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Royal Mail to recruit one of the UK’s largest intakes of apprentices

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Royal Mail has today announced the launch of its new Postal Apprenticeship scheme for would-be postmen and postwomen. Successful apprentices will achieve a Level 2 qualification.

The Postal Apprenticeship scheme is designed to provide participants not only with the required skills for a successful career within Royal Mail, but with a broad range of lasting transferable skills and experience. Areas such as customer services, industry knowledge, and lessons in financial budgeting and health and wellbeing will be covered.

Applicants who successfully complete the scheme will be offered a permanent role within the business.

Shortlisted applicants will have to complete a Situational Judgement Test, a virtual interview and will be invited to meet their line manager at the unit within which they will work.

The apprentices will receive local support from their line manager, a designated workplace coach and a buddy scheme as well as a mentor to support their career progression. Additionally, Royal Mail’s training provider, Babington, will support their pastoral care and oversee their progress against the apprenticeship standard.

The role will consist of day to day duties as a delivery postman or woman with additional time spent completing learning towards the apprenticeship. 80 percent of the apprenticeship will take the form of on-the-job training with the remaining 20 percent being online learning towards their Level 2 apprenticeship qualification.

Royal Mail has been running an apprenticeship programme successfully in fleet, engineering and other parts of the business for a number of years. However, the Postal Apprenticeship initiative represents one of the largest single apprenticeship programmes in the UK and reinforces the critical role Royal Mail plays in the communities it serves.

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The apprenticeship recruitment programme will run from September 2021 and will be 13 months in duration.

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Ricky McAulay, Operations Development Director, said: “We couldn’t be prouder to launch our Postal Apprenticeship Scheme at a time when the pandemic continues to take a heavy toll on career opportunities across the country. We’ve placed a real emphasis on ensuring that our scheme has a range of transferable skills so that successful candidates can take what they learn with them for the rest of their careers.

“Having started my work at Royal Mail as a Postal Cadet in 1986, I know the benefit that these initiatives can have on a career I look forward to seeing these aspiring apprentices join us at Royal Mail.”

The initial cohort of 500 apprentices will begin in September, with up to a further 500 roles being allocated across the business from in the new year.

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The scheme opens for applications on June 28. For more information, please visit the Early Careers section at: https://jobs.royalmailgroup.com/


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LGBT

New stamps celebrate 50 years of pride

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Royal Mail today revealed images of a new set of eight, vibrantly illustrated stamps, being issued to mark the 50th anniversary of the UK’s first Pride rally that took place on 1 July 1972.

Issued exactly 50 years to the day, the stamps celebrate the march that took place from Trafalgar Square to Hyde Park, which was the first to bear the name ‘Gay Pride Rally’. The march was inspired by events in the USA, where the first Pride events had taken place to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York.

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The stamps, specially commissioned by Royal Mail, were art directed by NB Studio and illustrated by award-winning artist Sofie Birkin. Her illustrations have featured in campaigns for brands such as Nike and Apple.

Royal Mail worked with journalist and published author Amelia Abraham on the stamp issue and also consulted with Royal Mail’s internal LGBT & Friends Network.

Beginning in 1972, the stamps tell a story of Pride over time. They depict the first ‘Gay Pride rally’ and early Pride events where participants shouted slogans such as, “Gay is fun! Gay is proud! Gay is beautiful!”, to the more recent update on the traditional rainbow flag, its design encompassing the flags of trans and intersex people, while also referencing the inclusion of LGBTQ+ people of colour.

David Gold, Director External Affairs & Policy, Royal Mail said: “The vibrant, colourful Pride events that take place in towns and cities across the UK today trace their origins to a small number of people who marched through central London half a century ago to raise awareness of discrimination and inequality. There have been huge changes in laws and social attitudes, but Pride events continue to play a key role in raising awareness of discrimination, as well as celebrating diversity and individualism.”

Pride animation

The designers of the stamps, NB Studio, have, in collaboration with animation studio, Animade, created a film using the illustrations featured in the stamp issue.

The film builds on the diverse and beautiful characters featured on the stamps and draws them together using rich storytelling throughout – which uses complex hand-drawn, frame by frame animation.

NB Studio selected Animade to bring Sofie Birkin’s illustrations to life – assisted by NB Studio’s writer Dan Radley, sound engineers Box of Toys Audio and voice actor Layton Williams.

Alan Dye, Creative Director at and owner of NB Studio, said “It was a real honour to be asked to design this iconic series for The Royal Mail, as they represent such an important part of British LGBTQ+ history. It was an absolute joy to work with Sofie Birkin who’s work we’ve admired for some time. Watching these beautiful illustrations come to life you could easily imagine yourself as part of the ‘March Through Time…’.

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Jennifer Judd, co-founder and Managing Director at Animade, said: “This was a joyous project for Animade to be part of and gave us an opportunity as part of our creative industry to do something beautiful to celebrate Pride and the diverse LGBTQ+ community. Animation adds an extra narrative dimension, which helped to bring this important project for Royal Mail to life.”

Pride in the UK from 1972 to the present

On 1 July 1972, a crowd of people gathered in London’s Trafalgar Square before marching to Hyde Park. This was not the first march for LGBTQ+ rights in the UK; similar protests had taken place in Highbury Fields, Islington, in 1970, and another in Trafalgar Square in 1971. But it was the first with the name ‘Gay Pride Rally’. The inspiration came from the USA, where the first Pride events had taken place to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall riots, the 1969 clash between the LGBTQ+ community and police in New York City. The spirit of Pride was one of defiant visibility. At London’s first event there was even a ‘kiss-in’ – a mass display of same-sex affection, while people at early Pride events chanted slogans such as, “Gay is fun! Gay is proud! Gay is beautiful!”

One of their demands was greater legal equality for gay people. Homosexuality was partially decriminalised in England and Wales in 1967, yet police arrests of gay and bisexual men remained common in the years following. Over the course of the first decade of Pride events, calls for basic safety and freedom were a priority; during Gay Pride Week in 1978, pamphlets were distributed to raise awareness of violent assaults on the LGBTQ+ community, such as the National Front’s then recent attack on the popular South London LGBTQ+ venue the Royal Vauxhall Tavern.

During the 1980s, an increased climate of homophobia in the wake of the AIDS epidemic meant that attacks on LGBTQ+ people in the UK continued. The health crisis also sparked new Pride events, such as Manchester Pride, which began as an AIDS fundraiser.

Throughout the 1990s, Pride spread across the UK. Pride Scotia launched in Scotland, with annual marches alternating between Edinburgh and Glasgow, and the first Cardiff Pride followed in 1999.  In the 2000s, attendance at Pride in London grew alongside increasing support for LGBTQ+ rights, and more events were launched under the Pride banner. In 2002, same-sex couples won the right to adopt; two years later, same-sex civil partnerships were legalised.

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In 2013, an even more historic shift took place when the law was changed to allow same-sex marriage. The following year, Pride began to attract large corporate sponsorships, signalling its increased mainstream acceptance. By 2015, Pride in London, as it was now known, attracted a million people, and it continued to grow in the years following, until Pride celebrations had to be cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Today, Pride in London remains the main event in the UK, though many others are flourishing across the country.

The stamps are available to pre-order from today (23 June) www.royalmail.com/prideby phone on 03457 641 641 and at 7,000 Post Offices across the UK. They go on general sale on 1 July. A Presentation Pack, containing all eight stamps, is priced at £12.96

Freddie Mercury’s childhood stamp album to be displayed at London’s Postal Museum:

The Postal Museum in London is to display one of Freddie Mercury’s childhood possessions – his stamp album – for the first time.

The album will be on display in the museum from 13 July until 30 October this year and is part of the celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the UK Pride movement. 

The 54-page album consists predominately of stamps from the British Commonwealth and reveals not only Freddie’s early life in Zanzibar, but also his artistic talent. 

For more information on the exhibition, visit www.postalmuseum.org/visit-us/

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Royal Mail

A new era for stamps: Shaun the Sheep features in UK’s first “video stamp”

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Royal Mail have announced that following a successful national trial, it is adding unique barcodes to all its Definitive stamps.

The move is part of the Company’s extensive and ongoing modernisation drive and will allow the unique barcodes to facilitate operational efficiencies, enable the introduction of added security features and pave the way for innovative services for customers.

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Scan the App for an exclusive video featuring Shaun the Sheep

Recipients of mail featuring a barcoded stamp can watch an exclusive video by scanning the stamps in the Royal Mail App. The video features Shaun the Sheep, created exclusively for Royal Mail by the multi-award-winning British animation studio, Aardman. The video is the first in a series of planned videos to be released during 2022 that will allow customers sending stamped mail to choose which video the recipient can see when they receive an item of mail.

The new barcoded stamps will have a digital twin and the two will be connected by the Royal Mail App. The barcodes match the stamp colour and sit alongside the main body of the stamp, separated by a simulated perforation line.

Definitive stamps are the regular ‘everyday’ stamps featuring the profile of HM The Queen created by the sculptor Arnold Machin. The design has changed very little since it was introduced in June 1967. The image has become one of the most iconic pieces of artwork in the world and has been reproduced in excess of 175 billion times.

Old stamps to expire

Non-barcoded Definitive and Christmas stamps will remain valid until 31 January 2023. Customers are encouraged to use their non-barcoded stamps before this date. Alternatively, non-barcoded stamps can be exchanged for the new barcoded version through Royal Mail’s ‘Swap Out’ scheme.

The ‘Swap Out’ scheme will open on 31 March 2022. Customers will be able send unused stamps via a Freepost address. Forms will be available via a variety of channels, including: local Customer Service Points; the Royal Mail website and via our Customer Experience team. Further details will be announced shortly.

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Nick Landon, Royal Mail Chief Commercial Officer said: “Introducing unique barcodes on our postage stamps allows us to connect the physical letter with the digital world and opens up the possibilities for a range of new innovative services in future.”

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Royal Mail

No printer? No problem! Royal Mail will now bring labels and collect your parcel from your door

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The move enables customers without a printer to feel the benefit of Parcel Collect, where posties collect parcels for delivery while carrying out their delivery round.

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The plans to deliver pre-printed labels are also aimed at bringing even more convenience to customers who are increasingly time-poor and may not want to leave home to drop off a parcel or wait in queues – especially during the cold winter months. As the festive season approaches, it promises to be one of the most convenient ways to post presents this Christmas.

Under Parcel Collect, customers arrange for their postie to collect their parcel from their doorstep. Customers using the service simply have to book a collection online (https://www.royalmail.com/collection) then signal whether they would like to order a self-adhesive, pre-printed postage label to affix to their parcel*. As part of the service, postmen and postwomen will collect a parcel from the customer’s door or nominated safe place.

Through Parcel Collect, Royal Mail collects from customers at their doorstep as part of our postmen and women’s daily round, which means no additional vehicles on the road resulting in fewer additional emissions and less congestion. With the UK’s largest “Feet on the Street” network of over 85,000 postmen and women, Royal Mail already has the lowest reported CO2e emissions per parcel amongst major UK delivery companies. 

As well as offering even higher levels of convenience, Parcel Collect enables online sellers and online shoppers to mail or return a pre-paid item by post from the comfort of their own home. Parcel Collect is available six days a week and can be booked up to five days in advance and up to midnight the day before. Parcel Collect is currently priced at 60p per item, inclusive of VAT, in addition to postage costs.

Nick Landon, Chief Commercial Officer at Royal Mail, said: “Every day our posties walk past every house in the country at about the same time. People know when their postie is going to deliver and now they can send or return parcels at the same time. If people aren’t going to be in, they can leave their item in a safe place for our postie to collect it and now if they don’t have a printer at home, they can ask their postie to bring the label with them. How convenient is that! As the nights continue to draw in and the weather gets worse, why go out when you can stay safe and warm and leave the hard work to your friendly local postie. And even better, many of our deliveries and collections are carried out by posties who walk their rounds – the greenest way to send and return.”

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The nationwide launch of label-less collections follows a trial of the service in four areas of the UK earlier in the year.

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