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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Staff commit to union-backed workplace learning

Health sector trade unions opened up learning opportunities for East Midlands ambulance staff when they signed a learning agreement last week.

The East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) became the first ambulance Trust to commit to developing its staff through union-backed workplace learning when chief executive Phil Milligan put his name to the agreement, alongside representatives from UNISON, GMB and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

Under the terms of the scheme, ambulance service staff from the lowest to the highest grades will be able to develop themselves at work and entitled to apply for reasonable time off to pursue their studies.

Speaking about the agreement, EMAS chief executive, Phil Milligan, said: "What is absolutely tremendous about this agreement is that we' re making sure we address all of the staff's needs together through a partnership approach.

"The key thing now is making sure we use our resources in line with the  agreement, which is very much about development across the board. That means spotting the needs of individuals and groups and making sure resources are used wisely to support their needs, and not just those few who go for higher education or specialised clinical education."

UNISON branch secretary Paul Brown said: "The biggest breakthrough is the Trust agreeing reasonable time off, which gives staff the incentive to put in some time of their own to learn, and UNISON is providing laptops they can take away and use at home.

"At the end of the day, we're an emergency service, which means there will be times when the Trust won't be able to grant people time off to learn when they apply. But UNISON, GMB and RCN will plan the courses to avoid busier times like the summer holidays when we tend to be short-staffed."


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