Factory workers on the learning curve

Students from East Durahm college give hand massages at the Learning Centre of Light in Peterlee as part of the event to encourage workers at Caterpillar to take up new hobbies or classes.
Students from East Durahm college give hand massages at the Learning Centre of Light in Peterlee as part of the event to encourage workers at Caterpillar to take up new hobbies or classes.
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WORKERS downed tools and tried new skills from scooter maintenance to holiday Spanish as their bosses hosted a day of taster sessions.

Caterpillar, in Peterlee, held its first Learning at Work Day, with hundreds of employees taking the chance to try some of the 30 different activities.

Gail Arnold tries out virtual welding with the help of Stuart Gribble at the Learning Centre of Light in Peterlee as part of the event to encourage workers at Caterpillar to take up new hobbies or classes.

Gail Arnold tries out virtual welding with the help of Stuart Gribble at the Learning Centre of Light in Peterlee as part of the event to encourage workers at Caterpillar to take up new hobbies or classes.

The event was hosted with the support of Unite and Unionlearn and included traditional academic lessons in maths and foreign languages.

It also offered more practical classes, such as building a brick barbecue, playing guitar, beauty therapies, digital photography, video making and looking at the science of happiness.

Fitness classes, including Zumba, boxercise and circuit training were also held, along with a scuba diving basics talk.

The day took place held at the Learning Centre of Light on Judson Road and was organised by Carl Robb, Caterpillar’s North East learning manager and supported by Rennie Simpson and Steve Morrison, both Unite union shop stewards.

Musician, Malcolm Hunter giving Rachel Shannon a guitar lesson at the Learning Centre of Light in Peterlee as part of the event to encourage workers at Caterpillar to take up new hobbies or classes.

Musician, Malcolm Hunter giving Rachel Shannon a guitar lesson at the Learning Centre of Light in Peterlee as part of the event to encourage workers at Caterpillar to take up new hobbies or classes.

Other businesses in the area were also invited, so their workers could benefit from the opportunity to find out more about courses and hobbies.

As part of their work, the stewards helped run numeracy and literacy assessments using the latest technology mobile assessment tools which were supplied by Unionlearn.

Mr Robb said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for Caterpillar colleagues and the wider community to discover a gateway to learning and perhaps start a new learning journey of their own.”

Kevin Rowan, Northern TUC regional secretary, added: “Caterpillar have really embraced the Learning at Work day ethos and made sure that there is something for absolutely everyone, no matter what their interests or motivations.

“It is always our pleasure and privilege to be able to support such committed projects where unions and employers are working together to provide the best for employees, colleagues and even communities.”

The similar events were held across the region as part of the national scheme, which also ran along side Adult Learners Week.

Other organisations involved included Sunderland City Council, housing associations, Government departments and food and drink supply firms.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham