Union Learning Rep Thaws Frozen Foods Employer in Uddingston through Learning

April 16th 2014

The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) has announced that the recipient of the 9th Annual STUC Helen Dowie Award for Lifelong Learning is Willie Brennan, a BFAWU Union Learning Representative at Dawnfresh Seafoods in Uddingston.

Sponsored by the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework Partnership (SCQF), the award will be presented today (10.00am on Wednesday, 16 April, Perth Royal Concert Hall) by Johann Lamont MSP.

In what is a very harsh environment for all Dawnfresh employees, with some working in freezing conditions, jobs were generally perceived by locals to be a dead end, consisting of low skilled work in a seafood factory. Willie’s work in lifelong learning has turned this negative perception on its head, and has allowed many of his colleagues to undertake positive learning steps to enhance their long-term employability.

Grahame Smith, STUC General Secretary, said:

“The work of Willie Brennan as a Union Learning Rep, in upskilling members to provide a better opportunity of career and financial progression in Dawnfresh Seafoods, is particularly impressive. In addition, he has organised new members to join the Branch through learning, resulting in almost 90% union density within the company.

“Across Scotland, Union Learning Reps are working in all sectors of our economy to help colleagues raise their skill levels by securing agreement with employers for better access to learning and training. Willie Brennan is a worthy example of this exceptional work and the STUC is proud to present him with this award.”

Johann Lamont MSP said:

“I wish to congratulate Willie Brennan on the outstanding work he undertakes in promoting lifelong learning within Dawnfresh Seafoods. Willie’s inspirational efforts as a BFAWU Union Learning Rep demonstrate how trade unions can help change people’s lives. His story also demonstrates how trade unions can work with employers in a constructive and cooperative way to support the growth of skilled jobs within successful companies.

“We recognise the sterling work the trade union movement undertakes within the workplace and society, and the priority it gives to learning and skills. Willie is an example of this and represents all that is finest in trade unionism. I’m delighted to present Willie with this award.”

Willie Brennan, Recipient of the 2014 STUC Helen Dowie Award for Lifelong Learning, said:

“It’s quite humbling to receive this award to receive recognition from the STUC as a ULR and on behalf of my fellow union members. Helen Dowie laid the groundwork in union learning because she cared, and her work paved the way for me to become a ULR years later. My biggest achievement was getting my employer to buy into union-led learning.”

ENDS .

For further information please contact:

Jennifer Payne, Marketing Officer Scottish Union Learning Tel: 0141 337 8130 Mob: 07702836478

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