Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Highlands and Islands union learners take first steps on two-year study programme

Fifteen workers from Orkney to Argyll have begun a two year learning journey with an induction to begin the Certificate in Higher Education in Inverness this week. The course is the result of a partnership between Scottish Union Learning and The Open University in Scotland.
The pilot programme, which is supported by the European Social Fund, aims to give workers who have had no formal qualifications since school an opportunity to gain a higher education qualification to improve their career prospects. A key objective of the project is that the opportunity is available to workers, wherever they are located in the Highlands and Islands. Students on the Certificate of Higher Education Open course will complete four modules at SCQF Level 7, equivalent to an HNC, over two years.
This will be the first time that Scottish Union Learning has provided a course at this level and across such a wide geographical area. Participants on the course comprise six students from the Western Isles, two from Orkney, five from Inverness-shire and two from Argyll.
One of the new learners on the course, Susan Simpson, is a UNISON member from Inverness. After the second day of the course, Susan described her feelings: “I was so nervous about returning to study, but feel so much more confident.”
The course will be delivered using online technology supplemented by more traditional methods and resources to help the group support each other in their learning journey.
Sylvia O’Grady, Lifelong Learning Manager for Scottish Union Learning, said:
“Trade unions highlighted the need for a course like this in the Highlands and Islands, and have supported its development at every stage. This pilot embodies the role of unions in helping workers to improve their life chances through education.
“We are delighted to be working with The Open University to deliver the course as it has an unrivalled track record of providing accessible learning tailored to the needs of adult learners.”
Khadija Patel, Project Officer for The Open University, said:
“This pan-Highlands and Islands programme is a really exciting initiative for The Open University. We have over forty years experience of distance learning delivery which, combined with the OU’s innovative learning technology, enable us to provide extensive support for learners on the programme. We look forward to working with Scottish Union Learning on the delivery of the Certificate of Higher Education Open qualification.”

Friday, 11 May 2012

Learning Opportunities in Maths and English

Have you ever thought about moving forward with your career ?
Which qualifications do you think would help most ?

Qualifications in English and Maths are be the ideal starting point when thinking about career progression.
Whether you are working in retail operations, on deck or in the engine room these opportunities could be the chance for you to become involved in lifelong learning.
RMT Learning is offering all employees the chance to take up Maths and English to the level of SCQF level 4 (standard grade)       
Courses will be delivered by correspondence distance learning with full tutor support, this will give employees working shifts the opportunity to participate.

For more information please contact your ULR or
Dan Henderson, Project Worker, Tel No. 0781402247 or Email 

Friday, 9 March 2012

Dyslexia and Us

What do Ultimo lingerie brand Michelle Mone OBE, comedienne Elaine C. Smith, Olympic rower Sir Steve Redgrave, International rugby player Kenny Logan, ‘Just a Minute’ radio show host Nicholas Parsons, an 11 year old boy, a 78 year old retired construction worker, a job seeker, a parent, a prisoner and a vet have in common?
They are among the many people who have shared their personal stories about what dyslexia means to them. Not every contributor is dyslexic but they have all been sufficiently affected by dyslexia to write their story.
With a foreword by Formula 1 champion Sir Jackie Stewart OBE, this is a collection of over 100 moving, poignant, sad, shocking, funny, instructive and illuminating stories.
They describe the powerful impact of dyslexia on individuals, families, relationships, professionals and support staff. They give a fascinating insight into how dyslexic people are treated in a wide range of different day to day settings, including job centres, adult literacy classes, education and workplaces.
The book, published by Edinburgh City Libraries, is on sale at £7.99 Proceeds from the book will go to Dyslexia Scotland to help people with dyslexia.
The book can be ordered by following this link.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

First Learner of the Year Named for Scotland

Susan Manson, a cleaner at the Morrisons store in Airdrie, has been named as the 1st Learner of the Year by Scottish Union Learning, which is part of the Scottish TUC. The Learner of the Year Award was introduced by Scottish Union Learning in 2011 to recognise the range of learning journeys currently undertaken by lay learners in the workplace, supported by trade unions. Susan was nominated by her union, USDAW, because her story is a powerful example of how union learning is supporting those who never thought learning was for them.

At a recent union-supported “Check Out Learning” campaign day, Susan signed up for a Basic IT course. Susan said, “I always wanted to know more about computers, but I didn’t have the confidence to go to a college by myself. My USDAW Union Learning Reps organised this course in store, which was supported by the Learning Fund through Scottish Union Learning.”
Susan started the course but soon felt out of her depth. She also felt like she was struggling to keep up with the other learners, a feeling she remembered all too well from school. A ULR in the store spoke with Susan and helped her to gain the confidence to speak with the tutor regarding her dyslexia, something she had kept secret for many years.
Ann Seagriff, USDAW Union Learning Rep, said, “We were happy to support Susan to overcome her struggles to be successful in this course. It involved a lot of encouragement, and sometimes a wee bit of a push, and we’re so proud that she’s got there in the end.”
The course tutor helped Susan to access software which helped her overcome the problems dyslexia caused on the course. Susan later bought her own laptop, and the software which helped her so much during the course is now an integral part of her life.
Susan said, “For years, I had to rely on my husband or my son to read something for me. Now I just scan my mail into the computer and can deal with it myself. It’s so much nicer not to have to rely on anyone else – what I’ve learned with the support of my union has completely changed my life.”
She continued, “It was quite a shock to hear that I was going to be named as the Learner of the Year. I’m so pleased and just hope that other learners out there are encouraged to take a chance like I did – it’s worth it!”

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Continued Funding for Workplace Learning

The STUC welcomes an announcement from the Scottish Government that it has granted funding of £1.422m to the STUC for union-led learning initiatives until March 2013. The STUC will take forward this work through Scottish Union Learning.
This funding complements a two-year award of £895k from the European Social Fund until March 2013 for Lowlands and Uplands Scotland, and a three-year award of £415k until March 2014 for the Highlands and Islands.
Grahame Smith, STUC General Secretary, said,
“Through Scottish Union Learning, the STUC puts learners at the centre by delivering learning in the workplace, with highly successful results. The Scottish Government’s continued support for union-led learning demonstrates the value trade unions add to workplaces in Scotland.
“Unions are taking a proactive approach to help at-risk workers, particularly low-paid and non-traditional learners, to take action to protect themselves by increasing their skills.
“The STUC welcomes this funding and we look forward with immense confidence to the continued success of union learning in Scotland.”

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

World Book Night 2012

World Book Night is a celebration designed to spread a love of reading and books. Celebrated on April 23, 2012 it will see tens of thousands of people gift books within their communities to spread the joy and love of reading. In 2012 World Book Night will be celebrated in the UK, Ireland and USA.