STUC Helen Dowie Award for Lifelong Learning

Helen Dowie Award 2016

Julie Atkinson (centre) with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Wendy Burton, Director of Scottish Union Learning

The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) has announced that the recipient of the 11th Annual STUC Helen Dowie Award for Lifelong Learning is Julie Atkinson, an Aegis Union Learning Rep (ULR) at Aegon UK in Edinburgh.

Sponsored by Skills Development Scotland, and administered by Scottish Union Learning, the award will be presented today (11.00am on Tuesday, 19 April, Caird Hall, Dundee) by the Rt Hon Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland and Leader of the Scottish National Party.

Julie Atkinson became a ULR to support her fellow workers to gain access to learning and development opportunities within the workplace. The union, in partnership with the employer, has now established a learning programme in which Julie plays a crucial role. With access to the funding provided by Scottish Union Learning, Julie has organised a wide range of courses which have been delivered in the workplace, ranging from basic Excel courses to PRINCE2 Project Management courses.

Julie was heavily involved with the introduction of the Modern Apprenticeship programme into Aegon UK, which was driven by Aegis. Following a pilot project, where Aegon agreed to take on a small number of Modern Apprentices, the programme has developed to a point where over 30 Modern Apprentices have been trained and this number will increase over coming years. Julie also suggested, and helped to develop, the mentoring programme within Aegon UK.

Grahame Smith, STUC General Secretary, said:

“Julie’s achievements in promoting trade union learning in her workplace, and in successfully driving forward the proposal to introduce Modern Apprenticeships within Aegon, are to be admired. Her commitment and enthusiasm have contributed to the successful learning partnership between Aegis the union and Aegon and this has led to a wider change in culture within the company.

Julie Atkinson, Recipient of the 2016 STUC Helen Dowie Award for Lifelong Learning, said:

“I am delighted to be this year’s recipient of the Helen Dowie Award and would like to thank the STUC for recognising the work that I, and other Union Learning Reps, do in workplaces across Scotland. I am grateful for the support I have received from my union in my role as a ULR, and for the commitment to union learning offered by Aegon.”

Brian Linn, General Secretary, Aegis the Union said:

“Julie’s calmness, commitment and ability to make others feel at ease has made a great contribution to the Aegis learning programme. Her outstanding work in her role as a ULR is widely recognised by her colleagues as providing benefits both to individual members of Aegis, and to the employer Aegon UK.”