Thu 20th September 2018

Success through partnership - DHL John Goodwin

Union Learning Rep John Goodwin wins award for supporting literacy in Stoke DHL

John Goodwin, an Usdaw Union Learning Rep (ULR) from Stoke was recently recognised by the TUC for the Award for Supporting Learners with Literacy Needs. John has established a fully functioning on-site Learning Centre at his workplace, DHL / Sainsburys Stoke that is supported by a team of three ULRs across a range of different shifts, including nights with an agreement of 10 hours paid release per week for the reps to carry out their role.

He has been instrumental in paving the way for a strong partnership between Axia and DHL in Stoke-on-Trent. Having someone as enthusiastic as John to pass on skills and knowledge is absolutely fantastic for the workforce as well as the dedicated tutors at Axia.

The Learning Centre that has been built allows Axia to assist the excellent ULR team to put on classes of English, Maths and IT, as well as some ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) courses. The centre is ideally located at the back of the staff canteen and is easily accessible for all members of staff. (Below)

DHL Learning Centre

A large number of learners on the site are colleagues for whom English is not their first language, each learner completes an English assessment and is then enrolled onto the correct course with both John and the tutor supporting them.  Many migrant workers at the site are first employed by one of the two agencies located within the organisation, to ensure that all colleagues have access to the Learning offer. John attends all  inductions and works very closely with both agency managers ensuring the Lifelong Learning continues to be inclusive for all staff.

The progression rates for these new staff who have started with an agency to become fully fledged employees of DHL have increased dramatically since starting this programme with the ULR's and Axia.


The achievement rates for DHL learners were a fantastic 89.47% in 2017.


The progression rates from a lower level course to a higher level course was 36%

These statistics show the true value of the partnerships between the company, the ULR and the training provider. This progression figure is indicative of the results that can be achieved by a successful partnership.

John Goodwin Award

John was presented the award by TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady and Skills Minister Anne Milton MP at the annual gathering of learning reps, union officers and education providers. (above, Credit @JessHurd)

John said: “I’m overwhelmed to have won this award for supporting learners with literacy needs. Here at DHL we have a lot of workers where English isn’t their first language – and it is vital that we have a Learning Centre on site.”

Since we have worked with Axia we’ve had 140 learners starting from entry level to level 2 and we also hold a Reading Ahead Challenge.

Johnathon Charnock, Lifelong Learning Project Officer with Usdaw, said: 

It’s really important for union learning reps to be in the work place so they can get information out there to the member about courses and learning opportunities. So the work that John has done to get that information out to members at DHL is so important and we are proud of him.

Ann Murphy is National Lifelong Learning Co-ordinator – Usdaw. Ann said:

"John has a real passion for education; he left school with no qualifications and since working at DHL / Sainsburys Stoke he has enrolled onto a number of different courses.  Before becoming a Union Learning Rep, John was first a learner; he worked in the re-cycling / waste management department and completed an NVQ Level 2 course.”

John added:

"I’ve moved from Entry level to level 2 and progressed as a ULR – and now I’m giving back the company and learners the support what I’ve had.”

For more information about the Unionlearn Awards and John Goodwin, click here.

DHL Sainsburys Stoke

The branch, DHL Stoke K183, (Pictured above) has fifteen reps, more than 600 members, a fully-equipped learning centre and an award-winning safety record putting this flagship operation at the very top of the warehouse sector.

The work that Axia do with John and the workforce at DHL has a positive effect on the company performance as well as embedding a better level of English and Maths within the local community.

To see a short video on John working within DHL alongside Axia, click here

The number of workers that have progressed from agency to full time DHL employees has increased to 25.9% from 5.3% since the initiative began.

Axia are able to deliver these fully funded courses due to their successful bid for an Adult Education Budget through the ESFA (Education and Skills Funding Agency) which have been entrusted to us to help our local businesses to thrive and build much needed English, Maths, and ICT skills and ultimately lead to growth.

Employees can also enrol on a full time apprenticeship if the company wishes them to.

For information about how our (fully funded) functional skills courses can help your business or your supply chain, contact us for a free consultation today here