Education in the community

Learning partnership opens up training opportunities

professional-rugby-league-players.jpgLeeds Thomas Danby has teamed up with GMB to offer a range of training opportunities to members. The college is one of Leeds’ leading providers of vocational education with a range of key specialisms, holding CoVE (Centre of Vocational Excellence) for Catering and Hospitality.

Some of the first to benefit from the partnership have been a group of professional rugby players who tackled an assortment of dishes from around the world on a 10 week International Cuisine course. Players from Leeds Rhinos, Wakefield Trinity Wildcats and Bradford Bulls cooked up a storm in the college training kitchens as part of the GMB’s “Conversion to Learning” project, which works with industry as well as rugby league & boxing, encouraging employees to learn new skills for the future.

The players learnt essential basic cooking skills and techniques, including how to make home-made pasta and fine pastry, as well as preparing dishes from India, China and the Mediterranean. Conversion to Learning Project Manager Geoff Burrow said: “Leeds Thomas Danby has been a leading light in our project and we look forward to continue working with the college in the longer term as the project continues to grow.”

For further information and to discuss specific training opportunities, please contact Leeds Thomas Danby Workforce Development on 0113 284 6383, or visit

Sporting Celeb Gets his Passport to future Success

herol-bomber-graham-and-jamie-peacock.jpgOn the 19th December 2007, at Rawthorpe Amateur Boxing Club in Huddersfield, Jamie Peacock, Great Britain rugby league captain and player with Leeds Rhinos, and more importantly GMB member, launched the activepassport, a new SkillsActive web-based scheme which records skills, training and qualifications. 

The aim of the scheme is to ensure the future employability and provison of transferable skills for individuals who are nearing the end of their sporting careers.  The club is piloting a number of the activepassports with learners who use the learning centre facility at the gym.

The learning centre provides IT, internet and teaching facilities which gym users and other members of the community can use in between their training sessions. Jamie said:  “I will use the activepassport to record all my training, skills and education.

This includes all my sporting skills, personal and professional achievements. The activepassport will provide a smooth transition for me once my professional career has ended as all my skills data will be listed in one easily updated format.

Boxing star Herol ‘bomber’ Graham was also at the launch demonstrating his boxing skills and techniques to the up and coming youngsters at the club.  Mark Reynolds, Rawthorpe Gym owner said: “I really see the benefits of the activepassport as it can be used to record sport skills and training needs of the athletes at the gym, as well as any other education and qualifications.

Tutors, mentors and coaches will be able to track and manage training requirements, providing the opportunity to address any skills gaps. The project has been supported by the GMB and unionlearn, the TUC’s learning and skills organisation.

Conversion to learning’s international successes

colin-with-rob.jpgInternationally rugby league sports stars are benefiting from the GMB’s Conversion to Learning project by improving their skills off the field as well on the field. Great Britain Rugby League team Captain Jamie Peacock has just completed the first stage of a personal trainer course and is now a fully qualified gym instructor.

Jamie asked the Conversion to Learning team to arrange a suitable course for him during the off season and the course was fully funded by Premier Training International.  Jamie’s team mate at both Great Britain and Leeds Rhinos, Rob Burrow, has also been busy gaining qualifications for his future. Rob has qualified as a sports masseur, through the Conversion to Learning project, and he has also completed a cookery course.

Rob, pictured with the Regional Educational Officer, Colin Kirkham, took the opportunity to discuss his future after rugby league. Colin has advised Rob on how to start his own business in sports therapy and the importance of promoting the business.

Jamie and Rob are proud members of the GMB’s Rugby League Players’ Association and they have helped spread the word about the GMB’s sports section, so much so, that membership has increased by over 19% during the last year!! Rugby league players, boxers and the whole regional community are using the 8 learning centres opened through the project and are enjoying learning new skills for work and for life.