Julie Walters shares stories with learners

Award winning actress Julie Walters visited the GMB led Learning Resource centre at Hollingdean waste depot in Brighton , the visit was arranged by GMB ULR* Wes Lee Emond who described Julie as 'an inspiration to many people. ' The centre is run in partnership with Brighton and Hove City Council and offers a wide range of courses to council employees, ULRS play a key role encouraging and supporting hard to reach learners back into education.

The star of films such as Educating Rita and Billy Elliott answered a wide range of questions before hearing the learners share their own experiences of the centre and the positive benefit that it has had on their life. Learner Martin Vince explained that before he came into the centre he would not make eye contact with anyone but thanks to the tutors and support from the centre staff he has become a ULR and is encouraging other people to attend courses.

Julie said: 'it's an amazing initiative and an amazing set up, I have met lots of people but one of the chaps that stood out left school illiterate and is now doing A levels what an achievement that is.'

Centre manager Elaine Sweetman Elaine Sweetman, the centre's learning development officer, said: 'These trips are vital to raise the profile of the work we do. 'About 100 people have gained qualifications from the centre in the past year and this helps the workers with everything from filling out forms as part of their jobs to helping their children with homework. It really helps boost their confidence.'

Regional manager Barry Francis with ULRs and centre staff

unionlearn Regional manager Barry Francis praised the centre: 'The centre is a fantastic advert for the positive role trade unions play in helping people gain skills and change their lives. The work GMB ULRs and project workers are doing is really helping people improve their lives through the power of learning.'

Press release (400 words) issued 21 Mar 2012