UNISON, the UKs largest trade union, has partnered with the national charity Young Gamers & Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) to provide their members with expert training on gambling and gaming-related harms.

As part of a £10 million National Gambling Education Programme supported by members of the Betting & Gaming Council, the charity is providing free accredited workshops and resources to anyone who works with or cares for young people. Research from the Children’s Commissioner shows 93% of children play video games and Gambling Commission research shows there 55,000 11-16 years olds classified as problem gamblers in England, Scotland and Wales.

Designed to build digital resilience, the workshops cover key information on gaming and gambling in the UK. The resources will provide UNISON members with the tools needed to safeguard young people from the potential risks of gambling and gaming-related harm, including lesson plans, activities, signs to look out for and information on where to go for advice and support. All training sessions have been externally evaluated and are assured by the principle awarding bodies, City & Guilds and ASDAN.

Due to the COVID19 pandemic, YGAM has accelerated the digital transformation of their training so it can be delivered online. UNISON members can book onto the free session by visiting the YGAM website – https://www.ygam.org/book-a-workshop/.

Commenting on the partnership Teresa Donegan, Head of Learning and Organising at UNISON said: “We are really pleased to have developed this relationship with YGAM, their training and resources are really excellent and will be an invaluable resource to our members to support them in their work with young people across public services whether it be in youth, community or social services or in the further or higher education sector.”

UNISON has over 1.3 million members and have initially organised for YGAM to run several national sessions and hope to follow this up with a host of regional training through the UNISON regional education teams across the country.

Stevie Milward one of UNISON’s national Learning and Workforce Development Officers recently attended the training and was shocked at how gambling-related behaviour is encouraged by many computer and mobile games and the ease with which young children can become accustomed to it. “Many parents won’t realise what their children are being subjected to on a regular basis and it is great to be able to have the ability to work with those practitioners that deal with children and young people (and their parents in some instances) on a daily basis, in their work, so that they can pass on the education they receive from the training to help keep those young people safer.” said Stevie.

Kev Clelland, Operations Director at YGAM, said: “We are delighted to be working with UNISON. We are constantly listening to the needs of practitioners and young people and it is very clear from these conversations that the workers that UNISON represents need and appreciate our resources more than ever.  YGAM’s vision is for all young and vulnerable people to be safe from gaming and gambling related harms and this collaboration will help us reach thousands of young people to raise awareness of the potential risks of gambling and gaming related harm.”

YGAM recently launched a new leading-edge ‘Parent Hub’ website to provide resources and expert advice around gaming and gambling to support families to build up their children’s resilience and establish a healthy online/offline balance. The new website has received endorsements from parents, teachers, safeguarding officers and the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) who labelled the resources ‘vitally important’ for parents. www.parents.ygam.org