17 Jul 2019

Apprenticeship Essentials


I’ve been working with unionlearn to create a range of new tools for apprentices and those thinking of becoming apprentices. Called Apprenticeship Essentials, this suite of online resources can be accessed either via a dedicated app or on through the unionlearn website. Apprenticeship Essentials has range of features, from pay checking and guidance to elearning and job vacancies. Some of these require registration, but all are free to use. There are guides to apprenticeship basics, entering the world of work, employment rights and how trade unions can help in the workplace. There is also a
15 Jul 2016

TUC Communication Awards 2016


It’s the time of year when the TUC give out their awards for the best use of communications amongst unions. I’m always interested in the digital categories to see how unions are developing their websites and other tools. There is one big change this year. Previously there were two digital categories – best website and best e-communications. This year, they have been merged into one: ‘best membership communication – digital’. I think this is a shame. It reduces the proportion of the awards focused on digital at a time when unions should be encouraged as much as possible to grasp the inevitable
23 Jan 2014

Apps vs responsive websites


“Should we develop an app or a mobile friendly website?” I’m increasingly coming across this question. It’s important to understand the pros and cons of each approach. Against a background of rapid growth in the use of smartphones and tablets, many organisations are unsure about the best way to target users on these devices. Apps are one obvious way to engage with this audience. However, HTML5, the latest version of the mark-up language that powers websites, has been pushing the growth in responsive website design, making more websites accessible to smartphone and tablets. Responsive design
28 Aug 2013

The Climbing Frame App


A new addition to the world of trade union Apps has just been released. TUC unionlearn’s popular Climbing Frame website, an online service primarily aimed at Union Learning Reps, has been launched as an App. The App is another way of accessing the same information as on the website, allowing Union Learning Reps and other learner managers to access learning content and manage the progress of learners. The Climbing Frame is a long established tool, created by the TUC’s learning and skills organisation unionlearn. It’s most recent form - that of a website-based service - has proved popular with
13 Mar 2013

Union apps


With a large increase in the number of people using mobile computer devices like smartphones and tablets, unions are increasingly looking at the opportunities presented by developing their own apps. [Please note, as many of these apps have now been closed, the links to the App Stores have been removed from this blog.] This is something I'm seeing firsthand as I've been working more and more on apps recently, with the launch of Prospect's new Apprenticeship App and a new app project underway with Unionlearn. While the increase in mobile devices has led to significant growth in the number of
11 Mar 2013

Apprenticeship jobs & guide app


I’ve recently been working with Prospect and Unionlearn to develop an app aimed at people doing or considering doing an apprenticeship. It's just been officially launched to coincide with National Apprenticeship Week 2013 (March 11th to 15th). It’s available on Android smartphones and tablets, and the iPhone/iPad. The objective was to create an app that apprentices and would-be-apprentices would find useful and want to download, but also to give advice about their rights at work (such as health and safety, minimum rates of pay and what should be covered in an apprenticeship contract). Our
26 Apr 2012

The 'Girls Around Me' app


The recent furore over the ‘Girls Around Me’ smartphone app illustrates the increasing ease with which our movements can be tracked. The app was developed by Russian developer i-free and enabled people who had downloaded the app to view a map of women in the local area, along with names and even background information like relationship status, depending on the user’s privacy setting. The people who made the app were not illegally hacking into anyone’s system, but simply using publicly available information from services like Foursquare and Facebook. Foursquare is a system that lets people