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Career development opportunities for union members

The Open University in Scotland has continued to work closely with trade unions to ensure their members can access skills and training during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly those at risk of redundancy.

Here Michael Conroy, a Learning Organiser for Unite the Union, discusses how the OU helps to support union members to reskill and upskill to develop their careers and find new employment opportunities.

Fair Work in Practice - Unite the Union Case Study: Effective Voice

Scottish Union Learning has been working closely with unions across Scottish Apprenticeships to develop apprenticeship standards and frameworks, to progress apprenticeship opportunities with employers and to support Apprentices in their workplaces.

This is the fifth in a series of five apprenticeship case studies from a range of unions working in different sectors. Each case study will focus on a specific Fair Work dimension in practice, although the Fair Work dimensions do not stand in isolation from each other.

Effective Voice

"Effective voice requires leadership and support from employers, workers and unions. Voice is effective where workers have scope to say what they feel, are listened to and where their voice can make a difference. Workers in unionised firms were more likely to point to these characteristics of voice in their workplaces. This is consistent with wider research evidence that suggests that effective voice is most likely where unions are present, and where management and union representatives have the orientation, capability and capacity to communicate, influence and negotiate." Fair Work Framework 2016

Unite the Union: A Construction Sector Case Study

by Tam Kirby, Unite the Union

Effective Voice is a key element of Fair Work. It is essential that young people are able to use their voice without fear of retribution. Trade unions are the most effective organisations to ensure both individual and collective voices are heard.

Apprentices in the main are encountering the workplace for the first time, they can feel isolated and somewhat overwhelmed by the experience and are less likely to raise issues with their employer or immediate supervisors. Unite the Union within the construction sector has identified this as a major concern and has actively sought out and engaged with construction apprentices.

Trade unions support upskilling and reskilling

A project led by The Open University in Scotland to break down barriers to participation in education has been crucial in helping trade union members to continue accessing learning opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here Tommy Breslin, our Senior Development Officer talks about the impact of the project.

Fair Work in Practice - Unite the Union Case Study: Fulfilment

Scottish Union Learning has been working closely with unions across Scottish Apprenticeships to develop apprenticeship standards and frameworks, to progress apprenticeship opportunities with employers and to support Apprentices in their workplaces.

This is the fourth in a series of five apprenticeship case studies from a range of unions working in different sectors. Each case study will focus on a specific Fair Work dimension in practice, although the Fair Work dimensions do not stand in isolation from each other.

Fulfilment

"It is widely accepted that fulfilment is a key factor in both individual and organisational wellbeing. This includes the opportunity to use one's skills, to be able to influence work, to have some control and to have access to training and development." Fair Work Framework 2016

Unite the Union: A Construction Sector Case Study

by Michael Conroy, Unite the Union

Unite the Union directly engage with the apprenticeship sections of employer federations including the Scottish Building Apprenticeship Training Council (SBATC); the Scottish Painting and Decorating Apprenticeship Council (SPADAC); the Scottish Electrical Charity Training Trust (SECTT); sector skills councils (CITB) and construction sector focused colleges such as City of Glasgow College and West College Scotland to ensure young people entering the Construction Sector have a genuine opportunity to undertake a fulfilling trade apprenticeship.

Fair Work in Practice - NUJ Case Study: Opportunity

Scottish Union Learning has been working closely with unions across Scottish Apprenticeships to develop apprenticeship standards and frameworks, to progress apprenticeship opportunities with employers and to support Apprentices in their workplaces.

This is the third in a series of five apprenticeship case studies from a range of unions working in different sectors. Each case study will focus on a specific Fair Work dimension in practice, although the Fair Work dimensions do not stand in isolation from each other.

Opportunity

"Fair opportunity allows people to access and progress in work and employment and is a crucial dimension of Fair Work." Fair Work Framework 2016

NUJ: A Media Industry Case Study

by Joan Macdonald, NUJ

The American founding Father, Thomas Jefferson, wryly observed that the harder he worked, the luckier he got.

Similarly, when it comes to opportunity, the more privileged a person, the more opportunities they are likely to hear about and take advantage of. At the heart of apprenticeship programmes, then, there need to be strategies to promote equal information regarding opportunities and equal access to those opportunities.

The NUJ have been involved in Modern Apprenticeships since 2014, when we were invited on to a working group with Skills Development Scotland, Creative Skillset and industry employers to shape the Modern Apprenticeship in Creative Media.

We believe the apprenticeship route helps to break down barriers and provides an opportunity to address the problem of inequality of access to the industry and under-representation of minority groups in the media.

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