Productive Learning Project (Phase2)

Your Regional Lifelong Learning Project Team

Chris: Hello my name is Chris Murphy and I am the Productive Learning Project Manager.  The Productive Learning Project Phase 2 is the GMB Yorkshire and North Derbyshire region's learning project. Its purpose is to service the educational requirements of GMB members through collaboration with the Union Learning Reps. Not every GMB member will want to access a training course nor is it our intention to force training and education on members who do not request it. It is our aim is to ensure that those members who do want to better themselves through undertaking education and training are helped along the way through the experience and expertise of the project team.

Education is fundamentally an equalities issue. Many workers are overlooked at work with little attention afforded to their development. Employers then bemoan a skills shortage. The potential has always been present but a lack of investment and political will has repeatedly neglected to tap into it. Many workers are tied into mundane, unrewarding and low paid work. The project in its own small way can lend a hand to those looking to develop and improve their skills, leading to them having more choice in their working life.

Those workers with existing skills can access different ones with project help. As project manager I know through personal experience the importance of education in improving your personal circumstances. Twenty years an unskilled worker prior to education leading belatedly to a career in teaching then project managing. Helping GMB members help themselves is a privilege and the project team and I are at your service.

My contact details are:

Mobile: 07813593996


Rosie: Hello my name is Roseanna Ford and I am the project’s Administrator/Secretary for the Yorkshire and North Derbyshire region. I assist the Productive Learning Phase 2 Project with secretarial/admin support and coordinate with the project manager and project workers. I am also the secretarial/admin support for the National Project Director (Colin Kirkham) and help/support with both the North West and Irish region’s project and the Birmingham and West Midlands project. I am your point of contact for general queries and questions and where necessary, I will field you onto the relevant project worker for your geographical area. You can contact me on the below details:

Office: 01924 887277

Mobile: 07813593951


Kate: My name is Kate Plonka and I am Finance Administrator for the GMB Productive Learning Phase 2 Project. I work for the GMB learning projects since 2010 and I am responsible for preparing financial information to assist the project to achieve its outcomes, managing and controlling Project’s budget, processing financial information including wages, travel and subsistence and assisting project in achieving its aims and objectives. I work closely both with the GMB Finance Department and Union Learning Fund as to be sure that our Project is carried out in an accurate, transparent and reliable way.
If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact me via email.


Michelle: My name is Michelle Bateson. I work on the project and am mainly responsible for West and North Yorkshire, though we are not restricted and do work in other areas.

I help members and potential new members to up skill by providing for courses in many different areas.  I support ULRs (Union Learner Reps) and am a part of literally hundreds of apprenticeships (including the content of the training and who the provider should be).  I work with many colleges, and have been successful in adding TU awareness and Employment Rights and Responsibilities into both pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship courses.

I am able to help with the provision of functional skills (maths, English and IT) on all levels.  On occasion this will be embedded in other courses, so, for example, it is possible to achieve a maths qualification as part of another qualification.  I also have set up a number of enterprise schemes, support groups (mental health, domestic violence and bereavement) and work clubs. 

I have never believed education is restricted to the privileged, or to those who 'have the means!', and would add that I myself am living proof that anybody can achieve, and that education genuinely does go some way to enhancing life experience.

My contact details are:

Mobile: 07813 593905


Jon: Hello my name is Jon Stanway and I support the south of the region including Sheffield and Chesterfield. I have been actively involved in the GMB’s learning projects for 2 years. Previously I was a union rep in manufacturing for many years. I believe accessibility to learning and education is vital to working people, and helping our members to discover and develop their talents and progress, not just in the workplace but also in life, is absolutely core union business. Access to learning enhances social inclusion and increasing opportunities for individuals develops a learning culture in the workplace. This renews activism and strengthens union voice.

Personally, I have recently completed a Master degree as a mature student, and If I can do it so can you! I am passionate about a fairer society where opportunities are available for all. The role of Union Learner Rep is crucial in making this a reality and making a real difference to people’s lives through supporting and encouraging them to progress, and by improving confidence that leads to better career prospects.

My contact details are:

Mobile: 07850 972951


If you require any more information or support please contact me on or email me at

Julie:  Hi my name is Julie, I am a project worker covering the Sheffield and surrounding areas, I previously worked on GMB’s Young Workers Engagement project in Midlands & East Coast Region where I gained lots of experience around the Apprenticeship levy. I have supported Employers and Learning providers on their preparation around the introduction of the Governments new Initiative, this has also highlighted the issues facing young people who are at the beginning of their working life and how we as a project and as a Union can support them.

I believe through recruiting training and supporting Union Learning Reps in our workplaces we can ensure continues learning and development is taking place giving equal opportunity to all, learning is a Trade union issue and we need to take this back to ensure inclusion so that nobody is left behind.

My contact details are:

Mobile: 07841 071 848


Emma: My name is Emma Bew. I have worked for the GMB for 17 years and have actively been involved in the GMB’s learning projects for the last 7 years, I have responsibility for the Leeds and York area.

As a keen and passionate member of the GMB Productive Learning Phase 2 Project Team I am here to support GMB’s Union Learning Representatives (ULR) in the Yorkshire and North Derbyshire Region in promoting and organising lifelong learning opportunities to our members, their colleagues and communities. With a great deal of knowledge and experience I have helped many members and potential new members up skill, retrain and gain more qualifications, providing information, advice and guidance by signposting to the best possible courses in an array of topics.

I support a number of GMB learning centres around the region where our members, their colleagues and people in the community can get help and support around learning and development right on their doorstep.  I also partner a number of organisations, charities and support groups working with the unemployed, disadvantaged and low paid.

My aim is simply about making learning as accessible as possible to everyone.  Encouraging people back into learning, to gain new skills and more qualifications and qualifications could be a step in the right direction towards improving your job prospects or moving up that career ladder, earning more money or simply improving your confidence, life skills and self-esteem.  Whilst helping people and giving guidance, I take great satisfaction in seeing people succeed.

Please contact me if you require any assistance on:

Mobile: 07813 593989


Gareth: Details to follow          


Team Contact Details.pdf