Unionlearn and Unite get a bang out of STEM

Unionlearn and Unite were busy last week showing pupils and teachers why apprenticeship are union business, and how unions support skills, at two Big Bang Fairs across the country.


Team members joined forces with Unite Community branches at the South West and South East Big Bang Fairs at the University of West England in Bristol and the South of England Showground near Haywoods Heath.

Unionlearn took the opportunity to highlight how unions are supporting high quality apprenticeships and showcased the “Apprentices – Know Your Rights” and “SkillCheck” website whilst Unite staff talked to teachers about the free Unite in Schools programme.

Over 9,000 students and teachers attended the Big Bang Fair South East, which is the largest regional event of the nationwide Big Bang Programme. Universities and providers were joined by employers from the engineering and science sectors.

Joe Dukes is with Unite Community & Schools in the South East Region. Joe said:

Big Bang’ in the South East was, once again, a tremendous success and a great way for Unite to meaningfully engage with young people and talk about trade unions and our collective values.”

It was impressive to see so many students with the confidence to stand in-front of their peers, perhaps with a little persuasion by the promise of an ‘extra special Unite goody-bag’, to publicly answer ‘What is a trade union?’ in return for their prize. Campaigning days like these are an absolute privilege and pleasure.”

Over in Bristol at the South West event pupils took time from looking at from employers including Rolls Royce, AirBus and the Royal Navy to visit the unionlearn stall and try out the “Know Your Rights” eNote, whilst teachers stocked up on materials covering a range of workplace issues around skills.

The South West Big Bang also held the finals of the South West Young Scientist and Young Engineer of the Year competitions, which culminated in a glittering awards ceremony.

Unionlearn Project Communications Officer, Keith Hatch, said:

This was the first time that unionlearn has had a presence at the South West Big Bang, it was a fantastic, and very busy, day. Our online resources around apprenticeships proved very popular and Unite were kept busy talking to teachers interested in the Unite in Schools programme.”

Anyone who missed the events can check out the unionlearn “Know Your Rights” eNote on the website here.