Every year the Wales TUC hosts a conference bringing together hundreds of union learning reps (ULRs) with partner organisations, including employers, learning providers, government departments and other interested parties. The aim of the conference is to offer people involved in union-led learning the opportunity to hear about and discuss current issues and opportunities. The conference towards the end of 2019 marked the 20th birthday of WULF (the Welsh Union Learning Fund).
To mark the occasion, the Wales TUC held a birthday party with speeches from learners and Ken Skates, Economy and Transport Minister, and a video message from First Minster Mark Drakeford. The Wales TUC put together twenty stories of how WULF has changed the lives of twenty learners. The learning journey of Community ULR at Vision Products, Gareth Mithan, was on display.
Community’s Learning Organiser in Wales, Lisa Francis said:
“It was a proud moment to be able to showcase what unions have achieved for our members and to share Gareth’s story with everyone. With WULF funding, Community has helped thousands of members up-skill and re-skill in the workplace through union learning in Wales. We know the difference that union learning can make to people’s lives and careers and we look forward to continuing to support our members in the years to come.”
At the conference reps from various Tata branches in Wales were out in force, with nine reps from Community. The conference was chaired by Ruth Brady Wales TUC president and had various guest speakers such as Andrew Clark from the Welsh Government and David Hagendyk from the Learning and Work Institute. Areas of discussion were FairWork, Young Workers, Welsh Speaking Courses, Automation, the TUC’s WorkSmart App and the development of career support organisation Working Wales. There were fringes on Confidence and Skills in the Workplace and Collective Bargaining and the Union Learning Agenda. The conference was enjoyed by all and the reps in attendance said they are “looking forward to the next one”.