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Lifelong Learning

Ian Allen from Highland Local Government outlines his experience of Union learning and going on to be a Union Learning Rep - see full size on YouTube

Lifelong learning in the Highlands showcased as good practice at national learning event

Thanks to UNISON I am "Old enough to have learned a bit but young enough to learn some more" Janette McQuiston, ULR

UNISON is pleased to have secured a fieldworker for our Learning Agenda who covers the Highlands and Islands of Scotland - equivalent to the size of Belgium!

Working with the TUC our aims are;

  • Members who live in remote and rural areas should have the same opportunity to learn as members in cities and urban areas.
  • Embed a culture of learning in branches and establish a self sustaining learning network

The most effective means of promoting learning is for those who are making the learning journey to share their experiences with fellow members. We are able to feature the experiences of two Union Learning Representatives at this event, Janette McQuiston from NHS Highland and Ian Allen from Highland Local Government who features on a DVD.

Janette McQuiston – NHS Highland Branch – a living example of learning!

My name is Janette McQuiston. I am the branch Education Officer and also a Union Learning Rep. – I am no-one special just someone who believes that learning is something that everyone is entitled to. It doesn’t matter who you are – the Chief Executive of NHS Highland or a porter or laundry worker, an auxiliary or a charge nurse we are all entitled to learn.

I was an average pupil at school got some "O" levels – yes that’s how long ago I was at school. I am "Old enough to have learned a bit but young enough to learn some more", but thanks to UNISON I have gained so much experience and learned so much.

This is all our Branch Secretary’s fault. A good few years ago Adam wrote out to all UNISON members asking if anyone was interested in becoming a Rep. At that time although I didn’t want a change of job I was looking for another interest. I had been an auxiliary since I was 16 and felt I needed something more – so I wrote back and said I was interested and things just took off. I got training – thoroughly enjoyed it and started asking for more.

This training has led me on to other things – I was involved in securing the NHS Highland Partnership Learning Agreement and was interviewed by STV on that occasion. I have done radio interviews and was invited to address the launch of the TUC Scottish Union Learning Academy.

So by becoming a rep all things are possible. At the recent UNISON’s Women’s’ conference in Southport Dave Prentiss UNISON General Secretary made mention in his address of the importance of learning now more than ever in the current economic climate where people need to get as many skills as possible.

As individuals we are all unique but everyone one of us has it in us to help others – even if it is just to point someone in the right direction so they can access training and what better way to help than become a ULR.



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