♡ UNISON: it’s helping me to help others

Helping members increase their skills and learning, and plot their careers, is one reason that Jane Collier ♡s UNISON

Jane Collier, occupational therapist and branch education officer at London’s Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital


I’m filling a gap in learning provision by successfully running a series of UNISON’s Your skills, your future workshops for members at the south London NHS Foundation Trust.

Your skills, your future is the one-day workshop developed by UNISON learning to help members identify all the skills they already have, put them to good use and develop any new skills that would help them move on in their professional or personal lives.

The feedback from the 30 members at the hospital who took part in the one-day workshops in April and September 2015 has been overwhelmingly positive, with several members testifying that they felt more confident as a result.

From the feedback we received, I think the this is clearly something that people found really useful, and it’s something we could probably run and run and run, because staff turnover means there will always be someone who will benefit.

As the branch is keen to work with management at the trust, I was glad to have a member of the trust’s education, training and development team attend the autumn 2015 session.

This was somebody who could go back to our education and training department and feed back to them about the course, and it’s no bad thing for them to be aware of what we are doing in a union capacity.

My thinking is that if we can be seen to be putting on courses for staff, that may then guide people as to what a union learning rep can do because they can see that this is what is happening.

I’m hoping to run a further Your skills, your future workshop if demand and funding allow, as well as maths and IT courses later in the year.

Doing the Your skills, your future workshop gets people starting to think about what else they need, and often that is IT, because it’s such a basic requirement these days.

Being able to help people in this way is just one reason that I love my union.