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New director joins unionlearn with a rallying call to employers

Tom Wilson is the director of unionlearn

More employers need to work with trade unions on workplace training to combat the recession, the newly-appointed director of unionlearn, Tom Wilson, has urged.

The new director will take up his role at unionlearn, the TUC’s learning and skills organisation, after the retirement of Liz Smith OBE.

Ms Smith, who has also been a tireless writer for FE News for more than a year, oversaw the success of more than 23,000 union learning representatives being trained, surpassing a targeted 22,000 over a year early.

However, Mr Wilson believes too many employers are still missing out on the advantages of partnership, which will make their businesses more efficient to help counter the effects of the economic downturn and make use of its eventual upturn.

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He said: “While unions and union learning reps work with some employers who are extremely supportive of learning in the workplace, there are still many employers who are missing a trick by not reaping the rewards of working with union learning reps. Evidence shows that those organisations which work with unions on learning often see a decrease in industrial disputes, sickness and absence rates and an increase in retention.

“Taking over as director of unionlearn in the present climate is indeed a great challenge, but unionlearn, unions and union learning reps are determined to continue to give working people the chance to improve their lives through learning.”

Mr Wilson was previously head of TUC’s organisational and services department, and before then led NATFHE’s (now part of UCU) Universities Department for five years.

(Pictured: Tom Wilson, the new director of unionlearn)


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