STUC Helen Dowie Award for Lifelong Learning
Helen Dowie Award 2015
Unite the Union ULR and Convenor
The recipient of the 2015 STUC Helen Dowie Award for Lifelong Learning was Billy McKay, a Union Learning Representative and Convenor for Unite the Union at BAE Systems. Sponsored by SQA and Skills Development Scotland, the award was presented at the STUC Annual Congress by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP.
Billy has delivered learning opportunities for members in BAE’s Govan and Scotstoun yards, as well as Rosyth, Barrow-in-Furness and Portsmouth. He has integrated learning into collective bargaining within BAE Systems, and has successfully negotiated a 50-50 split in paid time off for member-driven learning opportunities. Led by Billy, Confederation of Shipbuilding and Engineering Union (CSEU) ULRs have brought learning into the workplace, facilitating a return to learning for hundreds of non-traditional learners.
Grahame Smith, STUC General Secretary, said: “Over his last seven years as a ULR, Billy McKay has provided unparalleled support in learning to hundreds of shipyard workers across the country. In addition, he has placed learning at the heart of the collective bargaining agenda within BAE Systems and has successfully negotiated a 50-50 split in paid time off for learning, which is unprecedented in this hard-hit industry. Across Scotland, ULRs are working to help workers raise their skill levels by securing agreement with employers for better access to learning and training. Billy McKay is an inspirational example of this exceptional work and the STUC is proud to present him with the 10th annual Helen Dowie Award for Lifelong Learning.”