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April 2016

RMT LO Ivor Riddell, visited Chris Brown and John Richards yesterday at the IECC next to York Station. Where he bumped into the Tutor Wendy Hall from TPS Training, who was working with several Signallers on their Learn IT Workplace Diploma. John and Chris are both ULRs and have already been responsible for the delivery of dozens of Workplace Diplomas (adult apprenticeships) in their area. To the point where Wendy presented John Richards with the Network Rail ULR of the Year Award 2015 for outstanding contribution to adult learning in the workplace.

John said "He was very pleased and proud to be recognised for his work, but also recognised that what he had achieved was only possible through the comradeship, support and hard work of his fellow ULR Chris Brown. We both work together for the common good and are both justifiably proud that when we look around our workplace, people say hi and we think 'that person has now got a good quality qualification, because we made it happen'."

RMT Learning York April 16_2

Wendy Hall a self-confessed 'Chuffa Nut' said "it really was a pleasure to work from the IECC and also to be able to visit lots of different locations around the network, supporting the learners and helping them to achieve high standards and qualifications. That start a new interest in learning for themselves and not just for their job. Besides how many people get to eat their lunch in the National Railway Museum next to the Flying Scotsman every week?"

John and Chris are looking forward to working with other ULRs around the wider area in spreading the Learn IT diploma and other learning opportunities to even more members!

RMT Learning York April 16


Learning at Sea

When learning is all at sea - BBC News

If you were to think about bringing distance learning to a place with only patchy internet and where people were away from home for two weeks at a time, you might not immediately think of a cross-channel ferry. But an education project is trying to improve the skills and qualifications of seafarers, in a way that is compatible with this floating workplace.


Introducing the new RMT Learning ULR Toolkit.

RMT Learning Toolkit

ULR Toolkit

This new innovation in rep support, provides a one stop shop for online resources that can support the Union Learning Rep and  help them to be more effective.

From and electronic version of the new ULR Handbook to posters, letter headed paper, links to providers and logos.
The toolkit is a live online document and will be regularly updated with new resources and ideas. So keep checking in for the latest in RMT Learning resources.

“RMT ULRs doing it cleverly”


3 RMTL ULR VP John Collins 08 10 2015

John Collins has been a ULR since 2000. He speaks about his role and experience.

Lead ULR for Southeastern, John Collins talks about his years as a ULR and the RMT as a whole.


RMTL NDD 19 11

Speeches to the RMT National ULR Development Day at Doncaster Trades Club on 19th November 2015 Andy Gilchrist, National Education Officer Steve Hedley, Senior Assistant General Secretary Mick Cash, General Secretary

RMT National ULR Development Day. Addressed by the National Education Officer, Andy Gilchrist, Senior Assistant General Secretary, Steve Hedley and the National General Secretary, Mick Cash. All talk about the role of the ULR and their value to the wider organisation and empowerment of members through learning and education. Placing the union footprint in the workplace.

RMT Learning DD4

A great day at the Trades and Labour Club in Doncaster for nearly 50 RMT Union Learning Reps. Who came together for their traditional one day event. Where they can share ideas and sucesses, learn from others experience, catch up with ULRs they have met or worked with in the past and build their network of contacts.

This year the Learning Organisers from the RMT Learning Team built the day around feedback given by the ULRs themselves. Designing much of the content and subject matter around their needs and aspirations.

The RMT takes ULRs and their work very seriously and this was demonstrated by the fact that as well as the National Education Officer Andy Gilchrist opening the day. There were also keynote speeches from the General Secretary Mick Cash and Senior Assistant General Secretary Steve Hedley.

RMT Learning DD1RMT Learning DD3RMT Learning DD2

All three speakers emphasised the value of the Union Learning Rep to the core work of the union and how they can be key in spreading the message to our members of the need to strive even harder and more effectively in the battle to resist the coming attacks. Enshrined in the new Anti-Trade Union Laws.

GS Mick Cash said "make no mistake this is the biggest challenge to the trade union movement in the last 30 years. We must all stand together and ULRs are uniquely placed to spread this message, whilst still carrying out their role of empowering workers and their families through learning and education"

The Reps were also witness to the launch of the new ULR Handbook which is a one stop shop for guidance and contacts for their role. Giving information from paid time off to links for learning providers and campaigns.

This year; also invited were many Branch Secretaries who joined i the day and the workshops. Helping Reps to get a perspective and understanding of how the branch can support them and what they can do to organise within the branch.

The RMT Learning Team Emily King, Donna Murray, Karen Skelly, Petrit Mihaj, Paul Shaw and Ivor Riddell, would like to thank all those ULRs who came along and all the ULRs around the UK for their work and support in keeping the learning agenda at the prominent in the RMT portfolio of issues.


Wow it’s Word of the Week. Keep your notice board updated each week with a new WoW every Monday.
You can find a pdf printable version by clicking on the link here.

Word of the Week 301115


RMT Learning is out on the high seas this week as LO Paul Shaw  visits Dover. Connecting with Learners from the port, DFDS and P&O Ferries.

He has invited some providers to join him to. From East Kent College and the Marine Society & Sea Cadets.

A great deal of interest has been shown in opportunities being organised at Dover Maritime House such as BSL and IT courses. Also they have been promoting Maths at Sea and online portal for improving maths standards and the Slater Foundation who provide financial support to seafarers who want to study courses of a maritime nature.

RMT LO Karen Skelly was also on board for Tuesday and Wednesday to speak to members about becoming Union Learning Reps on their ships. She met up with ULRs Mark Stannard and Alicja Szostak to catch up with their work and offer support and advice.

LO Petrit Mihaj was in town on the Wednesday to visit the Dover Office and speak to learners and ULRs about the potential for Learning Agreements and how they can support and sustain ULR activity within a workplace.

He also picked up on a potential issue that many of the members on board come across. In that although they get down time on board (week on week off rota system) They find very hard to study on line as the crew wi-fi is to put it mildly very weak and you struggle to even use it for browsing.

So maybe with the ULRs there is potential for a campaign to get the companies upgrading their wi-fi of they are serious about their staff learning and improving their skills?

All in all a good week for the maritime sector in learning.


Picture: (Karen Skelly showing ULR Alicja Szostak the new e-pinkie function on her smart phone)


Meet the ULR No.1 Nora Graham

Nora is the Lead ULR at London Midland. Based at Birmingham New Street / Birmingham Rail Branch.

Meet the ULR No.2 Pip Smale

Pip is the Lead ULR for Stagecoach South West based at Barnstaple / Barnstaple Bus Branch


South West and West of England Regional ULR Forum went well yesterday (07/10/2015). More really great discussion and idea sharing from the ULRs.

RMT SW Reg Forum
These Forums are really starting to take off and should provide regular communication between ULRs across regions and provide a support network of Rep for Reps on regular basis.

Thanks to the staff at Regional Office in Bristol for facilitating the day and arranging the Tea, Coffee and Lunch for us.

RMT ULRs at Dover Learning Centre have a just got a beginners French Course underway. It is shift friendly for both watches at P&O and DFDS. Whilst it is open to anyone who wants to join them. The course is free to seafarers the National RMT Learning Seafarers Bursary scheme. funded by seafarers UK.

RMTL Dover French Course


Great day in Birmingham last Thursday (01/09/2015) at the joint York & Lincs/Midland Region ULR Forum.

Covered some important topics including apprenticeships and how we can get more involved.

Also got the chance to check out the new look Learning Centre at New Street Station which is all bells and whistles.

So just need the ULRs to make good use of it now? Over to you.

RMT Birmingham Reg Forum_2

Thanks to the Midlands Regional Office for their hospitality and to the ULRs for making the LOs welcome.

Also got to attend the Birmingham Rail Branch meeting in the evening which was very inspiring with some great work being done by activists there. Not just from the rail sector but our comrades in the Taxi trade too.

Finally a massive thumbs up to the branch for making a financial contribution to the Learning Centre activities. Following a request from Lead ULR Nora Graham.


John Collins

John Collins has been appointed Lead ULR for Southeastern Railways.

Congratulations to John, works at Slade Green Engineering depot. We look forward to working with you in this role and supporting the learning agenda on Southeastern.

John said "one of my first priorities is to recruit at least 4 new ULRs. In particular 1 in the Ramsgate area as there will be some really great learning opportunities there in the near future. With the potential opening of a new Learning Centre and lots of community learning opportunities opening up."

Johns role will involve coordinating the RMT ULRs on SER, liaising with Lead ULRs from ASLEF and TSSA and with the RMT Learning Project.
Stimulating interest of branches and regional council in the learning agenda. Representing RMT learning reps at the Lifelong Learning Steering Committee meetings with the company and working with Unionlearn in the South East to maximise networking and the sharing of learning opportunities across the region. As well as his normal role of ULR at his workplace.

No pressure then?


Click here for the latest copy of Word of the Week. Keep your notice board fresh every week and keep people looking at it!

Word of the week_2

By popular demand. The Word of the Week is back. with a new look layout.

For those who haven't seen it before. WoW is a weekly flyer you can download and print off to refresh your noticeboard every week and stimulate conversation around the learning agenda.

Let me know what you think and if you want to be included in the weekly mail out then email me at


RMT Learning at Exeter with First Group Learning Bus

RMT Learning Exeter Bus

Learners were looking into courses at Exeter St David in Devon on Wednesday 23rd September as the First Group Learning Bus stopped at the station for staff from all over to find out information and sign up to courses. Courses range from English, Maths and IT to Higher Education (degree level).

Working alongside ASLEF ULRs. We were visited by branch officials, rank and file members, members of other unions and even non-members who all came away a little wiser and some were keen to take their interest further across a variety of subjects.

The event was also supported by Jessups Photography, who provided two members of their team to talk about photography and provide information on their community learning project which provides local tutorials on photography and using a Camera.

RMT ULRs Pippa Smale and Nicki Sysum both supported the event, talking to learners and explaining how lifelong learning can change a person’s life and the support, being part of a trade Union can play in that change.

RMT Learning Organiser Karen Skelly said "the event was a real success and the working relationship built up between the RMT and ASLEF ULRs as well as with First Group was great. It was brilliant to have the Learning Bus here for the day. It acted as a real focal point for the workers at Exeter St David and around, to come along and start a learning journey that could last for the rest of their lives"

An excellent days work for all involved. We look forward to the fruits in learning outcomes and uptake in the future.



Issue two of the E-NEWS for ULRs and those interested in the lifelong learning agenda at the RMT.

If you have something to say or want to advertise something in the E-NEWS, such as an event or forthcoming campaign. Contact Ivor at


At last it has arrived. The E-Pinkie!

ULR Pinkie

For some time now ULRs have been asking if they can submit their pink slips electronically. Rather than as a paper record.

Well now you can submit them live online with an E-Pinkie.

All  you need is a Smart Phone, Tablet or Computer with internet access.

Then all you have to do is Click On This Link and it will open up a fresh online form for you to complete and then submit. The RMT Learning database for IAG collection will then update in Live Time.

There may be a few hiccups in the first couple of weeks as with all technology but please let us know and we will try to fix it asap.

There is also a short video you can view which will show you how to set up a one touch link on your smart device to the E-Pinkie.

It does of course require that you have a smart phone, Tablet or computer with access to the internet.

We will still continue to use and accept the paper based Pink Slips as before, for those who prefer this method or have problems with internet access. These can also be scanned and submitted electronically if you wish.

So go on have a go and let us know what you think.

We will also be developing further resources electronically, if you would like them. Such as an online Learning Needs Analysis. So watch this space!


RMT ULR course

15 Long serving ULRs are attending an Advanced ULR course this week (20 July 2015) at Doncaster Education Centre as part of their ongoing development. They will be looking at more strategic working, links and working with the key areas of the RMT such as Branches, Regions, Advisory Committees and Grades Conferences as well as the Organising Unit and C of E.

As part of the course they will also look at a key area of strategy within the learning agenda. Functional Skills is a key area for ULRs and underpins all the other work they do and they will look at it with a strategic viewpoint to see if they can provide fresh ideas and innovative thinking around promoting and delivering it for our members. This area is key to the further education reps at all levels in an ever more complex working environment.

Tutor, Margaret Stephenson, from Newcastle TUC Education, said "it's the first time I have worked for the RMT as a Tutor, but I have natural affinity with the union as my Dad was a worker in the P’ Way and my first contact with the Trade Union Movement was when he took me at the age of 6 to a Branch meeting of the NUR."

Learning Organiser (Campaigns) Ivor Riddell spoke to the Group after they arrived on Monday and outlined how the learning structure worked within the RMT and the key role it has in organising within the union. Also the value, a good quality ULR can add to the Branch and it's strength in the workplace. He said," I look forward to hearing the feedback from the students and seeing things from their perspective."


Members in the south were given an opportunity to learn how to use their smart devices and tablets on Thursday 11th June at the Wessex Regional Office. Southampton Shipping Branch, with the support of local ULRs and RMT Learning Organiser Karen Skelly, arranged for a tutor to come to them for the day and offer tuition in the various applications, online resources and how to stay safe when using the internet.

Seafarers course

The tutor also took some time with everyone individually to trouble shoot particular problems that even learning organiser Karen Skelly had. As a result she said: “He sorted out my group contact lists on Outlook for me! Which I’ve only been trying to work out for nearly 2 years!”

The day was set up with the aid of the ‘Seafarers’ Bursary
Scheme which RMT Learning Organiser Paul Shaw paved the way for through the Seafarers Charity.

Seafarers logo

There were also non-seafarers on the course too.

As a result of the session it was agreed that a bespoke course could be organised to specifically target seafarers needs, as they have limited time in port and connected to the internet, so they need to have everything as streamlined as possible.  

If you are a ULR and would like advice on how to set up a smart device event then contact Karen Skelly on


RMT Learning making a difference.

Mark Carter

LO ULR Lead, Karen Skelly, was with Mark Carter, ULR, South West Trains at Bournemouth this week. Highlighting career opportunities for staff and how Union Learning Reps can support people in their career progression. Through helping them to refresh or improve their Functional Skills (English, Maths and IT) as well as building, confidence through interview skills and techniques, filling in application forms, CV builders etc.
As well as all this Karen and Mark were speaking to people about their learning needs and aspirations for the future and offering information advice and guidance as well as encouraging those who are not yet RMT Members to join and be part of the vehicle for making their workplace a better place to be.

Have you ever thought about holding a learning fair in your workplace. But don’t know how?

Email or talk to your local ULR