frame resources. Overall, the aim is to give 200 ULRs the ability to use resources such as the Value My Skills cards, pre- and post-review questionnaires and the Climbing Frame’s themed resources, as well as its Learner Management area, which will enable ULRs to record and track individual learner progress.

Irene Murray, RCN ULF Learning and Development Facilitator, said

"The input of ULRs is vital to the success of this initiative. Our first capacity building event in Birmingham in April started the process off well, with us trialling the ‘Value My Skills’ cards among ourselves. But, what is exciting for us as a project and a union is that we have also had strong steward and health and safety rep engagement on this issue.

"They appreciate how this agenda can enable them to work with employers to ensure that members working longer can do so in ways which are safe and appropriate for the individual as well as productive for the organisation. What has also been great is that we will be able to link this work to other aims and objectives such as increasing and enhancing learning agreements and meeting the challenges of CPD and professional revalidation.

"We are also developing workshops on health and wellbeing to being delivered directly to members, as part of the same project."

A second Supporting Mid-life Development event is to be arranged for the 18 June at RCN HQ in London. A further roll-out of the activities and resources is expected from this event. The union is already tracking the progress of the ULRs who attended the April event, so that a quantitative and qualitative picture of the work and its impact can quickly begin to build.