One year of trade union learning success at Kilmarnock engineering plant

14 Jun

Unite members at Mahle Engine Systems in Kilmarnock are celebrating the first anniversary of their highly successful trade union learning agreement, ‘Racing Forward with Learning at MAHLE Engine Systems’.

Last May the landmark agreement was signed by Unite Scottish Secretary Pat Rafferty and the German automotive manufacturer’s Site Manager Jim English, resulting in over 530 learning and training requests while delivering over 1,000 hours of learning in subjects like literacy support, German, pensions and industry-based accreditations.

The agreement also includes the provision of a bespoke on-site trade union learning facility and trade union office, 5 workplace learning representatives and a fortnightly union – management steering group to oversee the delivery of the workplace learning programme.

Unite Scottish Secretary Pat Rafferty said, “This is a gold-standard learning agreement, a benchmark across the industry and the wider Scottish economy that demonstrates the value of trade unions and employers working together to deliver a learning agenda.

This huge demand for learning also reflects the appetite for up-skilling from our members in Kilmarnock – ably assisted by our hard-working Unite learning organisers who help deliver the programme – which they largely fulfill in their own time.

It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved but most importantly we are giving working people the opportunity to personally and collectively improve their skills and learning abilities – you cannot put a price on that.”

Alison Bryson Mahle Human Resource Manager said: “Entering into lifelong learning in a partnership approach with Unite learning reps on site has been really successful. Employees have been asked about their learning needs and courses have been arranged to meet those needs at times to suit both the company and the individuals. It’s really good to see people learning new skills”


Notes to Editors:

For further information please contact:

Pat Mcilvogue Unite Regional Learning Organiser on 07918631805;

Peter Welsh in the Unite Scotland Campaigns Unit on 07810157931; or

Alison Bryson, Head of Human Resources MAHLE Engine Systems Kilmarnock, on 07733301632.


  • Union Learning Reps are workplace reps, recognised under the Employment Act (2002). They have similar rights to time off and facilities as Shop Stewards and Health and Safety reps. Their remit is to promote lifelong learning in the workplace.
  • Unite has learning agreements with many of Scotland’s key employers, including Rolls-Royce, SPT, First Group, National Australia Group, Remploy, and various local authorities and NHS Boards.
  • Where we have signed learning agreements, we work with employers to promote learning and skills in the workplace.
  • We work in partnership with FE colleges to provide accredited training. We sign service level agreements with colleges to ensure our members get high quality tuition delivered in the workplace.
  • Workplace learning is free at the point of access, and funded in a variety of ways, including through employers’ training budgets, ILA, ESF & Glasgow Learning.
  • MAHLE is a leading global development partner for the automotive and engine industry, MAHLE offers unique systems competence in the internal combustion engine and engine peripherals. The MAHLE Group ranks among the top three systems suppliers worldwide for piston systems, cylinder components, as well as valve train, air management, and liquid management systems. Almost all automobile and engine manufacturers around the world are customers of MAHLE



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