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Retail Union Leading the Way to Boost the Skills of the Workforce

A new programme has been announced by the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (Usdaw) in Largs, Scotland, where a Morrison’s store is latest beneficiary of their continuing drive to improve the skills level of their members.

Usdaw runs a large number of lifelong learning schemes up and down the country which is taken up by more than 10,000 of the 340,000 Usdaw members nationwide. Frank Alexander, one of the instigators behind the scheme, completed a training course as a Union Learning Rep and has been active in promoting the learning roadshow that will take place at the Irvine Road store on Friday the 5th of August.

Making Learning Fun

There will be a wide range of courses on offer which Mr. Alexander is sure will release the “massive potential” of the workforce. He pointed out that this would enable all members of the team to benefit, saying: “This is also about making sure every member of the team here gets the chance to improve their skills, from writing and numeracy to even learning a bit of Spanish for the holidays.”

Mr. Alexander, Usdaw Mobile Learning Rep Lorraine Barr and Morrison’s HR manager Angela Sloan stressed the importance of seizing this opportunity to make learning more accessible, flexible and fun. Mr. Alexander pointed out that “Many of the people here left school at 16 and haven”t stepped back into a classroom since then so we want to make learning fun and also develop self-confidence.”

Flexibility The Key, Says Usdaw

Flexible course provision is being seen as the key to meeting the demands of the workforce, said Lorraine Barr. “We”ve worked closely with the teams from the learning providers who have all proved very adept at providing a range of courses for all interests,” says Lorraine Barr. “They are brilliant at providing courses with flexible hours that really suit the shift patterns of busy shopworkers so we think we”ll get a really good take up from the staff”.

Lorraine Barr has been delighted with the benefits that have been seen in the past few months, and praised Morrisons for their involvement. “It’s been a real pleasure working with the team at Morrisons, watching their confidence grow over the last few months as they have been busy around the store making sure all their colleagues can access courses and help them find out more about how to apply for Individual Learning Accounts worth up to £200,” she said.

Jethro Marsh

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