Best-selling author, former SAS soldier and Reading Agency Ambassador Andy McNab continues to support the transformational work of the Six Book Challenge in workplaces around the country.
He visited Tesco York Extra on 7 November, where employees have been successfully completing the Challenge, led by Usdaw Learning representatives in partnership with management.
Meeting Six Book Challenge participants at the store, Andy McNab did question and answer sessions and signed copies of his latest novel Silencer and Quick Read title, Today Everything Changes. The latter tells his own literacy journey from borstal to top author via the army, which he joined at 17 with the reading age of an 11 year old.
Following his visit, Andy, who was the official champion for the 2013 Six Book Challenge said: "We all want to have the best chances in life but reading and writing with confidence are key to this. The Six Book Challenge is a fantastic way for people at work to improve their skills at the same time as enjoying reading and talking about it with their colleagues and friends".
The Six Book Challenge has been offered and supported by Usdaw at both Tesco stores in York since 2007, with over 300 people undertaking it over the years.
The Six Book Challenge got me back into reading
"I hadn't read a book since school, to be honest: I just hadn't had the time. But when I decided to promote the Six Book Challenge I thought I'd better take part. It was easier than I thought," says Austin Grant, unionlearn representative and Six Book Challenge completer. "I'd been given a Chris Moyles book for my birthday two years ago, which I'd never got round to reading, but the Six Book Challenge got me back into reading, and I'm going to keep going." (Austin Grant with Andy McNab and John McAlpine, Tesco director of operations in the North.)
"The Six Book Challenge is a key way in which Usdaw union learning representatives can promote literacy in the workplace," says Martyn Warwick, Usdaw lifelong learning national coordinator. "Encouraging people to read and improve their skills is an excellent way of leading people into more formal literacy courses. This link between the informal and formal kinds of learning in the workplace is one of the key elements around Usdaw's strategy for progression and improving the literacy and numeracy skills of our members."
"Too many adults feel they have no time to read for pleasure," says David Kendall, programme manager for the Six Book Challenge and adult literacy work. "With the Six Book Challenge, staff at Tesco Extra have proved that the world of work and the world of the reader can complement each other, giving greater opportunities for learning, relaxation and creativity."
Nationally 1500 people have taken part in the 2013 Six Book Challenge via their workplace, and that figure looks set to grow for 2014.
"I have always valued the inner confidence that enjoying reading gives you. Through supporting the Six Book Challenge Tesco has a role to play in getting more people to feel that confidence, as they find what reading has to offer them'' says John McAlpine, Tesco operations director for the North.
TUCs and workplaces can run the 2014 Six Book Challenge by purchasing materials from our shop.
Please contact Genevieve.Clarke@readingagency.org.uk or David.Kendall@readingagency.org.uk with any questions about running the Six Book Challenge at a workplace.
Read about how Manchester Libraries, Transpennine Express and the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers worked together to run the 2013 Six Book Challenge. And read about how national unions have been promoting the challenge.