UNISON wins WEA award for learning work

UNISON has been recognised by the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) as its National Strategic Partner of the year. The award marks “the degree to which a strategic partnership has enabled WEA to raise profile, influence the sector and raise educational aspirations”.

Roger McKenzie, UNISON assistant general secretary for organising and recruitment, said:

Our work with the WEA helps our members to transform their own lives and the lives of others through the power of learning. This award recognises that. It’s a huge honour for the union, and I’m so proud of the staff in Learning and Organising Services and across the regions who have made it possible.”

Founded in 1903, the WEA is a charity, and the UK’s largest voluntary sector provider of adult education. UNISON and the WEA have a longstanding partnership dedicated to bringing free learning opportunities to adults from groups who have traditionally been excluded from education or workplace training. WEA tutors deliver UNISON’s popular Return to Learn and Women’s Lives courses as well as a suite of confidence-building workshops including Power to be You and Get That Job.

Teresa Donegan, head of UNISON learning and organising services, said:

I was delighted to accept this award on behalf of all the staff and activists in UNISON who put in so much time and effort to enrich our members’ lives through promoting learning.”

The WEA also recognised UNISON member Sharon Proud as one of two joint winners of the Olive Cordell Skills for Life Student Award. This is presented to learners who have overcome substantial barriers, achieved beyond their own expectations and inspired fellow learners.

Sharon, who is a nursing assistant studying for a level two functional skills qualification with the WEA through the UNISON Bridges to Learning project, collapsed on an expedition in the Cheviots while preparing for a charity walk. She had to be resuscitated several times by mountain rescue. But as soon as she was well enough she returned to her maths course.

Sharon said:

It was a life changing moment and I wanted to live for each day after that.”