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TEESSIDE’s future trade union representatives now have access to local training in defending workers’ rights, thanks to a partnership between the TUC and Middlesbrough College.

Workplace union representatives – employees who represent and give advice to colleagues – will now get expert training at Middlesbrough College following funding secured from Tees Valley Combined Authority.

Previously the only provider of trade union education in the North East of England was Newcastle College.

Middlesbrough College is currently looking to recruit a tutor during the autumn term, with courses taking place online due to Covid-19 restrictions and in-person courses tentatively planned to take place in January depending on government advice.

A new Union Reps Stage 1 and a Health and Safety Stage 1 is expected to begin enrolement in January 2021.

It’s great to hear that union learning will be returning to Teesside, I would like to thank Middlesbrough College and the TUC Education Team who have worked had over the last year to make sure vital training of union reps continues

The current pandemic has reinforced the need for more union reps who can make sure workplaces put the health and safety of their workers front and centre at all times.

Beth Farhat, Regional Secretary of Northern TUC

Union reps do a really important job in workplaces across Teesside – including here in the College – and we’re delighted that our expert training staff will once again be able to pass their skills and knowledge on to future cohorts.

Localised training and support will help reps deliver for their colleagues.

Zoe Lewis, Principal & Chief Executive of Middlesbrough College

We are pleased to see the return of TUC Education to the Teesside area and look forward to working with Middlesbrough College to develop a thriving centre to support all Union Reps, Health and Safety Reps and Union Learning Reps across the area.

Tony Saunders, TUC Education Officer
Editors note

Ends -

Notes to Editor:

  • Devolution of the Adult Education Budget  to Mayoral Combined Authorities in 2019 created the situation that learners who live in one of the 6 devolved areas could only be supported by colleges either in their home area or those who had successfully bid for funding from outside the area.
  • The TUC found themselves in the position that all learners with a Tees Valley postcode were no longer able to attend funded provision and therefore unable to undergo training.
  • TUC Northern Region and TUC Education approached Middlesbrough College to look at how we could resolve this issue. It was agreed the only workable solution would be for Middlesbrough College to apply to Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) for funding.
  • The college made application but as resources for 2019/20 had already been allocated they were no available funds for the that year. This meant for a 12 month period reps in the area were unable to undertake training unless their union agreed to pay a fee.
  • From 2020/21 Middlesbrough College secured some development funding from TVCA and agreed to allocate some of this to TUC Education.
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