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Union Learning Fund

Volume 470: debated on Thursday 24 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills pursuant to the answer of 12 December 2007, Official Report, columns 754-55W, on Union Learning Fund, by what means trained union learning representatives help workers back into learning under the Union Learning Fund. (178341)

Union learning representatives (ULRs) are lay union representatives; whose main function is to advise union members about their training, educational and development needs. Since the launch of the Union Learning Fund (ULF) in 1998, and the introduction of statutory rights for ULRs to train and carry out their duties in 2003, more than 18,000 ULRs have been trained. Latest figures show that last year they helped over 150,000 workers into learning through a wide variety of ULF projects.

ULRs are trained to an approved standard by Unionlearn, the TUC’s learning organisation, or their own union to carry out their role in engaging, supporting and helping workers back into learning. This training provides the ULRs with a wide range of skills to help fellow workers back into learning including:

starting conversations at work about the importance of learning and showing that everyone can benefit from improving their skills;

carrying out informal group and one to one interviews in the workplace to find out the learning needs of workers, how these can best be addressed, including where and when;

carrying out Skills for Life screening to identify any literacy or numeracy needs in a relaxed non threatening way to allay any fears individuals may have;

working closely with training providers to customise the content of learning programmes and arranging how and when the learning can be delivered on a flexible basis to enable the widest participation;

supporting (earners who may have missed a few sessions of learning and encouraging them to continue by helping to address any needs which may have arisen;

working with employers to set up a learning centre in the workplace.

These are just some of the ways in which ULRs can help workers into learning, but perhaps most important is their ability to engage with those hard to reach learners who might otherwise be too embarrassed to admit their learning needs to an employer or supervisor but who trust a fellow worker who understands their point of view. In that sense, ULRs help to stimulate a demand for learning and training among a group which employers and training providers find it so difficult to reach.

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many education or training places were funded through the Union Learning Fund in each year since 1998; and how many of these led to qualifications at level (a) 2 and (b) 3. (178575)

The Union Learning Fund (ULF) is a source of funding to help trade unions boost their capacity as learning organisations and use their influence with employers, employees and learning providers to encourage greater take up of learning in the workplace. It is not used to fund the provision of training courses but enables trade unions and their union learning representatives to provide advice, guidance and support in order to help workers access learning opportunities to improve their skill levels.

With the help of ULF, trade unions and their union learning representatives have been really successful in working with employers to help people get back into learning, tackling both organisational and individual skill needs. There are now over 18,000 trained union learning representatives who have helped over 400,000 workers back into learning since the fund was introduced in 1998 there were over 150,000 last year alone, many of whom were Skills for Life learners, those most in need of new skills who employers and training providers find it so difficult to reach.

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what the 10 most expensive projects funded under the Union Learning Fund were in each year since 1998; and how much each cost. (178582)

Trade unions have a key role to play in promoting the development of learning and skills in the workplace. To help them do this more effectively we introduced the Union Learning Fund (ULF) in 1998. This source of funding is helping trade unions use their influence with employers, employees and training providers to encourage greater take up of learning at work and boost their own capacity as learning organisations. The 10 projects that were awarded the most funding through the ULF in each financial year since 1998 are set out in the following tables identified by the lead union.

Project/union

£

1998-99

GMB

148,349

AEEU

139,500

USDAW

113,550

GPMU

97,000

MSF

80,135

UNIFI

56,400

MU

50,000

NUJ

50,000

T&G

50,000

UCATT

50,000

1999-2000

GMB

188,210

AEEU

116,065

MSF

162,144

GPMU

158,009

T&G

155,680

Unison

137,325

ISTC

100,733

USDAW

94,450

CWU

87,950

PCS

84,500

2000-01

Unison

560,894

GPMU

345,535

MSF

343,720

GMB

343,217

AEEU

246,350

T&G

201,236

NUJ

176,800

UCATT

167,000

CATU

118,808

NUT

117,750

2001-02

GMB

1,079,568

Unison

831,704

NUT

534,871

T&G

421,540

GPMU

341,804

USDAW

234,892

AEEU

222,450

CWU

210,300

BFAWU

182,206

MSF

161,981

2002-03

AEEU

1,325,481

Unison

1,198,095

GPMU

889,889

GMB

850,049

CWU

848,000

MSF

835,361

T&G

426,128

BFAWU

354,745

NUJ

349,700

ASLEF

280,000

2003-04

USDAW

1,263,981

NASUWT

1,234,029

UNIFI

1,173,347

T&G

891,133

GMB

794,766

POA

691,913

NUT

611,350

GFTU

521,000

PCS

463,081

MSF

427,428

2004-05

GPMU

1,781,950

Rail unions

1,514,600

Amicus

1,478,900

FBU

1,144,000

BFAWU

850,725

Unison

801,600

T&G

588,933

PCS

570,216

UCATT

565,766

GMB

342,522

2005-06

T&G

2,319,299

GMB

1,933,208

UCATT

510,436

Community

380,658

GFTU

249,445

ATL

221,649

PCS

215,000

MU

196,685

BELTU

194,559

USDAW

152,000

2006-07

Amicus

3,414,517

Unison

2,212,528

Rail unions

1,971,951

PCS

1,366,020

FBU

1,248,168

BFAWU

1,190,233

USDAW

1,166,231

CWU

1,138,438

GMB

931,835

POA

883,360

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much was paid under the Union Learning Fund to (a) ASLEF, (b) BECTU, (c) BFAWU, (d) Community, (e) CWU, (f) GMB, (g) MU, (h) NACODS, (i) NUM, (j) TSSA, (k) UCATT, (l) UNISON, (m) UNITE, (n) UNITY and (o) USDAW in each year since 1998. (178577)

Trade unions have a key role to play in promoting the development of learning and skills in the workplace. To help them do this more effectively, we introduced the Union Learning Fund (ULF) in 1998. This funding is helping trade unions use their influence with employees, employers and training providers to encourage greater take-up of learning at work and boost their own capacity as learning organisations. The table sets out how much ULF funding has been awarded to the specific unions in each financial year from 1998/99 up to 2006/07.

£

Union

1998/99

1999/2000

2000/01

2001/02

2002/03

2003/04

2004/05

2005/06

2006/07

ASLEF

50,000

93,250

88,200

280,000

126,000

BECTU

44,000

40,000

59,000

50,934

146,254

57,600

43,200

194,559

BFAWU

34,000

65,946

49,562

182,206

354,745

359,168

850,725

1,190,233

COMMUNITY

380,658

CWU

87,950

50,000

210,300

848,000

100,000

1,138,438

GMB

148,349

188,210

343,217

1,079,568

850,049

794,766

342,522

1,933,208

931,835

MU

50,000

50,000

38,365

38,300

196,685

NACODS

NUM

TSSA

75,000

UCATT

50,000

52,000

167,000

50,000

240,599

40,797

566,766

510,436

UNISON

137,325

560,894

831,704

1,198,095

33,210

801,600

130,000

2,212,528

UNITY/CATU

43,482

118,808

70,070

101,000

AMICUS

1,478,900

3,414,517

AEEU

139,500

166,065

246,350

222,450

1,325,481

67,639

MSF

80,135

162,144

343,720

161,981

835,361

427,428

GPMU

97,000

158,009

345,535

341,804

889,889

240,133

1,781,950

UNIFI

56,400

19,000

68,200

82,800

1,173,347

T and G

50,000

155,680

201,236

421,540

426,128

891,133

588,933

2,319,299

863,600

The recently formed trade union UNITE has not yet received any ULF funding so details have been included of the funding awarded to those unions which have merged to form UNITE—AMICUS, T and G, GPMU, AEEU, MSF and UNIFI.