NHS Property Services is leading the way with its support to staff through training and development.

Chief Executive Simon Holden and national representatives from the company’s four union partners – the GMB, MiP, Unison and Unite – have jointly signed a Union Learning Agreement, setting out a framework for how they will promote training and development across the company.

This is the first Union Learning Agreement with a national NHS body. And the first ULA with multiple union partners.

The agreement, signed on 17 September, reflects the company’s commitment to work closely with unions and will benefit all NHS Property Services 3,200 staff, whether or not they are union members.

Linked to the company’s workforce strategy, the Union Learning Agreement will be reflected in individuals’ appraisals, objective setting and personal development plans (PDPs). Ranging across mandatory health and safety training, apprenticeships, coaching and leadership development, it will focus in particular on supporting staff in bands one to four, who make up the largest proportion of the company’s workforce.

Union learning reps will be ideally placed to assist with core literacy and numeracy skills and also the implementation of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) amongst our diverse workforce.

Simon Holden, Chief Executive of NHS Property Services, said: “Having worked at every level in the NHS, I recognise the huge part that training and development has played in my career.

“One of the great advantages of being a national organisation is the wide scope of career development opportunities we will be able to offer to staff. Over the coming months we will be introducing a new performance management process and a variety of training, ranging from powerful appraisals to improving core skills.

NHS Property Services was created in April 2013 to own, manage and develop safe and efficient estate, buildings and facilities for the NHS.

“I’m pleased about working with the Unions’ education teams,” adds Hesketh Emden, Head of Training, Development and Leadership, who negotiated the agreement. “It’s a great opportunity to tap in to their expertise.”

Barrie Brown, Unite’s National Officer for Health said. “The commitment of NHS Property Services and its partnership working with the unions to develop the union learning agreement provides an example for others to follow. All staff should be valued and given every opportunity to develop their skills. The ULA does that and both individual staff members and NHSPS will benefit. Therefore I should like to thank all those who have been involved in producing the agreement and I am sure we all look forward to seeing the benefits and impact it will have in NHS Property Services”.

GMB’s national officer Andy Prendergast said “The GMB are very happy to be part of this ground-breaking agreement. We look forward to positive working relations, both with management and our partner unions, to support our members to develop both personally and professionally.”

Marisa Howes, Managers in Partnership’s National Officer, said “MiP is delighted to have been involved in developing this Union Learning Agreement. It shows that NHS Property Services prioritises learning and development for its staff and a genuine commitment to work in partnership with the trade unions to ensure that all staff are able to develop to their full potential. We look forward to working together to make this agreement a reality.”

Christina McAnea, Unison’s Senior National Officer said “A big thank you to everyone for all the work they have put into making this agreement happen. Now it’s all about what we do to deliver on the words.”

“We are committed to being an employer of choice by empowering our staff to achieve their potential. All four of our union partners are well placed to promote the benefits of the Union Learning Agreement and their extensive practical experience will enable us to deliver, in partnership, the life-enhancing benefits of training to all our staff.” concludes Simon Holden.