10 July 2017

Our Neil scoops top Unionlearn award

Neil Crothall, lead ULR from Great Western Branch has been awarded the prestigious Unionlearn ULR Award for 2017.

Receiving the award from TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady during last week’s Unionlearn Conference at Congress House in central London, Neil has been instrumental in the transformation of the CWU’s learning centre in the Bristol area of the Great Western Branch.

Upon being appointed as Lead ULR for Bristol 18 months ago, Neil immediately set about revamping the Joy De Freitas learning room, first moving it within the Bristol branch office and then introducing new technology so that all students were using up to date software and wireless technology.

He then contacted local BT managers and introduced them to the learning opportunities provided by CWU Left Click - the result being that they are now actively encouraging team members to utilise the CWU learning centre in order to enhance their knowledge and skills in computer programmes they use in their day to day job role (including Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint).

Neil has also dramatically raised the profile of the CWU by working in conjunction with local businesses to introducing new non-vocational courses ranging from orienteering, clay pigeon shooting and cookery schools that combine learning with pleasure, providing great opportunities for socialising that have become increasingly rare in the changing world of work.


He’s also been proactive throughout the South West Region, working in partnership with BT on the unemployed youth project where he has been participating as the main tutor to equip and teach unemployed young people with the skills necessary to obtain and progress within the job market. Neil has also encouraged other ULR's to get involved in this worthwhile project which, apart from providing desperately needed support for unemployed youngers, has introduced them to the benefits of being a trade union member.

Congratulating Neil on the well-deserved recognition he has now received, Great Western branch secretary Amanda Collick paid tribute to his exceptional commitment to the cause of learning. “Before becoming a CWU ULR and whilst working as an Openreach engineer, Neil set up First Aid courses for all of his work colleagues in Weston Super Mare in the evenings while simultaneously undertaking an Open University degree course in English Literature, she stressed.  "This did not pose any sort of an issue for Neil as his passion for education and learning for everyone saw him achieve a BA Hons Degree in English Literature last year."

Amanda concludes: “It’s been my extreme honour and privilege to be working these past 18 months with Neil. His passion and work commitment to his CWU ULR role is second to none and I’ve seen him not only promote the CWU learning experience within the workplace, but providing a truly magical transformation for education and learning within the city of Bristol.”

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