Thursday, October 19, 2006

Regional Education and Training Committee

As I sat down at the start of the this morning’s meeting of the UNISON Greater London Regional Education and Training Committee, Vice-Chair Phoebe Watkins said to me “you’re not going to blog about this are you?” Well, I wasn’t going to, but…

Since a small but growing number of UNISON activists in Greater London are reading this from time to time, I’ll tell you what happened at the meeting.

First, we agreed a budget for next year – and it emerged that we have yet to spend any of the £3,000 set aside this year for bursaries for UNISON members in the Region undergoing courses of study relevant to the union movement.

A circular has gone out to branches at some point – if you are a UNISON member in Greater London and want to find out more, ask your Branch Secretary, who can get more information from Regional Education Officers, Les Perkins and Martin Smith.

The Committee agreed to start charging branches for lunch on training courses where this is provided. The cost is only £7.50 per head a day and this is necessary in order to avoid overspending on the budget from HQ to run training courses.

We get a smaller budget per capita than other Regions because (obviously) we don’t generally need to provide for residential courses – since we all manage to travel from home to work in Greater London there is rarely good cause for a London Region activist to need accommodation in London to attend a meeting or training course (there are of course exceptions for branches which organise nationally before anyone points that out to me – and special circumstances may sometimes apply).

We therefore need to charge branches for lunch (but this does mean that they won’t need to pay subsistence expenses claims to their members attending courses!) If you want to download the current training course prospectus (which will take a little while as it is more than one megabyte) then click here.

The Committee also had a full and lengthy debate about the development of the Union Learning Agenda and agreed to put current workplace learning agreements on the Regional website and to ask Regional Service Group Committees to encourage branches to develop their work in this area.

There are considerable opportunities to recruit and organise our members through work on learning, but examples of good practice are fewer than we would like. Branches need to give some priority to coming to formal agreements with lead employers in order to drive this work forward.

The meeting also considered a verbal update on the contribution made by our education team to work being done to organise migrant workers. In particular we commended the excellent work being done around our unique provision of workplace courses on English for Speakers of Other Languages notably with members working in the privatised sector in the Westminster local government branch, where leading Regional Committee member Rahul Patel (co-Chair of the Regional Diversity Forum) is Branch Secretary.

Finally, as an item of any other business, Regional Education Officer, Les Perkins shared the welcome news that the Region is to develop a training course for reps dealing with capability cases. Given the recent worrying news from OFSTED this comes not a moment too soon!

Full marks to Committee Chair Christine Bailey who got us through the agenda it time for me to have lunch (and blog).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I knew you would!