From education to employment

Union wants more action to solve UK skills crisis

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) last week called on more action from employers in addressing the UK’s skills crisis.

TUC Deputy General Secretary, Frances O” Grady, spoke at a “Skills for Life” conference held last Friday, 3rd November, jointly hosted by the National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy, and the Department for Education and Skills (DfES).

She said: “Unions, together with unionlearn, are playing a crucial part in supporting people so that they can get access to courses and tackle their problems with numeracy or literacy. When unions work together with good employers, time and time again, we have seen that we can raise peoples skills levels, which can increase productivity, but also increases the employees self-confidence”.

“It’s a win-win situation, where employers get a happier, more productive and loyal workforce and employees feel valued and can explore their full potential”.

The union has called for greater employer commitment to alleviate the “five million adults who are functionally illiterate and the ten million who struggle with numeracy”, according to a statement released last week.

She highlighted the important principle exemplified by “Skills for Life”, together with a resounding commendation on the role played by unionlearn in supporting unions and members to access courses. unionlearn is the learning and skills organisation of the TUC.

She added: “There is no more satisfying part of my job than meeting ordinary working people who, through their union, have become literate and numerate for the first time. I”ve met mothers and fathers who have told me what a pleasure it was to read to their kids and low-paid workers no longer at the mercy of loan sharks, because they are no in charge of their own finances”.

“Skills for Life really does make a crucial difference for the thousands of people who now have the knowledge to make their own choices”.

And in related news, a new report has found that over 4,000 Union Learning Representatives (ULR) in the North West of England are playing a “crucial role” in tackling the region’s skills crisis.

Dave Eva, North West Regional Manager of unionlearn, commented on the publication: “This important piece of research reveals what good business, the LSC, the North West Development Agency and unions can do working together. These findings show us how to further support and increase the number of union learning reps in the North West from over 4,000″.

He added: “Union learning in the workplace is good for business: it increases employees” self-confidence and it tackles the skills crisis that the UK is facing”.

To read a copy of the report, click here.

Vijay Pattni.

Next week only on FE News: We ask FE leaders how they would spend the Learning and Skills Councils £11 billion budget

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