NUJ wins award for freelance training
26 March 2010
The NUJ's innovative work in learning and training has been recognised with an award for a project to meet the needs of freelance workers in the media and entertainment industries. The Union Learning Fund (ULF) award was given for a project the NUJ pioneered with the Federation of Entertainment Unions (FEU).
The project – developed in co-operation with Equity, the Musicians Union and BECTU – has helped freelance journalists, actors, musicians, writers and others to improve their ICT skills, and keep pace with technological developments. The project also offers friendly advice on overcoming the loneliness sometimes experienced by people who work for themselves.
Linda King, NUJ education and training officer, said:
"We're very proud of this award, because it recognises both the quality of the training the NUJ provides and the important role that training plays in the lives of those who take part.
"The NUJ has been running professional training courses for freelances and others for nearly 12 years, thanks to an initial grant from the Union Learning Fund.
"The ULF is something of which any government should be proud. The good that we have been able to achieve both for those taking their first steps towards careers in the media and for people who needed to adapt their professional skills to keep up with technological and other developments has been thanks to the existence of the Union Learning Fund.
"Three quarters of a million employees have benefiting from training; bringing new skills to workers. Access is available to all levels of education from advanced skills and degrees as well as basic literacy, numeracy and IT skills to workers who have previously never had access to training or education."
On recent NUJ courses, participants spoke enthusiastically of how important the NUJ's training system had proved for them.
Sally Buffard said:
"Another quality course from the NUJ. The tutors were excellent – It was their knowledge as practising journalists with loads of experience, which they were happy to share, that really made it."
Leon Mannings put his reaction very simply:
"This was my first NUJ course, and it was superb."
June Leigh, Red Cross, writer said:
"I learnt a great deal and I think it will help me greatly in my work and when writing future features."
Jeremy Dear, NUJ general secretary, added:
"In recent weeks I've read with dismay claims in the right-wing press decrying the valuable, life-changing ULF as some sort of money-laundering operation. The labour movement's opponents have always used lies, smears and distortions in order to denigrate initiatives that allow working people to develop their skills and talents, providing them with new work opportunities.
"We're tremendously proud of the way in which we've been able to introduce people to the media industry and ensure that journalists' skills have kept pace with technological developments. Those journalists, many of whom work on daily news titles, will share the NUJ's dismay at attempts to portray the fund as anything other than life-changing and incredibly valuable."