The difference learning with UNISON can make
The following article by Louise Evans was originally posted on the Unionlearn website. We think it is an excellent example of the positive change the learning can make to people’s lives.
Louise Evans is an Organisational Development Officer with Hyndburn Borough Council in Lancashire, She is also a UNISON ULR and she talks about the way union learning changed her life.
I left school at the age of 14 with no qualifications as I never sat my GCSE – I was a very rebellious teenager!
I had my daughter at the age of 19, which was a turning point for me – but getting a decent paid job with no qualifications was near impossible.
I took an NVQ Level 2 admin course at college and went to work in GP surgeries, where my inquisitive nature kicked in and I moved between roles.
I started working for the council in July 2009 as an organisational development assistant and was fortunate to work with UNISON Union Learning Reps (ULR), who encouraged me to do my level two adult literacy and numeracy in 2010, which is when my thirst for learning began.
I went on to do a level three in learning and development in 2013 and was promoted to organisational development officer.
This is also when I became a ULR and completed stage one and two, putting me in a unique position, combined with my work role, to be able to help others start their learning journey.
I became lead ULR in January 2014 and began the digital champion project with the help of the branch, funding from the Union Learning Fund, which is still going strong.
2015 was certainly a big year for me, not only did I become branch education officer, I also graduated in October 2015 in Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development level 5 in applied human resources.
I never ever thought I’d get to graduate. I also did my level two English, maths and ICT functional skills – I like to know what’s entailed in the learning I’m promoting and it helps me to relate to the learners.
Doing a level five qualification while working full-time, with three young children wasn’t easy and I said ‘never again’. However by November 2015, I was already looking for my next learning mountain to conquer and I started an Institute of Leadership and Management leadership and management qualification.
My life has improved in so many different ways since my learning journey began and I owe some of that to the ULRs that invested their time at the very start. Sometimes, the first step is the hardest, but once you’ve made it, the climb gets a little easier with each step you take.