Case Study Profile

Newcastle City Local Government Branch – Jane Yugire


Jane was drawn to become a UNISON ULR at Newcastle City Council through her desire to improve her own skills and knowledge and to help her colleagues in adult care to do the same. The City Council was the first employer to pilot the Open University’s innovative progression route for health and social care staff. Through a combination of NVQ Levels 2 and 3 and the OU’s K101 ‘Introduction to Heath and Social Care’, thirteen of the City’s staff achieved these qualifications and, at the same time, gained the underpinning theory and knowledge and the improved their everyday skills and good practice. Jane not only helped in recruiting the first group of learners but she was one of the thirteen to pioneer this approach. Since the, almost sixty other colleagues have gone on to follow in her footsteps. While she is keenly aware of the learning needs of her colleagues in adult social care, Jane has used learning surveys to identify the topics that they need most. Whilst English, maths and health-related topics have proven to be very popular, the need to develop the ICT skills of her colleagues has been a key focus for Jane: “The LMS system has been an important innovation. The only problem is that, like a lot of web-based and IT initiatives, not every member of staff has access to IT at work or at home, or the skills and confidence to make full use of the system. That’s why I’m working closely together with my other UNISION colleagues to see how we can use the Learning Zones across the Council to help staff, like those on shiftwork for example, to gain the skills to use the system and get the IT skills hey need to improve their prospects and employability.” For Jane, being a ULR in a large local authority that has made severe staff cuts has not been without its challenges. Jane and her colleagues have found that the demand for information, advice and guidance has not only increased but that peoples’ needs are more complex. Some people need help, for instance, to prepare for competence-based interviews, while others are seeking help to make life changing decisions about accepting jobs on a lower pay band, or take redundancy as well as making sure that their skills are up to date. So they key to Jane’s success has been the flexibility in her approach, whether it be meeting people visiting the City’s care homes where her colleagues work or even meeting people after work in their local ASDA “I know what the pressures of doing a job and learning at the same time are like, so I do my best to make it as easy as possible for others as that’s what makes a difference.”
“I know what the pressures of doing a job and learning at the same time are like, so I do my best to make it as easy as possible for others as that’s what makes a difference.” - Jane

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