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Home > News > December 2006 > 04 December 2006

Sports stars champion learning

TUC deputy general secretary Frances O’ Grady, presented Barry McGuigan of the British Boxers Association, Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers Association, and John Barnwell, chief executive of the League Managers Association with awards appointing them as Skills for Life Advocates in recognition of their work on learning and skills within the sporting world.

Skills for Life Advocates aresenior trade union officers who can influence policy and are in a position to inspire and enthuse members, peers, and partners. The TUC says they champion Skills for Life (basic literacy and numeracy) within their unions and the wider public in order to promote the work done by union learning reps in the workplace in conjunction with trade unions and unionlearn.

The Chancellor Gordon Brown is an honorary Skills for Life Advocate and Francis O’Grady was the first to be appointed in June 2004.

Frances O’Grady said: "I am delighted to welcome Barry McGuigan, Gordon Taylor and John Barnwell as Skills for Life Advocates because they have made a real difference to sportsmen and women.

"We all hear about the famous sports professionals who have made the big time, but there are tens of thousands of others, whose careers may only last a few years, so it is essential that they have the skills to pursue an alternative career. That’s why the work the Amateur Boxing Association, the League Managers Association and the Professional Footballers Association are doing is so important."

The presentation took place last week at Oxford Brookes University after a meeting of the General Federation of Trade Union Education Sports Forum.

Barry McGuigan said: "I feel as people who have been through our sport and really achieved something it is incumbent upon us to help those coming through. Boxers have a lot of time when they are not fighting and we want to encourage them to plan and develop other skills so that they have something to go to when they stop making a living from the sport."

John Bramhall, assistant chief executive of the PFA, received the award of behalf of Gordon Taylor. He said: "We have realised for a long time that there is a need for our members to make a provision for a second career. Our education department has had a massive benefit from the role Oshor Williams, our first union learning rep is fulfilling in spreading the word around clubs about union learning."

John Barnwell, Chief Executive of the League Managers Association said: "The LMA are delighted at being leaders from the sporting world of the retraining programme initiative supported by and in conjunction with the General Federation of Trade Unions, the Learning and Skills Council and unionlearn.

"We regard retraining as a vital part for all our members who find themselves disadvantaged by being out of football management. Almost 60% of managers lose their jobs every season, so developing new skills is essential."

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