And the winners of the Ken McKenzie award are...

Robert Smith and Paul Bosworth of Worcester & Hereford Branch have walked away with this year's Ken McKenzie award for Innovation & Achievement.

The prestigious accolade was awarded to them at the CWU's National Union Learning Reps (ULR) Networking Event, taking place in York this week. Implemented following a motion passed at the union's annual conference in 2010, the award recognises the exceptional achievements and contributions to lifelong learning by a CWU ULR or a group of CWU ULRs.

Ken McKenzie award winners
L-R: Beryl Shepherd, Paul Bosworth, Robert Smith and Trish Lavelle
Paul and Rob were chosen out of a long list of nominees in recognition of the support given to members facing redundancy and redeployment as a result of restructuring within Royal Mail. By adding extra layers of information, advice and guidance to enhance the support offered by Royal Mail, Paul and Rob set up an effective job shop within the workplace. Here they identified the skills and development needs of members and arranged courses for them to attend to make them feel more confident in facing the challenges of redundancy and redeployment.

Head of Education and Training, Trish Lavelle, praised Paul and Rob for their longstanding commitment to "providing learning opportunities for their members, their passionate and constructive approach to promoting learning and their willingness to share their ideas and help others, both locally and nationally."

Commenting on the difficulty in judging this year's entries Trish added: "This job gets harder every year, but that just goes to show how the quality and committment of our ULRs goes from strength to strength."

The full list of nominees was as follows,

  • Nick Bury (North West London)
  • David Dick (Scotland No 1)
  • Bev Greenwood (Leeds No 1)
  • Geoff Hodge (South West & Thames Valley)
  • Jacky Morrey (Mid Wales & The Marches)
  • Patrick O'Brien (South West Middx Amal)
  • Liz Phillips (Kent Invicta)
  • Brian Regan (Glasgow & District Amal)
  • Brian Sheldon (Scotland No 1)
  • Robert Smith / Paul Bosworth (Worcester & Hereford Amal)
  • Richard Wilkins (South Central Postal)

Ken McKenzie was a Lead ULR and a CWU stalwart for the Edinburgh, Dundee and Borders Branch and as one of the union's first ULRs helped establish the Regional Learning and Education Committee in Scotland. His innovative use of newsletters and the web was instrumental in creating a strong network of ULRs in Scotland, and not just in the CWU. Ken was also well regarded in the wider labour movement and the STUC for the work he did in developing networks of ULR's in the Tayside area. After a short battle with cancer, Ken passed away in 2009. He is sadly missed by his comrades in Scotland. This award is a fitting tribute to a good trade union activist who had a strong commitment to lifelong learning.

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