About Communitas

We believe that access to learning is a fundamental human right. Education builds confidence and self-esteem, and gives people dignity. It is also key to succeeding in our changing world, where flexible skill development is becoming vital.

Education is at the heart of everything we do…

Community believe education is so important that they their own dedicated workplace training and development organisation Communitas. Communitas is a one-of-a-kind in the Union world, and an integral part of Community. Communitas services the lifelong learning and skills development needs of members. Since our formation in 1997, we have helped over 37,000 Community members and other learners, and secured over £15.2 million of Government and European funding, to give members, their families and their local communities with access to the best education, training and learning opportunities.

 

Contact us

Address:

Communitas, Phoenix House, Bramley, Rotherham, S66 1TS

Contact us:

Email - enquiries@communitas.org.uk            Phone -01709 547922

Communitas is registered in England and Wales. Company Number: 03964433

Our history

The history of Communitas

Until the mid-1990s, the interests of Community (then the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation) in relation to the learning agenda were largely confined to the provision of standard trade union education courses for full time and lay officials. Restructuring within the steel industry resulting in large numbers of redundancies and increasing employment insecurity for steelworkers however, led to a growing realisation within the union of the need for basic skills training and accredited courses that would enable members to develop transferable skills and thus their employability beyond the steel industry. Such concerns became all the more urgent with the ending of the European Coal and Steel Community ISERBS scheme which funded the re-training of steel workers, and in 1997 Communitas EU Ltd was established (as Steel Partnership Training) in order to address these issues.

Core Communitas activities have therefore related to the provision of redundancy support services and lifelong learning opportunities. Previous Communitas initiatives have received financial support from a wide range of sources including:

  • Union learning funds (English, Scottish and Welsh)
  • Department of Trade and Industry Partnership at Work Fund
  • Welsh Assembly
  • Single Regeneration Budget
  • Rapid Response Fund
  • Skills Development Fund
  • Regeneration Zone Fund
  • Regional Development Agencies
  • European Social Fund (ESF) Objectives 1 and 3.
Our relationship with Union Learning Reps

Our relationship with Union Learning Reps

We are proud to work alongside Community's Union Learning Reps (ULRs) to support members on their journey through education at all levels. Below you will find out a bit more about the ULR and how you could support your colleagues by becoming a ULR yourself.

What is a Union Learning Rep?

A union learning representative (ULR) is a member of an independent trade union, recognised by their employer, and elected by their union in the workplace.

What do ULRs do?

ULRs have been instrumental in championing the importance of training and development. ULRs work very hard to boost the image and strengthen the organisation of their union within the workplace. They can help widen union membership across the board and in underrepresented groups such as migrant workers.

The ULR role involves:

  • Promoting the value of learning
  • Supporting learners
  • Arranging learning/training
  • Supporting workplace learning centres to embed learning in the workplace

How do I become a ULR?

If you as a member of Community want to become a ULR, you should first discuss it with your Branch Secretary or  Regional Organiser. All ULRs are given training for their role through bespoke training courses.

Training ULRs

The effectiveness of ULRs depends very much on the training they receive from the TUC or their union. Under the Employment Act 2002, the ULR needs to be sufficiently trained to carry out his/her duties either at the time of their notice of appointment or in normal situations within six months of the appointment. In order to carry out their role, ULRs in recognised workplaces have a statutory right to paid time off to train.

What are the main functions of a ULR?

The statutory functions of a ULR are:

  • Analysing learning or training needs
  • Arranging and supporting learning and training
  • Consulting the employer about carrying out such activities
  • Preparing to carry out the above activities

What are the rights of a ULR?

The statutory rights for ULRs and union members are:

  • ULRs are entitled to reasonable paid time off for training and carrying out their duties as set out above
  • Union members are entitled to unpaid time off to consult their learning representative, as long as they belong to a bargaining unit for which the union is recognised
Case Studies

Metrolite an NLBD site

Information, advice and guidance (IAG) sessions have taken place at Metrolite, an NLBD site based  in Wigan, to identify individual learning needs and lead to a Communitas mobile learning centre being used to deliver both basic and intermediate computer skills, with Wigan and Leigh College being approached for training, such as; fork lift truck, PTLLS, NVQ teaching assistance, Level 3 customer service and food and hygiene training.

With the Metrolite site due to close on 16th September 2011, it is important that the workforce are given as much support and training as possible in order for them to have a good chance of finding alternative employment after the closure.

The training offered also covers 1-2-1 interviews with trained advisors and the workforce have now completed their basic ICT training and a few have already completed a fork lift truck course. The remaining training will commence once Wigan and Leigh College resume after the summer break.

Basic ICT training, including the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) will arm the workforce with skills that will enable them to apply for jobs online as well as making them more employable within the job market as a whole.

The employer allowed the workforce ample time off with pay to complete the training and were very supportive and Tom Miller, the GM has tried to accommodate any training requests asked for.

Tom Miller, Metrolite’s General Manager, said:

“I’m really impressed by the level of support the company has got from Communitas, Unionlearn and Wigan and Leigh College, with the training and development of its employees and would like to thank everyone who has been involved in these very trying times. The ICT training delivered by Communitas has been a real benefit to the workers who took part in the course and I hope this will eventually lead them to find new employment in the future.”

 

Darren Campbell

Darren Campbell has worked for Vaillant for 7 years and is an integral member of Ultracom 2 team in A flow department.

After learning about IT at school he has not undertaken any formative learning since this time, until he heard of an IT course which was running at Vaillant in partnership with the company, Community Union, Communitas and The Learning Zone. The course had been advertised and promoted by one of his work colleagues Carl Anthony who is the ULR for Community union.

Basic ICT training, including the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) will arm the workforce with skills that will enable them to apply for jobs online as well as making them more employable within the job market as a whole.

Since joining the course, which he is making towards ECDL, he has gained confidence in the use of IT and has directly gained skills which he has been able to put into use immediately.

"I found the course to be what I expected, I am learning skills which I can pass onto my children". Darren is able to learn at his own pace and can fit his learning around his work hours and the time he spends with his children.

For the last two months he has been learning about web page design and has put his newly gained skills into practice by creating a web page for his wife's business. He has been able to create a domain and link his web page to Google and Facebook, so that he can optimise search engines to grow his business.

Darren has been able to use his new skills at work to create more effective flow charts, diagrams and spreadsheets to enable him to analyse company data to better present work to colleagues.

Darren has stated "The new skills I have gained have the potential for substantial affect on my life for the better."

Carl Anthony (Community ULR) comments

"To be successful you need a good learning provider and a good working relationship with the company we are fortunate to have both of these. But it’s all about the people who are learning.,

Colleagues like Darren inspire me to want to do better and get me out of my bed in a morning and come to work."

Gary Andrews (HR Vaillant Boilers) comments

"With the increased use of computers and technology within our assembly plant the company has continually supported our ULR in encouraging shop floor staff like Darren to improve their IT skills. As a result individuals have not only learnt how to switch a computer on but are now able to surf the web and access the company intranet which then improves their awareness of the organization, our business and our markets. Darren has now taken these new found skills and not only applied them to his work but also his home life resulting in a more involved, engaged and skilled worker who will continue to add value to Vaillant for many years to come..".