GMB National Lifelong Learning Project

Roseanna Ford – Project Manager

The Yorkshire and North Derbyshire Region now forms part of the GMB’s Lifelong Learning Project and independently operates within the whole of the Yorkshire & North Derbyshire Region; providing resources and learning experiences to GMB members.

A key aim of the Lifelong Learning Project 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 9 GMB Regions which includes Yorkshire & North Derbyshire

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 Lifelong 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.

Please contact me if you require any assistance on:

Landline: 01924 887277

Mobile: 07813593951

Email: [email protected]


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 Lifelong Learning 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’[email protected]


Kate Plonka

My name is Kate Plonka and I am the Project Finance Administrator for the Yorkshire & North Derbyshire region. I have worked 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: [email protected].


Emma Bew

Emma: My name is Emma Bew. I have worked for the GMB for 19 years and have actively been involved in the GMB’s learning projects for the last 9 years.

As a member of the GMB Lifelong Learning Project Team I am here to support GMB 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

Email: [email protected]


Garreth Carvell

2019 is the start of the 3rd project I have been involved in. I am a project worker predominately working within Rugby League and the education programme introduced by the player welfare programme. We have had great success in gaining recognition with the governing body which will enable us to continue the excellent work we are doing for employees of the game.

I am based in the Brighouse office and cover the surrounding areas with regard to education.

I am passionate about helping people achieve their potential and will help anybody that is willing to help themselves. The GMB learning project is a great opportunity for people of all ages and abilities to up-skill and better themselves through education and learning. 

Please contact me if you require any assistance on:

Mobile: 07841071848

Email: [email protected]


Chris Peace

My name is Chris Peace and I am the Learning Project Worker covering South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire.

I started my working life in education as a secondary school teacher. However it was clear to me back then, and even more so now, that learning should not be something restricted to the first 18 years of our lives, but an offer that people can access and enjoy throughout their life. The best place to deliver education is in the workplace and we must always remember that as a Trade Union our role is to "Educate, Agitate and Organise", and our effectiveness as a Trade Union very much depends on the education offer we provide to our members.

My role is to support our Union Learning Reps across the south of region and, together, to ensure that our members are familiar with and able to access either basic skills training, with a Level 2 qualification in Maths, English and IT skills, as well as the many and varied vocational courses.

It is incredibly rewarding seeing our members either get qualifications they couldn't complete at school, or afford to access outside the Union Learning Fund, as well as seeing people able to improve their employability either within their current workplace or successfully find employment elsewhere.

If you are based in South Yorkshire or North Derbyshire and have any questions or want to take up our learning offer, I very much look forward to hearing from you.

Please contact me if you require any assistance on:

Mobile: 07850972951

Email: [email protected]