#HeartUnions week: 'Invaluable' training for reps

During #HeartUnions Week, we look at how reps can broaden their knowledge with Unite Education

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It’s the TUC’s #HeartUnions week this week (February 12-16) — and we’ve also just published a new edition of UniteExtra highlighting Unite Education’s reps courses!

In the story below, we hear from Unite convenor Anthony Walsh from Toyota and how reps courses have helped him help his members. If you’re rep, check out this and other stories, as well as the Unite Education’s prospectus detailing all courses and how you can book a place, in our special UniteExtra edition here.*

Anthony Walsh is a Unite Senior Deputy Convener at Toyota in Derby and has been a Unite Rep for nine years – working his way up from Shop Rep to his current role with the support of training from Unite Education.

Since taking his first Workplace Reps 1 course as a new rep Anthony has enrolled on, and completed, a wide range of courses to help him support his members at the massive car plant.

As well as Workplace Reps 1, Anthony has taken Bargaining and the Law, Health & Safety Reps 1 & 2 and the Branch Officers course – as a well these core courses Anthony has also taken the opportunity to attend training on Advanced Negotiation Skills, Handling Change and a number of others.

Based in the East Midlands, Anthony has taken courses in local offices, but also nationally.

Anthony said, “Most of the courses I have attended have been in the Derby or Nottingham offices, but I have also attended a couple of residential courses in Unite’s centre in Eastbourne.”

Anthony feels that attending courses in different locations has a lot of benefits, he explained: “What you learn in the courses is fantastic, but it is also the networking that is really useful.

“I try to attend courses in different offices as I get to meet fellow Unite reps for a wide variety of workplaces and backgrounds.

“I really like the Unite approach of getting into groups to share ideas and experiences. The group work is very good and it’s great to split up and meet new people and learn from the interactions.

“It’s all about broadening your horizons – and the Unite Education courses are invaluable!”

With 3,500 workers and 29 Unite Reps at Toyota, in a number of different roles ranging from Branch Officers to Trade Union Learning Reps, the need for high quality training is vital.

Anthony has worked at the company for 22 years and his official job as a “Senior Maintenance Team Leader”, but the union has a facility time agreement for “50 per cent plus meetings” meaning he spends most of his time on union duties.

This includes his work as an Accredited Support Companion, a challenge that gives him a chance to put the experience and learning into practice, saying, “You go into new workplaces to support members and have to deal with different HR systems and management. I really enjoy the ASC work as you have to think on your feet.”

The branch is a very active one, and continuing to grow, with Unite heavily involved with the induction process, giving out packs and freebies to new starters and apprentices. This resulted in 800 new members signing up last year.

And with that many new members there is bound to be new reps coming forward soon and making use of the fantastic training opportunities of Unite Education.

By Keith Hatch

*Please note you must be an accredited Unite rep to sign up to the courses.