STUC Helen Dowie Award for Lifelong Learning

Helen Dowie Award 2020

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.

This Award was established in 2006 to commemorate Helen Dowie’s lifetime achievements in lifelong learning and to recognise other trade unionists’ commitment to union values and promoting the learning agenda in Scotland.

This year’s Award is again sponsored by The Open University in Scotland.

Working alongside the Union Learning Organiser, Shenaz facilitated an organisation-wide learning needs analysis, using the data from this to create a learning programme available to all employees of Glasgow Airport. Making a compelling case for the day-to-day organisational benefits of some of the courses, such as British Sign Language and Autism Awareness, Shenaz was able to secure paid release for attendees. The impact of these courses was demonstrated in subsequent interactions with airport users that benefited both employees and customers, giving them a more inclusive and accessible experience.

In bringing the trade union learning agenda into Glasgow Airport, Shenaz had to work around hurdles such as staff shift patterns; the impact of peak holiday times; public safety requirements and ongoing industrial disputes. In spite of this, her enthusiasm and commitment kept the learning programme going as she went above and beyond to meet the expectations of union members.