Nikki Simpson award for learning 2021

The award will be presented to the NEU Union Learning Rep (ULR) chosen for making a difference and changing people's lives through union learning. The award-winning ULR or team of members will have demonstrated one or more of the following:

  • Used learning as an organising tool to recruit more members and engaged members in the work of the union
  • Supported members and helped them to overcome barriers to learning
  • Negotiated with employers to increase learning opportunities for all education staff

Why is it called the Nikki Simpson award?

This award is named after Nikki Simpson who was an exceptionally talented and passionate Learning and Development Organiser for the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) in the Eastern Region.  Sadly, her life was cut short by pancreatic cancer at the age of 48 in 2017. In 2006, before she even worked for a union and was working in the financial sector, she became the first person to receive the TUC’s Union Learning Rep award. The award was presented to her by the then Prime Minister Tony Blair.  She brought the passion and belief for both the power of learning and unions to the ATL, and this award was created in her honour to celebrate achievements within Union Learning. 

Nikki devoted her whole energy to whatever she was doing, creating learning opportunities for hundreds of members in her region and building the union’s presence wherever she went. This award recognises the transformational impact that union learning has both for our members, and the union as a whole. It is granted to individual members or groups of members who have made significant and exemplary contributions to union learning.

“I have seen co-workers and families brought together by union learning, I have seen laughter and success. I have worked with innovative people who deliver innovative learning in innovative ways to their members… and those people are unions.” - quote from a blog written by Nikki upon winning the TUCs Union Learning Rep Award in 2006


Nomination for this award is open until 8 December 2021. Please click here to register.

Previous Winners

2018 - Liz Mills (Eastern Region)

2019 - Brian Metcalf (Northern Region)

Liz Mills,  Nikki Simpson Award for Learning 2019.

(Liz Mills, first winner of the Nikki Simpson Award being presented her certificate at the first NEU conference)