Skills at Work Award Winner
Nominated by: UNISON Cymru Wales
The UNISON WULF Project aims to increase the skills, confidence, wellbeing, and employability of the public service workforce across Wales.
During the pandemic, the UNISON WULF Project adapted its services to deal with increased pressures being put on people working in the public sector. The project staff worked hard to make sure the service could be delivered entirely virtually, and to a much wider remit of people.
It was able to support over 2,500 front-line NHS, social care, school support staff, Police Community Support Officers and other key workers from all parts of Wales through a wide range of learning opportunities such as webinars, e-learning and grants.
Richard Speight, Area Learning & Development Organiser at UNISON Cymru Wales, said: “We try to focus on lower-paid public service workers such as teaching assistants and care workers, who often don’t have the training and educational opportunities offered to higher paid colleagues. Before the pandemic, our main focus was more about providing our learners with essential skills like literacy. Now, our remit has expanded to be far wider and more employment specific.”
When COVID hit, the first task was to ensure all social care workers in Wales had free access to coronavirus-specific infection control training, quickly rolling out a free e-learning course to over 800 people.
This offer, delivered through eLearningForYou, allowed care workers to join the sector and keep their professional development up-to-date during the crisis.
Richard said: “For many of our tutors, learning how to deliver engaging webinars was really difficult. Thankfully, we had the in-house knowledge to equip our tutors with the expertise to make this transition from classroom to webinar a smooth one.”
Since March 2020, the Project has delivered over 150 expert-led webinars. These have included ‘Resilience’ and ‘Secondary & Vicarious Trauma’ courses for Denbighshire Council’s rapid COVID-19 redeployment pool, ‘Aspiring Manager’ courses for Ceredigion care workers and British Sign Language courses for NHS staff.
“None of this success would have been possible without the collaboration between our team, trade unions, employers and the individual themselves.
“We have strong relationships with trade unions and public sector employers who encourage workers to attend these sessions. It shows workers their development is valued so they’re given the confidence and freedom to upgrade their skill-set.”