STUC Helen Dowie Award for Lifelong Learning
The STUC Helen Dowie Award for Lifelong Learning recognises outstanding trade unionists who continue to demonstrate their commitment to union values and lead the learning movement forward in Scotland.
The award is named in honour of Helen Dowie, who was involved in the trade union movement in Fife for most of her adult life. She worked in Rosyth Dockyard for twenty years and was active within the civil service unions. Through her union, Helen organised the yard, campaigned on initiatives and supported many workers. She took the union into the community through the organisation of the Rosyth Festival and music events, highlighting important union campaigns.
Along with her partner, Mike Morris, Helen started the Trades Council News in Fife. By writing, printing, editing and distributing the newssheet, Helen and Mike kept union members aware of the issues and also spread the word more widely throughout Fife. Helen and Mike made many solid friendships through their union involvement.
Helen worked to support the development of education and learning in Scotland. She was a key player in supporting the development of the lifelong learning agenda that union members know today, and she worked hard to secure financial backing to support unions in developing the role of the Union Learning Representative.
Helen’s life was devoted to supporting others through the trade union movement, and her untimely death was mourned by trade unionists throughout Scotland. This award commemorates Helen’s lifetime achievements in lifelong learning by recognising other trade unionists who work to champion union learning in Scotland.
Nominations are now open for the 2024 Helen Dowie Award for Lifelong Learning, due to be presented at STUC Congress 2024 in April in Dundee.
This year, the award is being sponsored by The Open University in Scotland.
All STUC affiliated trade union organisations are invited to make nominations. The Award is presented to a Scottish trade union rep and multiple applications from each STUC affiliated trade union organisation are welcome.
You can download the Nomination form, and Information and Guidance form from the 'Resources' section of this web page. The closing date for receipt of Nomination forms is Friday, 02 February 2024.
The Scottish Trades Union Congress and the Open University have recognised Mel Gorrie as a top Union Learning Rep as she received the 2022 Helen Dowie Award for Lifelong Learning.
Mel has played a key role in organising the delivery of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) learning programme. Mel has forged new links with sister unions, learning providers and skills bodies to develop an engaging and diverse programme of learning opportunities and events for CWU members.
Taking a leading role in her workplace, she has also campaigned against period poverty, ensuring accessible and universal access to sanitary products to women across her sector.
The recipient of the 2020 STUC Helen Dowie Award for Lifelong Learning is Shenaz Boyce, Unite the Union, who works in security at Glasgow Airport.
Shenaz is both a workplace rep and a union learning rep and has been instrumental in launching the workplace learning initiative within Glasgow Airport. She was also involved in the establishment of a learning agreement between the employer and union.
The recipient of the 14th Annual STUC Helen Dowie Award for Lifelong Learning was Chris McGill, a BFAWU Union Learning Rep at Warburtons in Bellshill.Sponsored by The Open University in Scotland, and administered by Scottish Union Learning, the award was presented by the Rt Hon Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland and Leader of the Scottish National Party, at the STUC Congress in Dundee on Wednesday, 17 April 2019.
The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) has announced that the recipient of the 13th Annual STUC Helen Dowie Award for Lifelong Learning is Lisa McGuinness, a FDA Union Learning Rep at HMRC.
The Open University - Union Learning The OU in Scotland and the Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC) signed an updated Memorandum of Understanding on 19 April 2021, setting out a range of collaborative activity which will open up training opportunities for the 540,000 Scottish workers who are trade unionists, the members of 39 affiliated trade unions and 20 Trades Union Councils.