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Declan Mann – learning at the heart of the union

7th March 2018

In National Apprenticeships Week, we are pleased to highlight the story of one of Community’s new apprentices, Declan Mann, our new Apprentice Organiser for the Scotland and Northern Ireland region.

Declan was a Community member who worked in the Whistl Depot in Tannochside, Lanarkshire as a Production Operator and was the on-site Community Union Learning Rep (ULR) from May 2016 until January 2018.

Declan said: “I was first approached regarding the ULR role whilst I was providing IT assistance to other staff members who have difficulty using the Whistl online training resource (My Academy). After chatting with the Branch Secretary and Communitas (the Training and Education arm of Community), it seemed that the ULR role would be a good fit for my skills and was an excellent opportunity for me to become involved with my trade union.”



During his time as a ULR, with the support of his employer through the Whistl and Community Joint Learning Committee and with funding provided through the Scottish Union Learning Development Fund Project, Declan organised a number of on-site courses and workshops – this included Mental Health Awareness, Hidden Disabilities, Respecting Diversity in the Workplace, Digital Coding, Cyber Security and Deaf Awareness. Declan agrees that the joint union and employer approach to learning has helped it be so successful

“It was really important that the learning did not cause significant disruption to production as this would jeopardise any future learning. Through negotiation and with the support of my Branch Secretary and Communitas, we were able to arrange that every member of staff who took part in the learning was given paid time-off from work. These negotiations with my employer really helped me to develop myself as a Union Rep and gave me the confidence to apply for the Apprentice Organiser post”.

Over the next two years Declan, alongside the other Apprentice Organisers from across the UK, will complete the new Level 3 Business Administration qualification, Level 2 Functional Skills in Maths and English and the Level 2 Certificate in Organising provided through Community and the TUC.

He will be working alongside the Regional Team in the new Glasgow Office and is looking forward to learning more about trade unionism.

“I am really excited about my new job – my work as a ULR has opened up the world of trade unions to me and I can’t wait to find out more. The Apprentice Organiser role is such a good opportunity for me to learn valuable work skills in both the area of organising but also in administration, customer service, public speaking and IT. The next two years are going to be a challenge for me but I am relishing taking the challenge on,” said Declan.