Trade Union Learning Agreements
Making your learning initiatives sustainable – this means that new members are more likely to stay in the union. There is a number of strong evidence of the positive impact of trade unions on support for improved access to training and development in the workplace. Union members have far more training and development opportunities, with the most recent statistics showing that 39 per cent do so, compared to only 23 per cent of non-unionized workers. In other words, almost four out of ten trade unionists receive regular vocational training, compared to just over two out of ten non-union members. Lifelong learning cannot be “made” to members – think creatively about how you associate them with your project or activity. And don`t forget that many people who go through apprenticeships in union activism then go into other roles within the union. The EU`s initiatives on learning and skills “create” added value for the trade union map and provide a great showcase for the positive work of trade unions. Ensure that members and non-members are aware of your successes and the role the union has played in carrying out your learning project or learning activity. So make it known what you`re doing: the TUC continues to champion the government to support the development of the workforce skills needed to support the transition to a low-carbon economy. Unionlearn is also actively committed to promoting the role of trade union representatives in this regard, both through employment-level bargaining strategies and through union engagement in green skills partnerships across communities and sectors. For more information on the role representatives can play in promoting green skills, visit the unionlearn website. Starting in 2013, many adults aged 24 and over – including apprentices – will have to take out new HE-style loans to finance level 3 or 4 university or training courses.
The “Advanced Learning Loans” generally have the same repayment rules as for university loans. Unionlearn has published a guide that outlines how loans work for workers who might consider accessing these loans for apprenticeship and vocational training. The guide and associated resources also explain where additional and more authoritative information and advice can be obtained, as well as advice on negotiating strategies to ensure that these loans are not used to replace employer funding for vocational training. Unionlearn has been responsible for managing the ULF since April 2007. Each year, nearly a quarter of a million workers are helped with apprenticeships or training with union support, facilitated by the ULF. Trade union projects support a wide range of learning and training, including continuing education; ICT courses English and basic math courses; Apprenticeship, vocational training, higher education and many other forms of informal and formal courses. Unionlearn continues to support union representatives in inter-professional bodies, including sector skills councils and industrial partnerships. Unionlearn also works closely with unions to identify suitable candidates for representation on the boards of directors and sub-committees of sector committees and to strengthen the voice of trade unions where possible. These sectoral institutions no longer receive core direct funding as in the past, resulting in closures and mergers in recent years.
When developing your workplace learning project, you need to identify the specific learning needs and problems of your members or potential members.