Productive Learning Project (Phase3)

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: 07813593951


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:

Jon Stanway:

Hi my name is Jon Stanway. My main responsibilities are supporting and developing members to reach their full educational potential in the south of the region, including Sheffield, Doncaster and Chesterfield. I have been actively involved in the GMB’s learning projects for 3 years and previously spent many years as a union rep in manufacturing. 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. Education is fundamentally an equalities issue. Many workers are overlooked at work with little attention afforded to their development - and government and employers then bemoan a skills shortage! The potential has always been present in individuals but lack of investment and political will has repeatedly neglected to tap into it for some reason. Many workers are unfortunately stuck 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.

Personally, I have recently completed a Master’s 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 Representative 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.

If you require any more information or would like some support please contact me on:

Mobile: 07850 972951

or email:

Emma Bew:

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: 01924887279

Mobile: 07813593905

Email: cortney.o’

Usman Ali:

Hello my name is Usman Ali and this is my first year on the GMB Union learning funded Project. Over the past few years I have been involved in the GMB Young Members Network.

Throughout the last six years I have had experience of working in a variety of settings and organisations within the Voluntary Community Sector and the Statutory Sector. I sit on various panels and Committees both locally and nationally and I am a Community Leader/ Community Activist within the Wakefield District.

I believe that learning and education is vital for everyone, because education is the key to success. However employers are looking for individuals with various transferable skills and qualities. I agree that the GMB Productive Learning project provides great opportunities for our members to upskill and gain more experience for themselves and gain better employment opportunities for themselves.

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

Mobile: 07813593996

or email:

Garreth Carvell:

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: 07841071848

or email:


GMB Productive Learning Project Phase 3: 60 College Grove Road – Wakefield - WF1 3RN