Learning for Health Award

Paul Ackroyd

2021 National Winner

Following a diagnosis with a lifechanging condition, Paul started a variety of level 2 courses through the workplace learning centre, within the Bramley depot, with the support of Barry Young (Union Learning Representative), to gain a better understanding of his condition and mental health more generally. Thanks to the courses, provided through a partnership between Unite the union and First Bus, Paul feels confident that he can offer a higher level of service to vulnerable customers in his job as a bus driver.

In 2018, I started to study a level 2 course in the learning centre within my workplace, in a bid to gain a better understanding of the health conditions I suffer with. Since I completed the first course, I have gone on to five further level 2 qualifications, all of which were connected to the medical condition I had been diagnosed with and mental health awareness.

When I started my learning, I wanted to get a greater understanding of the problems individuals like myself face when they have medical and mental health problems. I wanted to be able to help my family and also in my role as a bus driver, to help the people that I come into contact with on a daily basis.

Learning is fun and I continuously talk about my personal experiences and growth with my colleagues, to explain how learning can empower you as an individual and give you direction and motivation to further your professional and personal development.

It has made me more confident, made me want to get more involved and motivated me to further my career within the company. Moving forward I want to be able to help and support my fellow drivers, encourage them to get help if life begins to get too much and signpost them to the right places or just lend an ear.

Chris Muscroft, Union Learning Organiser at Unite the Union, said: ‘Although Paul suffers on a daily basis with his condition, he doesn’t let it get him down or affect him going about his day to day tasks. Paul’s selfless acts and his pure dedication and desire to learn and help others are why I feel Paul is a truly worthy and deserving winner for this award.’