The Union Learning Fund has awarded the CSP £70,050 to explore the feasibility of the Society providing support in the workplace on learning and development issues.
The funding from UnionLearn – the body set up to help unions promote learning – will be used to commission a study into whether stewards can provide support at a strategic level using collective agreements to improve members’ access to learning and development and, if so, how this can be done most effectively. Penny Bromley, CSP research and policy officer, said: ‘Given that the CSP, like many other professional unions, does not have the resources at this time to develop a union learning representative network, it will be helpful to investigate whether some aspects of this role can be undertaken by CSP stewards. ‘Given the demands already placed on CSP representatives and their constrained resources, the aim is not to expand the role of the steward, but to explore how they can best re-focus some of their existing skills and work to deliver on the aspects of the learning agenda that will benefit members most.’ Emphasis will be on partnership working between managers and stewards, and on providing practical support to meet members’ needs in this area. The project will map whether the entitlement to supported learning and development for NHS members has been realised and investigate the current barriers to accessing learning and development, profiling the issues specific to women returning to practice, part-time staff and physios with disabilities. It will include a focus on physiotherapy support workers and how employers, stewards and the CSP can help them in this area. The information will be used to progress the CSP’s work on learning and development, as well as lobby national employer bodies. Although the funding covers England only, some of the study’s conclusions should be applicable to the rest of the UK. The CSP’s self-referral implementation tools can be downloaded from the Society’s website www.csp.org.uk
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