From education to employment

Conference highlights workplace learning.

Skills Secretary John Denham will today speak alongside TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber and TUC Deputy General Secretary Frances O”Grady at a conference celebrating the diversity of unionlearn’s projects. John Denham will also present eight prestigious unionlearn Quality Awards to providers in the learning world who are committed to working with trade unions.

Today will also see the launch of Local Heroes – the importance of ULRs, a new six-minute unionlearn DVD. Produced to encourage individuals to re-engage in learning, the film features footage of Frizlands learning centre in Dagenham, London, Hayley Pickles, a ULR in Scarborough and Pat McIlvogue, the TUC’s Union Learning Rep (ULR) of the Year, who has seen a quarter of the staff at Rolls Royce in Renfrewshire go through courses. The film also features praise for the work of ULRs and unionlearn from John Denham and David Lammy MP, Minister for Skills.

The Supporting Union Learners Conference – Partnerships for Diversity event will celebrate the successes of unionlearn’s EQUAL-supported diversity partnership projects and showcase how unions are reaching a more diverse range of learners. Sonia Mullins will speak about diversity in workplace from her experience as a ULR at Metroline. One particularly successful project has been the establishment of disability champions and there are now over 750 in workplaces throughout the country.

Trade unions have been at the forefront of reaching out to and supporting learners in workplaces across the country, some of whom have often been described as “hard to reach”. The conference will celebrate the successes of over 18,000 Union Learning Representatives (ULRs) who have encouraged over 150,000 people to re-engage with learning with some stunning results. Around the country individuals have taken up courses, which has led to increased confidence, promotions, the discovery of new talents, and a hunger for more learning.

DIUS Secretary of State, the Right Honourable John Denham MP said: “Union Learning Reps are the workplace friends of learning and ambassadors for skills. I would like to congratulate Union Learning Reps and all those learners who have taken that brave first step, gone back into education and made life better for themselves and their families. Only through improving workers skills can we compete in the global economy and the work that unionlearn and unions are doing to spread the culture of workplace learning is vital.”

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber agreed: “Trade unions are tackling one of the country’s biggest crises – the skills gap. Unions, unionlearn and over 18,000 Union Learning Reps are bringing second and even third chances at education to the workforce, which benefits individuals and their families, employers, and the UK economy.”

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