On the 23rd March 2011 at Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers & Firemen (ASLEF) Union Learning Representatives (ULR) Development Seminar ASLEF General Secretary Keith Norman presented the first ever ASLEF Learner Award.
The award was given to ASLEF member and East Midlands Trains driver Colin Berry in recognition of the dedication and commitment he has made towards his education and development.
Colin has worked on the railway for 29 years becoming a registered driver in 1989. He joined ASLEF in 1986 and is a member of the ASLEF Derby branch.
Colin started his learning journey in 2005 by enrolling on a 12 hour German taster session set up by is ASLEF ULR. On completing the German taster Colin went on to complete a one year German Entry level course delivered by Stephenson College.
As he was on the last few weeks of the German course the ULR was setting up a Level 3 Communications course which Colin enrolled onto. It was this course that got him thinking about his numeracy weaknesses and he enrolled onto the numeracy level 1 course. On successful completion of this course, Colin went on to achieve numeracy level 2.
The tutor from the Communication Level 3 course saw that much potential in Colin’s work that they suggested that he should consider a Open University course. Over the last 4 years Colin has been doing self funded learning with the Open University, working towards an open degree.
Colin had not taken part in any level of education since leaving school in 1981. If it was not for the support of his ULR and ASLEF supporting the union learning agenda he would never has got involved in education.
On receiving the award Colin said “It feels strange that I am receiving this award. The award should go to my ULR, Chris Nutty, and ASLEF as a union, for being so dedicated to the learning agenda and making learning enjoyable as well as accessible to rail workers.”