From education to employment

Pathfinder Projects and a new bus depot learning centre amongst the intiatives in the North West

Unionlearn is continuing to produce results in the North West after securing funding for “Pathfinder Projects” learning schemes being delivered in 19 workplaces across the region

The schemes are being financed by the North West Learning and Skills for All Fund. They will ensure that thousands of adults gain access to learning opportunities within their workplaces.

The projects include work on equal opportunities, driving up taxi drivers” skills, and opportunities for vulnerable employees. Employers who have got involved include Cheshire County Council, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, and HMP Haverigg, Cumbria among others.

With the help of unionlearn, North West unions applied to the Fund, and also received funding for staff, who will run the Pathfinder Projects. The 19 projects will run from this month until March 2008 and will benefit from over £152,700. The projects will be monitored by unionlearn over the next six months, with a view to receiving further funding when the North West Learning and Skills for All Fund is formally launched in April 2008.

Dave Eva, unionlearn’s Regional Manager, said: “The Fund represents an exciting new development, enabling unions in the region to develop projects that meet the specific needs of local organisations.

“We are confident that these innovative new projects will further demonstrate the key role unions can play in improving the skills and achievements of the region’s workforce.

Meanwhile, Stagecoach’s Manchester depot at Princess Road now has its own learning centre as a result of unionlearn teaming up with the company and staff union, Unite (TGWU section). The centre is equipped with laptops which will help ensure Stagecoach staff gain more workplace skills and qualifications.

Stagecoach sees what has been achieved at Princess Road as a role model for future learning centres at its other UK depots.

“The opening of this learning centre means that Stagecoach staff now have access to a much better and wider range of learning opportunities,” said Dave Eva. “We look forward to developing these opportunities by working with the union and Stagecoach.

“It is often hard for staff in the transport sector to gain access to learning because of shifts and other working arrangements. Having a learning centre in their workplace is the best way to ensure that the staff can take full advantage of the learning opportunities on offer.”

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