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Adult Learners Week

The week started with iPad Taster sessions at Premier Trade Frames on the 16th June.

 This was arranged as a fun way of getting the workers used to using the newly opened learning centre and as a stepping stone into Adult Learning.

 The sessions were held by the Workers Education Association (WEA) and was enjoyed by the learners who participated.

On the 17th June a multi-union (Community, UCATT, GMB, Unite and TUC) Open Day was held at Port Talbot Tata Steel.

 Providers such as Neath Port Talbot College, Neath Port Talbot Lifelong Learning Centre, WEA, Barry Training and ACT Enhance were present to inform workers of learning opportunities.

 There was a great turn out and many of the workers are taking the chance to have Welsh Union Learning Funding (WULF) sponsorship.

 Many workers also signed up to the Essential Skills in the Workplace Programme (ESiW).

On the 19th June an essential skill fun day was arranged with the provider ACT Enhance to be held at Port Talbot Tata Steel.

 Activities such as using piping and teamwork to get a ball into a target were used to express how essential skills are part of life.

 All attendees enjoyed the activity. Many leaflets were handed out in the canteen to increase awareness of the ESiW programme amongst the Tata employees.
In the evening an Adult Learner of the Year Award ceremony took place at the Margam Park Orangery. A specific award for all the learners who have been sponsored by the WULF project was presented by Lisa Davies (Communitas WULF Project Officer).

 The three finalist were Paul Evans, Rebecca Evans and David Owens. Rebecca Evans was selected as the winning candidate for the award and was presented with a glass plank showing her achievements. The runner ups were presented with certificates.

Union Learning Representatives; Martin Waters, Barrie Evans and John Mainwaring along with NEC member John Tetsil attended to show their continuing support for learning.
 In summary; the week was enjoyed by many, worker’s awareness of the WULF project and ESiW Programme was increased,
 Union’s worked in partnership, many workers have signed up for courses and previous learner’s achievements have been celebrated.

HoneyPot Cafe Partnership

The Honeypot café in Swinton has been running, with local authority support, for 10 yrs. The social enterprise which is currently managed by Ann Hobbs, serves affordable meals and offers a social setting for community activities.

In April 2014, Communitas, supported by The Union Learning Fund was able to enter into a partnership with the Honeypot Café, which enabled them to supply three computers and a support worker to offer “drop-in” sessions on any aspect of IT. There will be a particular focus on supporting older members of the community to overcome their barriers to technology and give them opportunities to develop skills which will have economic benefits. 

The “drop in” sessions are currently held on every Wednesday and Friday, between 10 am and 1 pm. They are open to everyone, from absolute beginners to more advanced users who wish to use the equipment or get advice from the support worker. 

Community Union NEC member and Swinton resident, Stuart Sansome has been instrumental in facilitating the partnership which has enabled Communitas to offer this service to local residents.

L-R Cllr John Doyle, Cllr Ken Wyatt, Stuart Sansome (NEC)
and Ann Cobb (Manager)
HoneyPot in useComuter in use
Information Day
 Due to the announcement of redundancies at the Orb Steelworks Newport, Communitas arranged an information day for workers to come along for advice and guidance.

The event was held onsite on the 25th April and had a range of providers and agencies there to support workers in all areas needed.
Information Day

Coleg Gwent
Coleg Gwent
Barry Training Services, Open University and Coleg Gwent attended to show workers the range of courses they currently have available, TUC promoted the Essential Skills in the Workplace Programme, Career Wales informed workers about applying for Re-Act II funding and Lisa Davies (Communitas Project Officer) promoted the Welsh Union Learning Fund.

Other agencies such as Prism Finance, Shelter, Job Centre Plus and UK Steel Enterprise also attended to help fully inform workers of the opportunities available to them.


Louise Wheten (Project Officer) from Acorn informed workers of the Communitas Transitional Support Programme; courses that are designed to help people through their redundancies.

Lead Organiser Rob Edwards, Regional Organiser Alan Davies
 and Branch Secretaries Bret Williams and Paul Horton (pictured right) of the Community Union were present to show full support by the union.

There was a brilliant turnout and workers were very appreciative and happy with all the information and support they received on the day to help them through the difficult time ahead.
Branch Secretaries
Vision Products Presentation

Vision Products is a supported employment business who provides the following services across South Wales.

•    PVCu Windows and Doors
•    Community Equipment Service
•    Vision Mobility Shops
•    Apprenticeship Scheme

 They have a strong Community union membership of the NLBD Talbot Green branch.

Communitas Project Officer Lisa Davies,   Sandra Davies,  Administrative Officer Training and Performance 
and Gareth Mithan, PVCu Inspector and  ULR for Community (pictured right),  have worked closely together to promote learning in the workplace to ensure the needs of the employees with disabilities are met.

Six iPads, a desktop PC and printer have been funded through the Welsh Union Learning Fund project, to empower employees to be more independent in learning and communication. iPads will enable a more flexible and accessible learning, training employees on the latest technology. The equipment will be used to set up two Learning Centres at the Newport and Talbot Green branches.
   Vision Products has shown commitment from the company by signing a Learning Agreement. This joint approach to promoting learning will continue and the employees will keep benefiting and developing by attending courses in the workplace. 25 learners have been through the Essential skills in the workplace programme, in which all enjoyed and there has been a confidence change in all that have participated. 
Llanwern Open Day
Communitas along with the Llanwern multi union recently held an open day to celebrate the launch of a Learning Centre at the
This has been funded through the Welsh Union Learning Fund.

The event took place on the 14th February from 1pm at the newly equipped centre onsite, alongside Communitas (Lisa Davies Project Officer); Community Union (Robert Edwards Campaign Manager and Megan Edwards Apprentice Administrator), Unite Training, Barry Training Services, Open University, Coleg Gwent and Computer Recyclers also attended.
All providers set up displays and welcomed all attendees.
There was a fantastic turnout with people showing a great interest in the courses on offer.   Courses will run onsite very shortly.

Communitas would like to thank everyone who attended and the union representatives whose hard work and devotion made the day such a success.
Barry Training Services
Community & Communitas staffProvider
Community and Communitas Coleg Gwent
Justice and Custodial Conference 2014
The Justice and Custodial Sector held its first conference/seminar for senior Prison Services Union reps on February 13th at
The Grange, Earls Barton. The 50 delegates were warmly welcomed to the conference by Community General Secretary Roy Rickhuss and Rob Johnson.

 Following introductions and a Q & A session, the seminar took the form of a number of plenary sessions along with small working groups convening to identify and discuss common issues. Communitas officers, Allan Sharp and Steve Ulyatt gave a well-received presentation to the plenary on the history and current work of Communitas, which resulted in invitations from PSU branches to attend meetings and give practical support to members.
Alec Leathwood NECdelegates at Conference
Alec Leathwood (NEC) Conference Delegates
Trade Frames Learning Centre opening
On the 17th January Premier Trade Frames declared their learning centre open for all employees. Communitas were able to fund the equipment through the Welsh Union Learning Fund and worked closely with HR and Union Representatives to organise the event.
The CEO of Masco UK Window Group Wayne Devine opened the day by sharing the history of the company with guests.

 Providers; WEA Cymru, Barry Training, Coleg Gwent, TUC and Acorn, were invited to speak to workers about what courses they currently have available.

Labour AM for Caerphilly Jeff Cuthbert showed his support by sharing a few words.  The day was a great success with many workers signing up for a range of courses, showing enthusiasm and excitement towards the centre.
Group with LisaBTS Ltd
 L- R  HR Paul Fisher, CEO Wayne Devine, Lisa Davies (Communitas), AM Jeff Cuthbert and then Branch Secretary Mike Lynch .
Sean and Leah from Barry Training Services
Labour Party Conference 2013
Communitas provided an Internet Cafe service on the Community Stand at the  2013 Labour Party Conference

The service was provided  free of charge throughout the duration of Conference and over 500 sessions were logged by delegates and visitors.
Internet Cafe 1Internet Cafe 2
    Tata Learning OpenDay 11th September 2013

Communitas held a Learning Open Day on the 11th September 2013 at the Tata Sports and Social Club.
Eight training providers attended; WEA, Neath Port Talbot Lifelong Learning Centre, Neath Port Talbot College, Acorn, ACT Enhance, TUC, T2 Training and Barry Training. They provided many prospectuses, leaflets and freebies.

Dr Hywel Francis MP showed support by representatives John Slater and Rachel Taylor attending the day on his behalf.

Ryan Green from Community Trust donated prizes for the cross-bar challenge, these being tickets for Cardiff vs Tottenham, new Cardiff City tracksuit top and a tour around the stadium.

Rob Edwards and Pat Clements from Community Union came down to run a stall and give their backing.

Communitas would like to thank those of you who attended the day and showed your support.
This was a great opportunity to meet the local providers and discover what courses are available and to promote the Welsh Union Learning Fund.
Communitas goes the extra mile(s) to support redundant workers!

’ Yorkshire and Humberside ULF project officers, Pauline Thrower and Steve Ulyatt  join the partnership of support organisations who are working tirelessly to support everyone affected by the redundancies at Axminster carpets in Devon.

Steve visited the site in March, immediately after the redundancy announcement, along with the Community regional campaign manager Lorraine Gaskell and  Liz Crockett from the NOT team to assist members with the completion of necessary redundancy paperwork and to help them to register with Jobcentreplus.

After contacting everyone who attended, Steve organised some well-attended employability skills workshops which were delivered by Pauline and extremely well received. Help with CV’s, job searching and 'introduction to computing' sessions were also made available throughout the day by utilising  the Communitas mobile learning centre.

Communitas have been warmly welcomed by the volunteer support groups who appreciate the part to be played by the Trade Union is essential in ensuring the many and varied issues brought about by redundancy are dealt with empathetically and professionally. To ensure that all members and prospective members receive quality support, further visits by Communitas are planned for the near future.

Following visits to the other supporting organisations, Steve has produced a list of planned activities which can be found………here

Community/Communitas in Scotland has been successful in securing further funding from the STUC Scottish Union Learning Development Fund for the next financial year (2013-2014). This new Project is called: ‘Engaging with Employers to Drive Skills’ and will focus heavily on Employer Engagement and Skills Utilisation.

The Scottish Union Learning Development Fund is a project funded by the Scottish Government and the European Social Fund with the main aim of promoting workplace lifelong learning to trade union members throughout Scotland.

Through the Learning Fund, Communitas can provide workplace learning/training for Community members in workplaces throughout Scotland. Some examples of the types of learning include:

•    ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages)
•    Information Technology (IT)
•    Sign Language
•    Literacy and/or Numeracy
•    Employability Skills (CV/Job Applications/Interview Skills)
•    Local History
•    Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQ)
•    Dyslexia Awareness Seminars

If you are interested in discussing your or your members learning opportunities, you can speak to your Union Learning Rep (ULR) or any other Workplace Reps – or you contact Communitas Region 1 directly on:
01698 304575 / 07718779476 or susancassidy@communitas.org.uk
Awards Ceremony at Courtaulds Manton Wood
Following the announcement in December 2011 that Community members at Courtaulds Manton Wood were to be made redundant, discussions took place between the Community Union branch and Courtaulds regarding support that would be available to the membership through Communitas the training arm of the union.

Initially Communitas arranged Information Advice and Guidance sessions for all staff to ascertain their individuals learning needs.  Courtaulds gave their full support regarding training opportunities being delivered onsite to Community membership.  

Learning Zone a local training provider was engaged by Communitas to initially deliver employability skills training; further courses followed in Skills for Life (literacy and Numeracy) and IT qualifications.

During the first few weeks uptake of the training was slow due to the site still being fully operational; however the momentum soon grew and cumulated in 95% of members engaging in some form of learning that will improve their employment opportunities.

On the 27th June 2012 an award ceremony was held to
 recognise the achievements of everyone that had taken part,
in total 126 certificates were presented to members
that had completed courses.

The certificates were presented by Courtaulds Director
 Richard Cowlishaw, also present was  Rachel Hanson and
Ginny Pope (Community Union), Colin Daws( Communitas)
along with Nigel Hennessy and Steve Spencer
from Learning Zone.