Reading for pleasure in our workplace – Merseytravel and The Reading Agency
The Reading Agency is the leading charity inspiring people of all ages and all backgrounds to read for pleasure and empowerment because we believe that everything changes when we read. We work at local level with partners including public libraries, colleges, schools, prisons and trade unions and nationally with policymakers, publishers, broadcasters and other charities. We run a range of programmes for adult learners including Reading Ahead, Quick Reads and World Book Night and also Reading Well Books on Prescription for young people and adults with mild to moderate mental health issues.
Genevieve Clarke has been working for The Reading Agency since 2003 on all matters related to adult learners and reading for pleasure including Reading Ahead (formerly the Six Book Challenge), reading groups, Quick Reads, World Book Night and BBC Learning campaigns. She was previously Manager of the National Reading Campaign at the National Literacy Trust following the first National Year of Reading in 1998-99. Genevieve has also worked in magazine and book publishing and as an adult literacy tutor in college, community and custodial settings. She is a committee member of RaPAL (Research and Practice in Adult Literacy) and can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org and @Genevieve_TRA
Merseytravel runs several award-winning reading projects for staff, partner organisations and customers via Merseylearn, a partnership initiative with its trade unions which also links to The Reader Organisation and The Reading Agency. It is currently working with Liverpool City of Readers, acting as an ambassador organisation for promoting reading to other businesses and organisations across Liverpool.
This workshop will explore the ways in which trade union reps (ULRs) and learning providers engage and support Merseytravel staff in reading activities from a whole range of backgrounds and abilities. ULRs will share ideas around using reading for pleasure to motivate and inspire learning and ask delegates to discuss how they could apply this to their own audiences. It will be introduced by The Reading Agency which runs Reading Ahead and Quick Reads, both national programmes that have been used successfully by Merseytravel for several years.
Most people attending RaPAL’s conference on Saturday 24 June will make use of the public transport system in Liverpool run by Merseytravel. With a workforce of 800, it is responsible for coordinating bus and rail services, maintaining transport infrastructure, providing public transport information and operating the Mersey road tunnels, the Mersey Ferries and their associated visitor attractions.
Merseylearn’s role is to support individuals, employers, unions, and the community to engage with learning providers and get the skills and qualifications needed to succeed. These include apprenticeships, vocational qualifications, customer service qualifications, cornerstone skills like math’s, English and ICT, and informal learning. Merseytravel’s workforce works over a large footprint with many skills being needed to carry out the work. We have a workforce that comes from a wide range of backgrounds that matches the demographic area from which they are drawn
Merseytravel has just become the first employer in Liverpool to be awarded the Liverpool Quality Reading Award in recognition of the various schemes put in place to facilitate reading for its staff. The gold award was recently presented to the Union Learning Representatives (ULRs) and Reading Ahead Champions who support literacy inside and outside of the organisation.
Our workshop will consist of the learning below, gained through encouraging our workforce and transport users to take up reading for pleasure:
- Organising and delivering the Reading Agency’s Six Book Challenge/Reading Ahead and the Summer Reading Challenge for the families
- Legacy and sustainability . Merseytravel created reading champions across the organisation who championed reading for pleasure to our staff . This year we are approaching 200 participants . Worked with Merseyrail to help their ULRs set up their reading challenge
- Supporting World Book Day and World Book Night events for the workforce at our transport hubs involving our customers too
- Legacy and sustainability . Merseytravel/Merseylearn ULRs started a book club that involved Merseytravel staff and other organisations who occupy our building. They share their reading experience using email discussion
- Supporting The Reader and The City of Readers to deliver Anytime Is Story Time by using the Mersey ferry as an iconic venue for schools to engage with reading involving parents and ferry customers
- Legacy from this plus sustainability : ULRs were trained as story tellers by The Reader and have delivered storytelling to children from different schools
- Entered into The City of Readers project to enable Liverpool to become the number one city for reading in the UK. Merseytravel created Moved To Read where we shared Quick Read books across the transport system encouraging a wide and diverse group of people to read for pleasure on transport .
- Legacy and sustainability . Quick Read books were left all over the city for people to share . Merseytravel were introduced to the Reading Quality Mark for Liverpool and became the 1st non-school organisation in the country not only to be awarded the mark but also we got the Gold standard too . We are now an ambassador for other organisations in the city adding to the sustainability of Liverpool being the number one Reading city in the UK
- Hosted The Reader’s Reading Aloud course at our building in Liverpool .
- A ULR joined the course and is now a practitioner in reading aloud for Merseytravel. This creates volunteer opportunities for reading interventions