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Writing for Work and Unite the Union

Write for Work is a dynamic initiative that supports you to develop and strengthen your writing skills for the workplace and beyond. With the rise of social media, advancement of technologies and the increasing demand on us to diversify our skillsets, good writing skills have become essential. Individuals and organisations are now required to engage, challenge and share ideas or work through a vast variety of forums and platforms, all the while keeping up with relevant online advancements. Using creative writing techniques and a groupwork methodology, Write for Work has been designed to support already employed learners to upskill and apply new writing techniques to their existing roles. Read the blog below written by Billy Butterworth

Unite the Union and Writing on the Wall engaged in a twelve week initiative called Write for Work. Although the title suggests the course would appeal to people in employment; we engaged a cross section of the local community, in order for them to improve their writing skills and build the confidence to express themselves.

Understanding the growing demand for writing skills in different formats the course covered: social media, creative writing, blogging, cultural & critical writing, podcasts, copy writing, non-fiction and research. It also included the spoken word and poetry.

As a trade union we feel it is important to engage with communities and spread our message; assisting with organising, training, campaigns and education. After all, unions and communities share values such as equality, social justice, wellbeing, social housing, the world of work and education.

The trade union movement has a long history of engagement with the arts and culture that should be celebrated. The course offered an opportunity to explore each other’s interests and stories. It enabled the power of writing to allow us to articulate our own experiences, ideas and opinions. Every contribution shone a light on each individual’s identity and their journey in life, be it social, economic, cultural or political. And this offers a sense of self; of being allowed to ‘join in’ fundamental to what community and the trade union movement is about.

The cohort consisted of ten to twelve individuals from a cross section of learners in terms of age range, gender, writing experience and the world of work. Each participant engaged fully with the activities that were developed by a talented group of writers and tutor/facilitators. Judging by the feedback, everyone thoroughly enjoyed the course and twelve weeks could easily have been extended if we were to expand the programme further.As a union we were encouraged by the feedback and it is something we would like to harness; helping people, particularly young people, from our communities including marginalised groups who feel they have no voice. It is their stories that are vital for driving social change. The unrepresented, those forgotten by politicians, so they can find their voice and express themselves confidently through the written word with the support of trade union community groups like Unite’s, and cultural engagement on courses like Writing for Work.

As Andrew McMillan put it, in The Guardian, on 24 February 2017,

The working class has its own cultural identity – and we must see it on the page. Stories are a key support for each person’s identity, so it’s vital we defend those going unheard and unread – or leave a void to be filled by the far right.

And that is a frightening prospect.

Some of the group’s work will be published this summer and I look forward to seeing it in print. Well done to all concerned.

Billy Butterworth - Unite the Union
North West Learning Organiser

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