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  Learning and Organising


Highlands and Islands Stars of Union Learning step into the spotlight

Hihgland and Island Awards

Julie Beattie, Roxana Meechan and Tracey Campbell with Marta Chaba – Migrant Worker project worker Highlands and Islands

Seven adult learners were recently recognised as true ambassadors for life-long learning, as the recipients of the Highlands & Islands Union Learning Awards were unveiled at a red-carpet event at Inverness College UHI.

Three of the awards went to UNISON Union Learning Reps.

The awards ceremony was organised by Scottish Union Learning in the Highlands and Islands to celebrate 10 years of union-led learning in the region and showcase the achievements of learners and Union Learning Reps.

Grahame Smith, STUC General Secretary, said: “In the last decade, Scottish Union Learning in partnership with trade unions and Highlands & Islands Union Learning Reps, have helped thousands of workers across the region access learning opportunities.

“In the last four years, the Highlands & Islands Learning Fund, has supported over 140 courses benefiting over 1200 learners.

Tracey Campbell a member of UNISON Highland Branch received recognition for her determination to learn.

Tracey’s passion for learning first came to light when she signed up for a PC Passport IT course in rural Brora, organised by UNISON Union Learning Rep (ULR) Roxana Meechan.  Tracey, who had not been a union member till then, joined UNISON and signed up for more courses, including the next part of PC Passport. 

Recognising Tracey’s enthusiasm for learning, Roxana persuaded Tracey to become an ULR – a role she has undertaken with great success.

Julie Beattie is an auxialliary nurse in Caithness general hospital.Julie won an award for her work as a ULR.Despite the challenges of organising learning for shift workers, Julie began by stepping in at short notice  to organise a Digital Photography course in Wickin the far north of Scotland.  This was followed by accredited IT courses.

Julie said, ““Although I didn’t sit exams at school, I enjoy learning and became a ULR to let others know what the union offers for its members.”

 “You feel you have made a difference when you see others gain confidence, people who hadn’t the opportunities or didn’t know where to go to start learning.”

As a Sutherland-based youth development officer, Roxanna Meechan supports young people on a daily basis to learn new skills.In 2009, an article in a UNISON publication about the role of the Union Learning Rep caught Roxanna’s attention and she saw an opportunity to work with adults as well as young people. Roxanna literally set out her stall on Learning@work day.Her first course - Computer Arts, took place in Golspie soon after. This unusual course typifies Roxanna’s approach to learning - practical but with a strong creative element and she is a worthy recipient of an award for her work as a ULR in a challenging rural area. 

Roxanna said, “I am passionate about learning, and it’s contagious, it’s what I’m good at. People believe that I am someone who will make it happen. Time is the resource I need more of!” 

Tracey, Julie and Roxana are all determined that UNISON members in the remote areas of the Highlands should have equal opportunities to learning and in promoting this they are always ready with an application form to join the union!

Updated 30 April 2013