ULR Guide

The Roles of the ULR & the Lead ULR
A Union Learning Representative (ULR) is a CWU representative who helps our members get back into learning. They will be appointed or elected by their branch as covered by the branch rules.

Where a branch has more than one ULR then there shall be a Lead ULR (sometimes referred to as a Learning Officer, Learning Organiser or Learning Coordinator)
The duties for a ULR shall include
        

   

Promoting lifelong learning to CWU members and the wider community Researching the learning needs of their membership and their employers Developing a database of local learning opportunities which are available to their members and the wider community Signposting learning opportunities and Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) services to members Organising and attending a Learning Steering Committee comprising of representatives of the Branch, ULR(s), Employers, Learning Provider etc as decided by the committee Working with their Branch to deliver learning opportunities in keeping with the rules, aims and objectives of the CWU Developing learning centres or learning access points where sustainable Attending meetings or training to develop their own skills and others skills as ULRs Attending such courses, networking and dissemination events necessary to keep them informed of relevant developments in the field of lifelong learning and build contacts to enable them to provide wider learning opportunities for members and the wider community Representing the Branch on learning issues both on internal CWU committees and external committees/events as appropriate Supporting the work of their Regional Learning Committee, the CWU Education and Training Department and the CWU as a whole Negotiating with employers to provide lifelong learning opportunities and resources for their members and themselves in line with national CWU guidance Negotiating with education providers to provide lifelong learning opportunities and resources for their members in line with national CWU guidance

The duties of a Lead ULR will include all of the above as well as
   

Coordinating the work and training (in consultation with the Branch Secretary) of the Branches ULRs Organising and attending a Branch ULR committee (as per Branch rules) Representing ULRs to the Branch Committee Being Lead Negotiator on learning issues for the Branch with employers, learning providers and other appropriate bodies

As a Union Learning Rep you are a part of the democratic structure of the CWU. All members are allocated to a branch and can participate in making branch policy at branch meetings. The branch participates in a range of Regional Committees – the Regional Learning Committee is one such committee. Both branches and regions can submit motions to CWU Conference – if carried they become national policy. In between Annual Conferences the National Executive and National Officers are responsible for enacting policy. All CWU Reps are must carry out their role within CWU policy.

Support for ULRs starts with your own Branch and fellow ULRs within the Branch. If you have enough ULRs in your branch to have a branch ULR network and a lead ULR they will be able to assist in sharing information and developing a branch strategy for learning. The Branch Committee and Branch Officers will give you support over release, facilities etc as well as practical advise over dealing with specific issues. Regionally, you have the support of your Regional Learning Committee who will often have experienced similar issues in their work as ULRs. Your Regional Project Worker (RPW) can help with any lifelong learning issues as well as any employer learning issues which the Branch may need further help with. The CWU Education & Training Department can be contacted via the CWU Headquarters and will be able to help you if your RPW is unavailable. It also keeps stock of learning resources and organises the ULR Conference as well as publishing the quarterly learning magazine, Communiqué.

ULR Rights
Appointment of ULRs
For ULR rights to apply a copy of the standard ULR Appointment Pro Forma should be sent to management upon appointment / election of a ULR. It is essential that both the Branch and the ULR(s) concerned should keep a copy of the returned pro forma. A copy should also be sent to the CWU Education & Training Dept. Once the notification has been sent then the ULR is entitled to their rights however there is also a requirement under the law that the ULR should complete their initial training within 6 months from the notification. If the training is not undertaken then ULR rights would lapse unless the training has been delayed by the management, in which case a tribunal could be pursued. Again it is useful that both the Branch and the ULR keep a copy of the CWU ULR certificate awarded at the end of the ULR course.

ULRs & the Law
With effect of the 27th April 2003, under the terms of Section 43 of the Employment Act, employers must allow members of independent recognised trade unions who are Union Learning Representatives to take time off during working hours for the purpose of:
   

Analysing learning or training needs Providing information or advice about learning or training matters Arranging learning or training Promoting the value of learning or training

In relation to “qualifying members” (i.e. employees at the workplace where the CWU is recognised and who the CWU represents) learning reps must be allowed time off to:
 

Consult the employer about carrying on such activities for qualifying members Prepare for activities within these purposes

Undergo training relevant to their function as a learning rep, including training to become a learning rep

The ULR is entitled to be paid either as if they had worked for the relevant period, or according to comparative hourly earnings. There is no entitlement to pay for learning activities undertaken at a time when the employee would not ordinarily have been paid, but staff who work part-time will be entitled to pay if full time staff are. The amount of time off allowed is what is “reasonable in all the circumstances” taking into account the provisions of the ACAS Code of Practice (e.g. size of organisation, safety and security, need to maintain a public service, etc,). Employers should consider providing accommodation for members and learning reps to meet to discuss relevant training matters.

Applying for Release
Unless an agreement has been reached for full-time ULR release, then ad-hoc release should be applied for using the appropriate employer Paid Special Leave form. Always keep a copy of the application (annotated with the date that you submitted it) and any confirmation received. Your branch will have a local agreement about how much notice is needed to ensure that duties are covered so that employers should have no reason to refuse leave

What should ULR’s do if release is refused?
In general terms, refusal of release needs to be dealt with in a structured and organised fashion – i.e. account must be taken of the over-riding need for reasonable requests for release being made. For example, asking your manager for release the day before the release is required cannot be considered as reasonable, as this would not allow sufficient time for arrangements to be made in covering your duties, whereas providing your manager with four weeks notice of the need for release from duty is entirely reasonable, as it allows sufficient time for any reasonable manager to make such arrangements. If reasonable notice has been provided to management and the refusal of release is unreasonable then ULR’s should follow the steps set out below. Contact the Lead ULR / ULR Coordinator of your Branch - If your Branch has a Lead ULR / ULR Coordinator it is worth raising the refusal of release with them in the first instance, as this will provide with the support and advice of someone who is possibly more experienced than you in dealing with refusal of release. Contact the Branch Secretary - The Branch Secretary will be in the position to provide you with support, advice and guidance as to the route you need to follow in order to deal with the refusal of release under the relevant agreement / procedures that apply in dealing with your employer. Contact your Regional Project Worker - Your RPW will be able to provide you with support and advice and guidance in dealing with the refusal of release. Our RPWs have a great deal of experience in dealing with the employers where the CWU represent and may well be able to assist you in resolving the issue promptly. Always get the reason for refusal of release confirmed - The purpose of this is to provide evidence of the unreasonable nature of the refusal of release, as this will become an important factor if the refusal of release were to be escalated through the formal procedures. Ask the manager why you cannot be released and ask him / her to provide this in writing. This does not involve anything difficult, just a polite request to the manager concerned to provide you with a written response setting out the reasons why you cannot be released from duty. If your manager is not prepared to provide a written response setting out the reasons for the refusal of release, this can be remedied by simply writing to the manager setting out the reasons you have been given verbally for the

refusal – the manager is then left with two options: If he / she does not reply to this letter, he / she cannot claim to have disagreed with its contents later. If he / she does disagree and writes to say so, you have written evidence of the that can be used in the formal process if required Contact the Education & Training Dept - If you are unable to get advice from any of the other sources listed previously, contact the CWU Education and Training Dept, as they will be able to provide you with support, advice and guidance as to what you need to do.

ULR Training & Development
ULR training & development covers four main areas:
   

Your Your Your Your

development as ULRs development within the union development within learning personal development

There are basically three levels of courses, Basic ULR training, Specialist ULR training and Advanced ULR training. Click here to view a schematic of suggested ULR development paths.

Basic ULR Training
These courses are for new ULRs. They are:
 

ULR I – The initial ULR course (5 days) Skills for ULRs – A course for ULRs who are new to union activism (3 days)

Specialist ULR Training
These courses are designed for more experienced ULRs who would like to develop their skills of specialise in a particular area of Union Learning. They are:

   

Learning in the Community – Looking at widening the learning agenda (3 days) Barriers to Learning – How Equality and diversity issues can affect access to learning (5 days) Dyslexia – A course covering the subject of dyslexia (2 days) Disability Champions – this is a general course which will also be useful for ULRs

Advanced ULR Training
This course is for activists who have been ULRs for more than 12 months and are taking on a lead role in Union Learning.

ULR II – A course for more experienced ULRs, Lead ULRs or Learning Coordinators (5 days)

Most of the short courses will be run regionally and be organised in concert with the Regional Learning Committees, RPWs and Regional Secretaries. These courses will also help develop your awareness of the work the rest of the branch does and allow you to become as involved with your branch as you want.

Unionlearn Courses
Unionlearn offers a range of courses for ULRs which are generally run at locally. If you are interested in any of these courses then contact your RPW for more information.

Further Development as a ULR
There are a number of opportunities for ULRs to further develop their skills so they can improve the guidance and support that they can offer members. You may want to consider whether you want to move into taking further qualifications to allow you to provide Information, Advice and Guidance, ESOL, become a tutor or teaching assistant. Some of our ULRs are gaining qualifications through local colleges and IAG partnerships because these organisations recognise the work that ULRs do and the benefits they can provide. Of course ULRs should also be encouraged to consider their own personal development whilst they are doing the same for others. There are many courses that can help you develop as a ULR i.e. taking an ESOL course so you can then pass on that knowledge to others, taking an I.T. course so they can support the I.T. systems with the learning centre/project. If you are interested in any of the courses described above, it is worth talking to your Lead ULR or Regional Project Worker.

Information for booking courses
CWU courses are advertised on the main CWU website and on the CWU Education website. Application forms can be downloaded from the website or obtained from your branch. Please note though, ALL applications for courses have to be approved by the Branch Secretary. If you have any questions over courses you can contact Alvescot on 01993 843373

Release for ULR Training
Para 26 of the ACAS code states that ULRs should be given reasonable time off to develop their skills and competencies through training. If you have applied to attend a training course which is recognised by the CWU and have problems with release then contact your Branch and you RPW.

Learning & Organising
Successful unions have a well organised and active representative structure that leads to high levels of membership recruitment and retention and strong development and support of committed and well motivated activists. The CWU has recognised the real links between learning and organising and how it can bring on board new activists as ULRs and enhance recruitment campaigns by engaging potential new members in learning provided by a trade union.

10 Reasons for linking Learning into Organising
As a ULR there are many ways that you can get involved with organising a stronger union. Here are ten benefits that CWU Branches have discovered about being part of the learning agenda. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. It motivates and enables people who have never been active before to get involved in the CWU and participate in the Branch. It is a powerful recruitment tool which is highly effective in reaching our membership – low-paid, frontline staff who often lack confidence, skills and qualification and generally miss out on education and training at work. It Improves retention and support amongst existing members by enthusing and activating them and making them feel valued and involved. It changes the image of the union and promotes activism through transforming people’s ideas and expectations of unions from a “them and us” to a “I’m part of it and can do something about it” approach It is essential for equality and proportionality because it promotes and supports participation in the CWU and its structures amongst minority grouping within the union (women, ethnic minorities, disabled, LGBT, youth and retired members) as well as those who work part-time or shifts.


It strengthens our negotiating and bargaining agenda with employers and can improve leverage on other employment issues, whilst increasing employee awareness of rights at work. 7. It increases the CWU’s effectiveness and efficiency by growing the number of activists, building skills and branch capacity, strengthening the branch committee and spreading the load. 8. It contributes to campaigns and helps build support for initiatives on critical issues such as protecting jobs, equal pay and tackling racism, sexism and homophobia at work. 9. It harnesses and channels available external funding and resources for the people who most stand to benefit from Lifelong Leaning and getting involved in the CWU and who would otherwise miss out. 10. It boosts the confidence, skills and knowledge of our members so they are more willing and able to stand up for their rights at work. This is all in addition to providing the individual learner with education and training opportunities and transferable skills which can lead to a more fulfilling work experience, better pay, improved chances of job progression or employment opportunities, a widening or interests outside or work and further learning opportunities.

Organising for Learning – Get Involved Today!
You can contact the CWU's Organising Department at joinunion@cwu.org, or by calling the hotline number 0800 731 7434.

Learning Centres
What is a Learning Centre?
A Learning Centre is a place where learners can come at a time that suits them in order to learn, at their own pace, in a quiet, comfortable and supportive environment. Such an environment is of great importance, as it will facilitate a positive learning experience for the people using it. It can be a in a fixed location or it could be mobile, it may be in the workplace, union premises or within the local community. It is important to be flexible as each learning centre should be responsive to its learners and no one model will fit every need. A Learning Centre provides a chance for people to improve a range of skills or interests, such as basic maths and English. It can also be a place where they can gain computer and I.T. skills, learn a new language, develop leisure interests as well as providing an opportunity for people to achieve qualifications.

What are the benefits of a Learning Centre?
There are many benefits in having a Learning Centre – some of these are listed below:
    

It provides a calm and supportive environment dedicated to learning, where learners can study in peace, without distractions. It provides a secure place to keep valuable learning materials, such as CD ROMs, books, videos, equipment and educational software. It acts as a focal point where support can be provided by a ULR, trainer or administrator, and where learners need not feel isolated. Training outcomes and learner feedback can be more easily monitored. Computer hardware is more likely to be standard, with training software (‘courseware’) pre-loaded. Elsewhere in an organisation PCs may vary in specification and condition, and staff may not have the necessary skills to install ‘courseware’.

It should be noted that Learning Centres might not be the best option in organisations where learners are geographically widely spread or isolated, as it may not be practical to expect them to travel to a central Learning Centre. It may also be too expensive and unsustainable to install a Learning Centre in a number of remote sites. In these circumstances other solutions, such as loaning out technology based learning or using laptops to create a mobile learning experience may be an appropriate option.

Setting up a Learning Centre
It is necessary to carefully plan and co-ordinate how you go about setting up an effective Learning Centre. Whilst getting the Learning Centre up and running could theoretically be completed in a few weeks, in practice one should be more concerned with getting it right rather than achieving it in record time. Give yourself plenty of time and be realistic, bear in mind that on average it takes about a year to get a learning centre running and delivering courses. To assist in this, it is worth breaking the plan down into three phases:
  

Research Administration Marketing

Research tasks may include:

       

Visiting established Learning Centres to see how they operate Reading journals, papers or books on technology based training and open/distance learning Consulting with your RPW, Unionlearn, other organisations such as those listed on the links page and learning providers/suppliers of learning materials Attending conferences organised by CWU, Unionlearn and other appropriate organisations Establishing knowledge of the I.T. issues, such as the basic hardware specifications that are required Reviewing the full range of learning providers including e-learning and distance learning options. Completing a business case for setting up a Learning Centre – it may be useful to prepare an agreed ‘model learning agreement’ as part of the business case Carrying out an employee survey questionnaire to establish the training needs that the Learning Centre will need to meet – this can be conducted by ULRs (There are copies of draft surveys on the CWU Education website as well as a learning postcard which is available for HQ)

Administrative tasks may include:
          

Deciding how learners will book sessions in the Learning Centre and how these will be managed Training ULRs Comparing what different education providers can offer and negotiating with them to get the best deal Considering what data on the usage of the Learning Centre will need to be collected, and how this will be done Deciding how records will be kept and what information will be held Designing evaluation procedures to measure training outcomes Preparing a directory of the materials available for use Considering appropriate resources Evaluating and ordering materials and hardware, and arranging for their delivery and installation Ensuring that adequate technical support is available Deciding on the opening times of the Learning Centre, and whether materials are to be loaned for use outside of the Learning Centre Choosing appropriate accommodation and furnishings

Marketing tasks may include:
 

Designing and producing posters, leaflets and other publicity materials that explain what the Learning Centre is, what it is for and what it offers Holding pre-launch publicity events, such as ‘road-shows’ and open days, where potential learners can come and have a look. It may be useful to invite your RPW, Unionlearn and providers to assist ULRs at such events. Giving the Learning Centre a name, logo, etc – it is useful to have a distinct name and image for a Learning Centre (e.g. Open2All, First Class, and The Exchange) as this will assist in ‘word of mouth’ publicity. You can also hold a competition to come up with a name for the learning centre Organise a launch or a celebration of learning for the centre, you could have various bite size courses or a local celebrity along. We are always happy to arrange that a senior figure in the union is on hand to open the centre. Ensuring that the Learning Centre has visible senior level support from the partners involved in it – you may wish to consider a high profile launch

Setting up a learning Centre can appear to be a daunting challenge and can require a substantial commitment, both in terms of time and effort, if it is to be a success. However there are

resources and support available to help you, so do not despair, and do not be afraid to ask for help!

Making Learning Sustainable
Once the Learning Centre has been launched, ensuring that it remains successful is important. It is normal to have a ‘lively period’ following a high profile launch – you may find that this tails off after a while, so you will need to consider new marketing initiatives, and perhaps introduction of new materials. It is here that successful monitoring comes in useful, both your own and making use of the information which your provider(s) collect. Monitoring can be statistical or hands on.

Hands on
Hands on is most effective where you have a local ULR. Prior to the course it is always useful to meet with the tutor and build a rapport and ensure that the tutor feed any issues or absence back to the ULR as timely as possible so the ULR can take follow up action. It can involve being at the first class to make sure everyone has turned up and that they are settled in. It will then involve meeting with the tutor & provider about ½ way through the course to look at progressions for students at the end of the course. A couple of weeks prior to the end of the course going along to discuss follow-on options and probably on the last session to get feedback or survey the learners on how they found the course content, sessions, times, tutor, etc.

Statistical monitoring will look at numerical outcomes such as number of students who are, say:
     

Male/female Part/Full time Shift Pattern Work Area Type of course Equality Info

This is not an exhaustive list but just gives an insight. These figures can be usefully used against your ‘hands on’ information and information which you have gained by ‘mapping’ the workplace. For instance, by mapping your workplace you can identify the different learning needs of different groups of workers. It may reveal that your workplace has a 70/30% male to female ratio however the majority taking courses are female. Or there may be less participation in learning from the mainly male night shift who also have a higher proportion of workers with an ethnic minority background. You may notice that no-one from the cleaning staff that has enrolled for learning. This information gives you an indication of different marketing approaches which could be considered. Ensuring sustainability may also mean negotiating with your employer for wider access to your learning centre, such as Family and Friends and other union members. It is always beneficial to point out the positive public relations exercise that this can be for the business. Again you need to be aware of issues regarding guests on the employers premises so do consider the issues. If you consider having children in the learning centre then ensure that they are accompanied by a parent or someone who is officially ‘in loco parentis’ so you are covered legally. Again this is an area where learning and organising fit in naturally together as ‘mapping’ is a key part of both roles and will show where your members are and give you the opportunity to recruit learners and members at the same time.

Being sustainable also means that you can access enough funding to keep the centre running, maintaining the standard of IT equipment and general up-keep. It is possible that you can negotiate this with employers, providers or other bodies involved in lifelong learning. It may be that your branch wish to make a contribution to running the centre. But you can also draw down funding in the course of delivering learning opportunities to your members. It is possible to draw down funding through IAG or Learndirect provision - although this will be dependant on both the numbers of learners supported and the level of support offered. The CWU also currently has access to Sustainability Funding from the ULF (England). If you are interested in bidding for this funding you can access more details here and download an application form here.

Promoting Learning
Getting learners involved is the key part of a ULRs role. This will generally be achieved by organising an event, a campaign, a course or a combination of the three. The 7 Steps is tried and tested method of planning any of the above.

The 7 Steps
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Aims & Themes – What is your event about? Making the Case – Getting a Working Group Activities - So what are you going to do? Promotion – How are you going to tell people about it? Activities – So what are you going to do? Progress – Following Through! Evaluate – How did you do?

Step 1: Aims & Themes – What is your event about?
The first thing is to decide what you want to get out of the event i.e. raise awareness of a learning centre/opportunity, find out what people want to learn, introduce yourself/yourselves, recruit learners/members, etc. This will help you decide on the type of event that you want to hold and what the best theme may be. It may be that you want to get more than one outcome but don’t set yourself too high a target, it is better to achieve one aim than fail at several; you are the person you will most upset! Once you’ve decided on your aim or aims you can decide on a theme. A theme can be helpful as it will give you a hook with which to catch people’s interest. The theme need not be too specific or you can get yourself controlled by the theme and not your aim.

Step 2: Making the case – Getting a Working Group
Once you’ve decided on your aim and theme you will need to think who you want involved with the event. It could be management, a provider/providers, other organisations/unions, a guest speaker or a funding body etc. You will need to think how you are going to encourage them to participate. Making a ‘SMART’ case will help. SMART is a mnemonic for:
    

Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Time-bound

It helps you to set a plan down on paper and give others an idea or what you want to achieve. It also gives you timescales so you can judge and prove your success. If you have previous experience it is also useful to use this to back up your plan of action. Also never forget to consider what support is available to you to help make the case, although you may need to make a case to get their support too. This isn’t as intimidating as it sounds as it is something you do all the time in everyday life. It may be useful at this stage to set up a planning group. Remember the more involvement you have in the project the more the load can be spread and the more skills you can draw on but also the more you have to balance everyone’s views and aims.

Step 3: Activities – So what are you going to do?
Think about choosing activities which relate to your theme, it will help tie the event together and make your audience think you are more organised. Ensure that they are fun, engaging and accessible (not just physically but easy to take part in every way, i.e. website design may attract an audience but if they have no pc skills it will be difficult for them to take part in any activity)

It is very useful to conduct a skills audit of your membership/workforce. You may be surprised to find out what hidden talents there are out there. You could have musicians, people who are fluent in foreign languages, have building or DIY skills, know health and safety or first aid, have interesting hobbies etc. You may be able to draw on these skills to either work activities around or use for promoting your event.

Step 4: Promotion – How are you going to tell people about it?
Once you’ve decided on how the event is going to run you need to publicise it to your audience. One way of looking at this is the ‘AIDA’ process. AIDA stands for:





Basically it considers how you move someone from knowing that something is happening to taking part in it. For example: Someone may become aware of your event by seeing a poster you’ve put up but their interest may be raised by a personal invite. Linking a ‘celebrity’ to the event may increase their desire to attend then if they take action and come along to the event they might get a free gift or entry to a draw.

Step 5: Deliver – Your plan of action
Probably the most important step out of the seven. How the event runs will determine how people enjoy it and what your outcomes are and the potential success of future events.

Preparing for the event is important. You have your theme and activities now think about all the things that need to happen on the day. You will need to produce a ‘programme’, whether this is for your own information, your committee/helpers or the attendees. Often the last group are the least important when it comes to this action unless you have a lot of activities planned.
    

Things to think about when organising your programme may include: What time your event starts and finishes and if there are any breaks? What time your speakers/activity leaders are arriving? Who is responsible for what actions on the day and when? What time refreshments will be, when will they be delivered and where will they be stored?

   

Where will things be stored when not in use? Who will act as a ‘greeter’ for attendees etc? What equipment will you need and when will it arrive? Is the software compatible? What contingencies have you got for missing/late speakers/activity leaders or for over/under runs?

This list isn’t all inclusive and you can probably think of other things you might add in. The more you prepare for any eventuality then the less likely it is to happen and the more you can make it appear nothing has gone wrong if it does! At the start of the event make sure that all those involved in it are as happy and relaxed as possible. If they are then it is likely to be contagious to the attendees. Remember to create a buzz whether that is by colourful displays, music, humour, toys, food, speakers etc. Good word of mouth is the most useful tool you have!

Step 6: Progress – Following Through!
Progress can be considered in three ways: 1. 2. 3. Ensuring that you know progression routes from your activities at the event whether it is a course that you are running in-house or a course or information to which you can direct people. Following up on questions or issues which arise from the event, i.e. someone may have access or support issues for an external course or may have an interest in learning something you unrelated to the activities in the event. What is the next opportunity or learning campaign that you want to promote?

Step 7: Evaluate – How did you do?
Evaluation really considers what, where, when, why and how? The first questions you need to ask yourself are:
     

Why you are evaluating the event? For whom are you evaluating? What’s to be evaluated? How will you evaluate? What will you do with the data you produce? What is the timeframe for the evaluation?

Some of this will be easy to decide. If you have received funding for an event you may need to supply details of the numbers attending etc. Some of it will be for your own information either for planning a future event, scheduling courses or for evidence for your steering committee or for future funding. Statistical data will be helpful for funding and committees and for you for future events. On the day feedback forms may be useful to get attendees to complete but remember to keep then concise as you want people to go away with a good memory not have any success you’ve achieved be offset by a lot of paperwork. Immediately after the event note down your impressions while they are still fresh in your head and then put them away for at least a week. This will give you time to relax after the event so you can then review your notes with a fresh mind. Things which may have seemed great or disastrous on the day may seem different after the ‘rush’ has passed. Once you’ve reviewed your impression then meet up with the rest of your group to have an evaluation meeting and keep an open mind about what comes up in the meeting. Remember that your timeframe may not always just be about the event. You may have set a more long term goal i.e. to get 20 people to complete their SfL literacy or numeracy tests or started on NVQs. In this case you will need to set your timeframe accordingly.

Obviously funding is vital for maintaining the sustainability of your project. Providers draw down funding from the LSC for each student that they teach. The level of funding is decided by the LSC/DIUS each year. Providers tend to work to a set figure per student hour regardless of the course or its location. It is here that there is the possibility of negotiation over the cost of courses as well as being our best way to reduce costs for students. Funding is available to reduce course fees but it is generally directly applicable to an individual because of their previous education or the location in which they live or work. As discussed previously, it is possible to draw down funding as you deliver learning opportunities to your members, such as IAG and Learndirect. This is probably the best way to fund your project, however there might be other funding opportunities available. There might be a temptation to make a bid for any funding that is available - this is not always the best option. Any funding you draw down will have particular aims, objectives and targets which you will have to commit yourselves to if you accept the funding. If these objectives are not closely realted to what you want your project to deliver then accepting the funding might actually deflect you from what you really want to achieve. It is also important to remember that double funding (counting a set of outcomes more than once) is not permitted! For this reason ALL funding bids have to be signed off by CWU Headquarters. It is wise to keep an ear open for any funding which may come available within your area. Building up good relations with your local LSC and learning provider(s) may help in this area. Unionlearn may also be making more regional funding available for localised projects. European Social Funding maybe avialable for specific regions. This will generally be administered through the LSC or perhaps form part of larger projects - possibly administerd through Unionlearn. There are also several trusts which may provide educational funding. Remember – if you have information on a source of funding speak to your RPW or the Education and Training Dept so we can ensure that we are able to apply for the funding and to get help with preparing and passing the bid through headquarters. The CWU also currently has access to Sustainability Funding from the ULF (England). If you are interested in bidding for this funding you can access more details here and download an application form here.

Record Keeping
There are many reasons why keeping records is important, whether it is because you have funding targets to meet, time-off to justify, members to contact or just to help your own memory. There are two types of files which are particularly useful for ULRs, they are know by many names but for simplicity sake we shall refer to them as information and suspense files. Information Files are self explanatory. They are files in which you store information. What information you want to store is up to you but it is probably useful to keep a file for each leaner where you may want to keep their contact details, when you saw them, what action you need to take for the individual, a copy of the Individual Learning Plan, a record of courses that the person has taken, any learning issues the individual has etc. These need to be confidential and only available to ULRs and the education provider tasked with delivering the plan. It is also important to remember that these are liable to data protection laws and that the learner has the right to see what is written in their file. Another information file you may keep is on each course that you run. You may want to note dates and attendees. Anything which made the course particularly successful or caused a problem. It may seem strange and you will probably think that you will remember it but think

ahead. What happens if you can’t be there or you take on another union position, the notes you leave may help someone else fulfil your role. Both of the previous files should be confidential to ULRs but you may also want to build up information files which are open to all. These may include provider information, course information, IAG providers, funding bodies etc. The second type of file you may consider keeping is called a suspense file. This can be very useful in helping you to keep on top of things and planning you “time management” or release time. ‘Time management’ may sound like jargon but it can be very useful in justifying release time and in organising and prioritising work. Records can be kept as either computer based or paper based but they should be kept rigorously and updated frequently to avoid daunting backlogs of paperwork.

Community Learning
Community Learning is a term that is used to describe learning that is not confined to a workplace or learning provider’s premises. It considers how learning can move on from the traditional the union model, i.e. a fixed learning centre with a college as the learning provider.

This could simply mean making learning more mobile by using laptops, looking for providers who were more mobile themselves, linking up with community learning groups and groups from the voluntary sectors, other unions and businesses in the local area or even housing associations. We have already been involved in a number of community based projects such as South East Community Learning and Come With Us & Learn. Other methods could include contacting local sports centres and negotiating cheaper rates for group lessons, this could be rolled out for any other recreational learning where funding in now virtually non-existent, i.e. alternative medicine (reflexology, aromatherapy, stress relief, massage etc), gardening, car maintenance, plumbing, flower arranging, horse-riding, even languages, the list is endless. It also looked at developing the skills and interests of our own members to provide courses or tasters on a range of hobbies and skills. We do need to give consideration to who we are working with, that their aims match ours and that there is no conflict of interests or funding. We need to ensure that whatever projects we undertake are underpinned by equal opportunities for all. The main thing is that our members

needs should lead the learning agenda. There are other learning options out there if ULRs are creative.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful