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‘Inspiring’ agreement

Unite and insurance firm Aviva hammer out major learning agreement
Hajera Blagg, Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018

In a significant step forward for Unite and its relationship with insurance provider Aviva, the union and the firm have together hammered out a learning agreement that will give staff the opportunity to gain qualifications and advance their careers.


The agreement came in the wake of a highly successful pilot programme that saw 300 Aviva employees gain qualifications. Through the new learning agreement, all 14,000 of Aviva’s workers will have access to training in courses ranging from business management, financial services, team leadership and more.


Ade Carter is one Aviva employee who completed a level  5 adult apprenticeship through Unite’s learning programme.


“Having not done any formal qualifications since I’d finished school, I wasn’t really sure what to expect,” Ade said. “I found the course to be really useful —  the ability to draw on things I did during my working day as evidence for my development was fantastic.


“I certainly found it much easier and much more enjoyable to learn in this way and found the support from the assessor to be brilliant as she frequently challenged my assumptions and made me realise just how much I was learning.”


Now as a result of a completing the level 5 apprenticeship, Ade was able to apply to and be accepted for a Master’s in Business Administration at Cranfield School of Management.


“I never imagined I’d be in a position where I was studying towards a Masters and wouldn’t have got to this point without Unite and Aviva.”


Aviva employee relations and global policy lead Anthony Fitzpatrick (pictured right) praised the learning agreement.


“We’ve been working with Unite for four years now and we’re thrilled that we’ve now put a formal arrangement in place to support our colleagues,” he said.


“This Learning Agreement means people can improve their skills and knowledge – and ultimately pick up qualifications – in a way that suits their lifestyles,” he added. “We’ve also seen so many people grow in confidence and take on new challenges as they’ve learned, and a number have gone on to pursue further studies. I’m delighted that now even more people can benefit from the scheme.”


Unite learning rep Danny Davis, who is now retired, first put forward the idea for a learning programme several years ago, which eventually turned into the pilot scheme through his efforts and has now blossomed into a full-fledged learning agreement.


Unite regional learning manager for the North East Yorkshire and Humber (NEYH) region Gill Pearson likewise hailed the agreement, which she said will give thousands of staff the opportunity to make a real and lasting difference in their lives.


She called it “truly inspiring” that Unite was able to negotiate a learning agreement of this scale when the union is not yet recognised by Aviva. The agreement is thought to be the largest of its kind between a union and an insurance company.


Gill Pearson said Aviva has been “very positive” about the learning agreement from the very beginning and it was one of the many examples of how the union has sought to strengthen its relationship with the firm.


“We’re very much hoping that the positive publicity we’ll get from this learning agreement will help to grow our union within Aviva, which is a major employer across the UK,” she said.


Unite lead officer for the financial and legal sector Andy Case (pictured left) agreed.


He explained that Unite has gone from having a poor working relationship with Aviva only a few years ago to a very strong one now.


“We really feel as though Aviva listen to us – even though we don’t have union recognition yet, Unite reps are very influential within Aviva and with this learning agreement we hope that our positive relationship only continues to grow.


“The agreement will allow our Unite learning reps to build on their work of helping to deliver important learning opportunities to Aviva staff,” he added. “Unite believes strongly that this Learning Agreement offers important opportunities for individual development and growth.


“The opportunities to staff and members from this agreement include improving existing skills and gaining new qualifications.”



Find out more about Unite Learning here.


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