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Warrington & Vale Royal College joins Usdaw, the UK’s fifth largest trade union, in congratulating Charlie Gough for winning this year’s Trades Union Congress Youth Award

For over twenty years, Warrington & Vale Royal College has trained thousands of trade union representatives who, in that time, have worked tirelessly to improve the lives of their members. This involves creating safer workspaces, improving terms and conditions, promoting equality and providing educational opportunities in the workplace.

Pictured above: Charlie and Usdaw General Secretary Paddy Lillis

One such representative is Charlie Gough. Charlie first became an Usdaw trade union representative in late 2021 as part of his role at a Tesco store, and began his training with Warrington & Vale Royal College in 2022. Since then, Charlie has jumped at the opportunity to complete every course offered to him by the college as part of its trade union education programme.

Charlie instantly excelled in his role and within just twelve months was awarded ‘Most Promising New Activist’ by the union, who described him as being a ‘standout rep in the region’. Fast-forward to September 2023 and Charlie is now winning awards on a national scale, with his most recent accolade being the Trades Union Congress Youth Award.

Paddy Lillis, Usdaw General Secretary, said in an online article published by the organisation: “I was delighted to nominate Charlie and we are very proud that he has won the award. Charlie is a great Usdaw lay rep. He has greatly improved union membership in his workplace and supported many colleagues when they need help.”

He continues: “Charlie’s proudest role in Usdaw is the work he carried out on our North West Young Workers’ Committee. The committee was rebuilding after the pandemic and his enthusiasm shone through, growing committee membership by bringing other young people in the region to play a more active role. He has also started a fully digital newsletter, written by young workers for young workers to help spread the message and keep people informed.”

Charlie advocates for young people, noting that they are vulnerable to being given less favourable tasks and shifts, and often for a lesser wage. Through his work with the trade union, Charlie hopes to contribute towards creating a more level playing field, where young workers are treated fairly. To do this, he strongly encourages young people to become a member of a trade union, so that they can access advice and support when needed.

Alongside his work at Tesco, Charlie studied towards a degree in History and Politics at the University of Liverpool, from which he officially graduates in December. On balancing his university studies with both working and taking on additional responsibilities as a representative, Charlie credits Warrington & Vale Royal College who made this easy for him. He is incredibly grateful to the college for its help and support, noting that this without doubt helped him go on to achieve his recent national recognition.

He is particularly complimentary of Rick Cayzer, Curriculum Manager for Trade Union Education at the college, who left a lasting impression with his teaching. Charlie describes Rick and fellow college tutor Kerry as being absolutely brilliant and insists he wouldn’t be where he is now without their support.

Rick echoed Charlie’s positive sentiment, saying: “Charlie is typical of the many representatives that we train, who go on to discover untapped skills and knowledge that they use to develop themselves and improve the lives of others. I’m sure Charlie will continue to go on to bigger and better things, and become more involved with Usdaw in the future.”

Warrington & Vale Royal College would like to wish Charlie the very best of luck with his future endeavours and like Rick, the college is sure he has a promising and bright future ahead.

Read more about Charlie's national award

If you are an organisation with a trade union and would like to learn more about the training packages Warrington & Vale Royal College can provide, please contact Rick Cayzer by emailing: