From education to employment

South West TUC Run “E Path to Learning to Support Learning Development in Region

The learndirect cooperation with the Trade Unions Congress (TUC) Trade Union Hubs took another step forward as the South West TUC announced it is running a Union Learning Fund project until April 2007.

It is intended for this to support the establishment of a trade union hub in the South West. The Trade Union learndirect Hub has been a huge success in its ongoing mission to develop workplace learning centres and bring more union members into learning. The expansion in the South West is part of the national strategy that has been established to support the excellent work being done in the regions.

The Mission

The establishment of a regional trade union / learndirect centre to support the network of union workplace learning centres that access learndirect is the priority of the project, providing for some unification of initiative and vision across the different centres. The centres will stress the importance of bringing learners in the workplace who have not yet achieved Level 2 qualifications, thus agreeing with the Government’s policy of ensuring Level 2 training and qualifications for all.

The programme will also aim to address the needs of those who require additional skills for support in their everyday lives, thus serving an important inclusive role. The “e path to learning” project will additionally promote both the initial and further training of Union Learning Representatives (ULRs), who are vital parts of the new learning centres. This will seek to make lifelong learning accessible to all, including women, shift workers, part time workers and black and minority ethnic workers within the workplace.

The Centres

The first centre is the Wiltshire Trade Union Studies Centre at the New College in Swindon, which has also been chosen as the pilot site for the new Union Academy. The centre is already open to learners, and the staff at the centre are excited at the partnership with Trade Unions and regional organisations. They seek to offer high quality ICT and Skills for Life learning opportunities for all union members and employees within unionised workplaces.

It can often be problematic for those with hectic and busy schedules both at work and in their personal lives to find the time to train. The Wiltshire Trade Union studies centre is committed to operating flexibly to meet these concerns, allowing participants to study on ““ line, face to face, at home or in the centre. All participants will be able to gain qualifications from the process.

All of this is within the framework of training workplace reps to promote good industrial relations, and marks a significant step forward in the provision of training opportunities for people within the workplace.

Jethro Marsh

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