Warburtons worker wins STUC award

Chris McGill, recipient of the STUC Helen Dowie Award for Lifelong Learning 2019, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Grahame Smith, STUC general secretary
Chris McGill, recipient of the STUC Helen Dowie Award for Lifelong Learning 2019, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Grahame Smith, STUC general secretary

Chris McGill, a BFAWU Union Learning Rep at Warburtons in Bellshill, has received the 14th annual Helen Dowie Award for Lifelong Learning from The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC).

Sponsored by The Open University in Scotland, and administered by Scottish Union Learning, the award was presented First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at the Caird Hall, Dundee).

Chris was a long-standing health and safety representative within the Warburtons site before taking on the role of union learning representative (ULR) at a time when there were virtually no learning or development opportunities available to the workforce.

He was instrumental in establishing a forum within Warburtons that allowed the employer and the union to meet formally to discuss workforce development. With support from Scottish Union Learning he has been able to address the learning needs of his members.

As a result of a survey of over 250 workers, Chris identified a need for mental health awareness training and persuaded the employer of the potential benefits of this training, which was delivered to 100 workers.

He also reached agreement with the employer that line managers and union reps would be trained as mental health first aiders.

Chris organised events around Book Week Scotland and is in the process of establishing a workplace library and reading group, as well as initiating a distance learning programme, plans to become a digital trainer, and has persuaded his employer that each department and shift will have a ULR.

He said: “I am absolutely delighted to be receiving the Helen Dowie Award for Lifelong Learning. It’s a real honour to be recognised by the STUC for the work that I do at Warburtons, in delivering learning for the members.”