Helping learners to develop their skills and progress

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Issue 5, March 2015


Welcome to the Supporting Learners Newsletter from unionlearn.  This electronic publication has been produced to keep you up to date with news, developments and resources that will help support learners in the workplace.

National Apprenticeship Week 2015

This week is National Apprenticeship Week (NAW).  National Apprenticeship Week is co-ordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service (part of the Skills Funding Agency) and is designed to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.

National Apprenticeship Week 2015 is all about:


  • getting more small businesses to take on apprentices
  • promoting the range and breadth of apprenticeships on offer, including those at higher level and within blue chip companies
  • celebrating apprenticeships and the level of success that learners can achieve.
Unionlearn is hosting a number of events including the Voices of Apprentices conference where we will bring apprentices together to discuss their experiences, explore challenges that young people face and highlight elements which make Apprenticeships high quality.

From the website you can access an online event map and also an apprenticeships quiz where you and your colleagues can test their knowledge of apprenticeships.  Visit the website for more information about National Apprenticeship Week 2015.


Online guides for Working in the UK

The TUC has launched some online guides to help combat the exploitation of migrant workers.  Working in the UK is available in 13 languages including Polish, Bulgarian and Russian.  The guide provides workers with information and guidance in their own language on issues such as pay, employment contracts, working hours and health and safety. 

In the last issue of Supporting Learners News we featured a new ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) module entitled ESOL: Language for life and work.  It is a self-study module which aims to help reps think about how to build ESOL awareness and develop learning opportunities.  It contains a wide range of information resources and activities along with videos and case studies.

These two resources complement each other well and will be invaluable resources for those working outside of their home country.


ESOL: Language for life and work online publication which is available from the unionlearn website.

Unions helped more than 185,000 learners in 2014

The latest figures from unionlearn show that unions have helped over 185,000 learners access learning via the union route.  This includes English and maths learners, apprentices and learners engaged in continuous professional development (CPD).

Figures from unionlearn's Quarter 3 Performance Report, which covers the nine-month period from 1 April to 31 December 2014, includes the work of unions working on Union Learning Fund (ULF) funded projects, as well as unionlearn and TUC Education directly.

The report highlights unions' learning and skills successes, including:


  • 13,323 learners engaged in English and maths learning
  • 22,486 learners on ICT courses
  • 27,841 learners benefiting from CPD
  • 28,146 learners engaged in informal adult and community learning
  • 27,934 union reps (excluding union learning reps (ULRs) trained via TUC Education
  • 634 new ULRs completing initial stage 1 training
  • 52 new learning centres opened
  • 107 new employer learning agreements signed.
Visit the unionlearn website for further information about the work and achievements of unionlearn and ULF.

Adult Learners' Week 2015

This year's Adult Learners' Week will take place from the 13th until the 19th of June.  The theme for Adult Learners' Week 2015 is 'Shaping our future' which focuses on the vital role of learning and development in building resilient, forward-thinking and creative workplaces.

Adult Learners' Week is a national celebration of the transformational impact that learning has on people of all ages, from all walks of life and in all parts of the country.

Adult Learners' Week is an ideal opportunity to inspire people to take up learning, promote courses and resources that are available and show how learning can change lives.

There are a range of free downloadable resources that are available from the Adult Learners' Week website to help promote your events, including posters, logos, web buttons and frequently asked questions.  On the website you can find out how you can get involved and access an online events diary.  Now is a good time to start thinking about what you might like to do in your workplace.


Helping young people into work: Raising the quality and quantity of Apprenticeships

Unionlearn have produced a new publication entitled Helping young people into work: Raising the quality and quantity of apprenticeships which highlights the Union Learning Fund (ULF) project work and impact on apprenticeships.  The publication provides information about the function of the unionlearn Strategy Team and contains examples of unionlearn regional apprenticeship activities that have recently taken place.

The booklet contains a useful Charter for Apprenticeships and information about a number of apprenticeship resources that are available including the unionlearn Apprenticeships eNote.  There is a section on Traineeships and there are a wide range of interesting case studies from a variety of unions, sectors and organisations.

The publication is available to download from the unionlearn website.

To access the unionlearn Apprenticeships eNote, electronic update for reps, visit the TUC Education website.


Unionlearn Blog

Each week unionlearn are posting a range of inspirational blogs from unionlearn, unions, partners and other guest bloggers about learning and skills.

Recent blogs include:

Snow, sleet and union-led learning

Why functional skills are important

Helping to build a better and safer workforce

Championing and ageing workforce

The unionlearn website contains a commenting facility where we welcome your thoughts and ideas.  Also make sure that you connect with us on Facebook, Linked In and Twitter to keep up to date with recent blogs, news, events and resources.


The Money Advice Service Resources

The Money Advice Service website contains a wide range of information and resources which reps may find useful when carrying out a Midlife Development Review with a colleague. 

The Money Advice Service is an independent service, set up by government, to help people manage their money.  It provides advice and guides to help people improve their finances, along with tools and calculators to help people keep track and plan ahead.

There is a budget planner, a pension calculator, a redundancy action plan, a Money Health Check plus lots more.  These and other useful resources for supporting midlife development are referenced on the union learning Climbing Frame website in a dedicated Supporting Midlife Development Learning Theme and also in separate resources section.


Diploma courses available from TUC Education

TUC Education diploma courses are specially designed to broaden the knowledge and develop the skills of trade union representatives.  Each diploma gives experienced reps the opportunity to increase their understanding of trade union values, policies and everyday workplace issues.

This Spring the following TUC Diploma courses are available:


For more information about TUC Education and the courses available visit:

Delivering better learning agreements - A guide for union reps and officers

This practical guide from unionlearn for trade union reps and officers discusses what learning agreements are, what they should cover and provides a template for a framework agreement.  It highlights Equality and Diversity questions as well as model agreements for specific areas such as English and Maths learning, setting up learning centres, supporting learners in the workplace and apprenticeships.

The guide aims to give ideas and help in pinning down what the relevant areas of the learning agenda are in different workplaces and industries.  You can download the Delivering better learning agreements - A guide for union reps and officers from the unionlearn website or you can order a hard copy by emailing:



Unionlearn Voices of Apprentices, Solihull: 10 March 2015.  For more information email Matt Creagh:

Apprentices: Your Business - Their Future, Wolverhampton, 23 March 2015.  For more information email Surjit Chohan:

Supporting Mid-life Development and the Climbing Frame Bite-Size Briefings, London: 26 March 2015, morning and afternoon sessions. For more information email:

The unionlearn Annual Conference 2015 will take place on Monday 6 July 2015 in London.  More information will be available soon!

If you have any events you would like to promote in future issues of Supporting Learners News and/or on the union learning Climbing Frame website please email Louisa Smith:

Inform, support and inspire learners in the workplace

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