Becoming a Union Learning Rep – Guest post by Sarah Eaglestone

My name is Sarah Eaglestone. I am a Union Learning Rep (ULR) for UNISON.

If you had of asked me the question “ What would you like to have achieved in five years time  “ five years ago ….. I would never have thought it would be what I have to date.

Thanks to UNISON I have been able to follow my passion  for training and learning new things.  By becoming a ULR I have also been able to enable others to follow their passion and need for training.

Although I tried to stick in at school and took my GCSEs and even pushed to try and gain an A level in English!  My grades weren’t great…. I was unable to continue with my A level English and passed my GCSEs with low grades.   The reason for this wasn’t because I did not enjoy learning at school but at the age of 13 years old I was told I was deaf!  My hearing had been deteriorating slowly through out my school years and I had got by from learning myself to lip read.

I left school with low grades and become a stay at home mum.    My confidence was boosted after having a cochlear implant  fitted.  This helped me get a job in support work where I developed my passion for training which was always taking place.  I would look at others and think how I would love to have the skills and knowledge they had.

I then went into a community role which I loved, the experience I got from this was amazing. My personal progression was amazing but my training and work progression came to a halt.  I plucked up the courage to leave after 7 years and became a Team Leader for Adults with Learning Disabilities Supported living – Unfortunately I was made redundant after 6 months because of funding cuts.

A telephone call to Wendy Aitman – Education Officer for UNISON Newcastle City Branch was when things begun to change for me.   Whilst looking for more work I decided to attend training opportunities.  The more training I did,  the better things looked on my CV.  I then got the role of a Chain Reaction Pioneer with KeyRing.  I then began to share my new found training opportunities with my colleagues.  This is when I was asked if I would like to become a Union Learning Rep.

Becoming a ULR has given me so many opportunities and has boosted my confidence  hugely.  I have done great amounts of training and have turned all my years of experience into qualifications.

I have attended a ULR forum in London; I have worked with UNISON to put on training sessions for my colleagues and other organisations.  My next step is to develop my skills and knowledge to become a tutor and deliver training myself.  Of course this will be done with the support from UNISON.  Thank you UNISON!