Local MP presents award to union learning project at Tristar Homes

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date: 4 August 2010

embargo: For immediate release

Today (Thursday 5th August)Alex Cunningham, MP for Stockton North will present the prestigious matrix Standard award to the trade union-led learning project, Unistar, within Tristar Homes, Stockton.

The matrix Standard is the national quality standard for organisations that deliver information, advice and guidance (IAG) on learning and work. The award both recognises and formalises the quality of the IAG provided by the team of Union Learning Reps (ULRs) working at Tristar Homes.

The Unistar project is a learning partnership between trade unions (Unison, Unite, GMB and UCATT) and the employer which has been going for the last three years. The aim of the project is to practically and proactively offer increased opportunities - and support - for workers to access both formal and informal learning and improve their skill-set.

Since it began, over 60% of the 380 staff at Tristar have now taken part in some form of learning. 179 have received Skills for Life support and a total of 81 have passed the National Test in Literacy, and 39 in Numeracy. Two of the ULRs (Marilyn Scott and Paul Weston) have also recently achieved and NVQ Level 4 (equivalent to Diploma level) in IAG provision, which also contributes to the matrix accreditation process, as well as providing an expert level service to their colleagues.

Alex Cunningham, MP for Stockton North said: ' It is a real revelation to see the difference that projects like these make to individuals, as well as the very obvious business benefits of having motivated, well advised staff continually improving their skill base. I am very proud to have been asked to present such a prestigious and well-deserved award to the Unistar project and am really encouraged by the fantastic partnership working between unions and the employer demonstrated at Tristar Homes. If this level of dedication and professionalism is representative of my constituency then Stockton North's future looks very bright indeed.'

Sue Crow, Human Resources Manager at Tristar Homes said: ' Union Learning has enhanced the lives of many employees at Tristar by providing them with the confidence to access training opportunities and has also provided employees with skills to offer high quality advice and assistance to our customers. The achievement of the matrix Standard is a fantastic recognition of the company's commitment to Learning and Development.'

Beth Farhat, unionlearn Union Development Co-ordinator said: ' Unistar is now one of over twenty union-led learning projects in the region to achieve the matrix Standard which is testament to the amazing and consummately professional service being offered through these projects and by Union Learning Reps. I once again take my hat off to the Unistar project, and Tristar as a whole, who have worked so hard to achieve this - and to the learners who have also grasped the opportunity to improve their life chances through this route.'

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Alex Cunningham MP will be making the presentation at 11am on 5th August.

The Unistar project is funded through unionlearn's flagship Learning for All Fund. Since its launch in 2002 the LfAF has allocated nearly £5million to over 120 workplace projects across the North East.

All unionlearn press releases can be found at www.unionlearn.org.uk

Media enquiries:
Susanne Nichol T: 0191 227 5553 M: 07771873108 E: snichol@tuc.org.uk


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