GMB National Lifelong Learning Project

Roseanna Ford - Project Manager

A key aim of the Productive Learning Project Phase 3 will be the continuation and expansion of workplace and life-long learning not only to existing members but to those not yet engaged with the union learning agenda throughout the Yorkshire & North Derbyshire Region.

Building GMB’s army of Trade Union Learner Representatives is crucial to this vision along with negotiating more learning agreements & enhancing current ones from previous successful projects.

The project will also build its connection with the GMB’s Industrial officers which will not only allow assistance with recruiting Trade Union Learner Reps but will also assist with the Apprenticeship Levy which was introduced on the 6th April 2017.

Many Workplaces where GMB has recognition will have to pay this levy, so the project and workplace representatives should be able to deliver a membership benefit of service where a GMB member is engaged by an employer onto an apprenticeship training program.

The project will continue to assist both GMB members and potential members with their educational self-development by addressing the current skills gap and skills shortages prevalent in the UK economy, increasing individual employability through tailored courses for those seeking employment and ensuring quality education and training for those in work seeking progression.

Utilising its regional learning centres the Productive Learning Project will also target community learning initiatives to help remedy the areas of deprivation and neglect associated with the failure of traditional educational routes.

Landline: 01924 887277

Mobile: 07813 593951


Kate Plonka:

My name is Kate Plonka and I am Finance Administrator for the GMB Productive Learning Project Phase 3. 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:

Emma Bew: Central Area

My name is Emma Bew. I have worked for the GMB for 18 years and have actively been involved in the GMB’s learning projects for the last 8 years.

As a member of the GMB Productive Learning Phase 3 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.

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


Cortney O’Neal:

Hi my name is Cortney O’Neal and I am the project’s Administrator/Secretary for the Yorkshire and North Derbyshire region. I assist the Productive Learning Phase 3 Project with secretarial/admin support and coordinate with the project manager, project workers and Finance Administrator. I am also the secretarial/admin support for the National Project Director (Colin Kirkham) and help support him with collating and creating documents for the projects.

I am your point of contact for general queries and questions and where necessary, I will point you in the right direction to the relevant project worker for your geographical area. You can contact me on the below details:

Office: 01924 887282

Email: cortney.o’

Garreth Carvell: Western Area

Hi, my name is Garreth Carvell and I work within the GMB Productive Learning project and focus primarily on Rugby League. As a sport Rugby League has fallen short when preparing players for life after the game. With the new welfare programme introduced by the RFL some years ago things are much better. I’m looking to work closely with the RFL and use the resources and contacts of the GMB and learning project to help players hit the ground running after retirement.

If you require any more information or support, please contact me on:

Mobile: 07841 071848

or email:

Chris Peace - Southern Area

Mobile: 07850 972951