The Wales TUC recognises WEA Cymru’s Trade Union Education Programme with the Quality Award | Adult Learning Wales

The Wales TUC recognises WEA Cymru’s Trade Union Education Programme with the Quality Award


The Wales TUC is pleased to recognise WEA Cymru’s Trade Union Education Programme with the Quality Award.

The WEA has a long history of working with unions, and has been delivering adult community and workplace learning in Wales since 1907.  For many years, it has worked with the Wales TUC to deliver the TUC Education reps’ training programme.  

The WEA also delivers many bespoke training programmes for individual unions such as UNISON, Unite, GMB and PCS. I’m sure that as ULRs, many of you in this room will have done your ULR training with the WEA. Behind me you can see some pictures of the team and some images from the classroom.

As well as training ULRs, the WEA provides a broad range of  flexible and bespoke training courses for workplace reps, branch officials, health and safety reps, equality reps and others. These courses equip reps with the vital skills, knowledge and confidence they need to carry out their role effectively.

WEA Cymru works closely with the Wales TUC and unions. During the assessment process it was clear that the programme is of key value to unions because it is characterised by the following :

•    Course materials that are developed and adapted to keep up to date with legal changes, emerging workplace issues and to meet different unions’ needs. For example the Dyslexia Awareness course that WEA developed in response to requests from ULRs.

•    All learners, are supported to achieve accreditation and are encouraged to progress from initial stage 1 courses through to Diploma level and beyond.

•    WEA tutors and staff have relevant trade union experience and attend regular training sessions to keep up to date.

•    Courses are offered at a variety of venues and locations and at different days and times to make them accessible to reps with different work patterns .

•    Learner information and feedback is regularly captured, shared with the Wales TUC and relevant unions and acted upon to improve provision.

In early 2014, the two WEA organisations in Wales, WEA South Wales and Coleg Harlech WEA North merged to become a single organisation, WEA Cymru. Since the merger, WEA Cymru has continued to offer the same high quality programme of training for union reps across north Wales, central South Wales and the Valleys.  

At the same time, the WEA also stepped in to maintain provision in south west Wales following the sudden closure of the Trade Union Studies Centre at Bridgend College in late 2013. It has now established a new dedicated trade union studies centre in Maesteg.

It is a testament to the hard work of Katrina Taylor and Nick Taylor as the course coordinators, as well as their teams, that despite the changes over the last year,  the unions who work with the WEA have described the transition as “seamless”. During the assessment process, many unions and learners have told us how impressed they have been with the flexibility, dedication, and expertise of the staff and tutors at WEA Cymru.

Glyn Conolly, Education Officer for Unite in Wales says:

“They are able to accommodate virtually everything we ask of them…Nothing has been too much trouble and they are very approachable… They clearly understand how trade unions work. The emphasis is on supporting the learners.”

Gareth John, UNISON Education Officer for Wales says:

“They are very flexible and deliver a wide range and mix of courses for us…The tutors are very popular with UNISON reps.”

One rep who recently attended a ULR Stage 2 course run by the WEA, says:

“The tutors were supportive and encouraging. When I asked specifically for time to be spent on how to sit down and engage a learner on a one-to-one basis this was incorporated into the day and was beneficial… A number on the course are now doing the Certificate in Employment Law and I am taking up PTTLS.”

It is fantastic to hear this learner’s story, which demonstrates how the WEA encourages reps to broaden their skills and progress.

The assessment also identified areas of notable good practice, including successful completion rates above national comparators and excellent support systems for learners with essential skills needs.

This Award demonstrates the WEA Cymru’s continuing commitment to reps’ training.

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