Everyone can aim higher

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Issue 8, September 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. 
A better future for us all

The final evaluation report from NIACE has been published for a project which unionlearn contributed to.  A better future for us all outlines the benefits of learning in later life, what the current problem is and how to improve things.

The paper includes findings and recommendations from the NIACE Older Learners' Group. In particular, it notes the significance of the development of mid-life career reviews. Unionlearn was a pioneer in this initiative and continues to embed the work with our Supporting Mid-life Development work strand.

Find out more and access the report on the NIACE website.  For more information on Supporting Mid-life Development visit:

Free online Badged Open Courses (BOCs) from The Open University

BOCs are a great way to get back into studying.  They are FREE and can be accessed from the OU’s OpenLearn website.  The OU have just launched the first 6 BOCs and each one introduces a topic and on completion learners can download a digital badge which can be displayed on individual profiles, CVs and social networking sites.  There is also the facility to download or print a free Statement of Participation.  These courses are completely online and with no start or end date can be studied at any time. 

The OU currently offers the following BOCs:

  • Taking your first steps into higher education
  • Succeed with learning
  • Succeed in the workplace
  • Succeed with maths – Part 1
  • Succeed with maths – Part 2
  • English: Skills for learning

Studying a BOC could also fill the time and help you prepare if you have registered for an OU Access module which start in February and October each year.  

Access modules are an ideal first step towards a HE qualification particularly for those that wish to develop their study skills and confidence with support from a personal tutor before embarking on first year undergraduate study.  The OU’s Access modules can also be studied for FREE (eligibility criteria applies).

To find out more about the OU’s Badged Open Courses or the Access modules please visit: or call 0300 303 0069.

National Apprenticeship Week 2016 Dates Announced

Next year's National Apprenticeship Week will run from 14 to 18 March 2016.  Co-ordinated by the Skills Funding Agency, the week will include hundreds of events and activities across England to showcase apprentices and apprentice employers.

National Apprenticeship Week is about celebrating the crucial role that apprenticeships and traineeships play in upskilling the nation and increasing productivity.

Find out more about what happened during Apprenticeship Week 2015.  For more information about apprenticeships from unionlearn visit: or see the Apprenticeships Learning Theme on the union learning Climbing Frame.
Family Learning Festival 2015

The Family Learning Festival (FLF) is an annual awareness campaign organised by the Campaign for Learning (CfL) since 1998.  The Family Learning Festival promotes and supports family learning events across the country.  It is an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance that families can have in supporting each other’s learning.

This year the event takes place from the 17th October until the 1st of November and the theme for this year is ‘Imagination station - start your journey here!’.  You can adapt the theme in a way that works for you and encourages families to try something new, experience things outside of their everyday lives and get excited about learning.

On the FLF website you can access an online planning guide and download activity ideas and resources for free, visit:

Free webinar - How to make the most of the Family Learning Festival, Wednesday 16th October at 11am - 12pm.  Book a place:

If you are holding a FLF event please let unionlearn know and we can feature it on our website, please email:
Come and see us!

Unionlearn are holding a number of events over the next few months, many of which focus on supporting learners to get on at work.  Find out more information in the Events section below and register for these free events while there are still spaces available!  Keep up to date with our events in issues of this newsletter and on the unionlearn Events page.
Union Learning Representatives eNote
TUC Education has launched a new eNote (electronic briefing) for union members thinking of becoming a Union Learning Rep (ULR).

The new eNote, in the growing line of popular online learning resources, looks at ULRs and the work they do to support learning in the workplace.

The eNote introduces the role of the ULR and details how union members' lives have been changed through learning. 

The main aim of the eNote is to present the case for ULRs and persuade existing union reps and members to take on the role. It also aims to be helpful to newly appointed ULRs.

To access the eNote, learners will need to register on the TUC Education website. This also gives access to all the TUC Education eNotes, which include eNotes from unionlearn on Supporting Learners, Apprenticeships, Supporting Learners into Higher Learning and Supporting Mid-life Development.
Get Online Week 2015
Get Online Week is the annual digital inclusion campaign run by the Tinder Foundation.  The campaign aims to inspire people to get online and do more with digital skills.  Get Online Week will take place from the 12th to the 18th of October and the theme for this year is "Making life easier online".   Thousands of Get Online Week events will take place across the country.

You can take part in Get Online Week by holding events in your workplace or community to help people get online and make their life easier.  Complete the online form to express your interest in the campaign, and you'll get a free marketing pack (subject to availability), plus access to online webinars, toolkits and forums to help you run your events.

For more information and to register for Get Online Week visit:
For information about Get Online Week webinars visit:

If you are running any events for Get Online Week please let unionlearn know and we can feature it in a news article or case study.  Please email:

How can the internet help you stay healthy?

Visit the Learn My Way website to find out how the internet can support your health, from making appointments and ordering repeat prescriptions online, to finding advice on specific symptoms and conditions.

You can also try the free online course ‘Staying healthy with NHS Choices’.
Learning Rep: Autumn 2015
Don't miss the most recent edition of the Learning Rep e-magazine.  In this issue hear about some new publications and resources which have been launched and read a variety of inspiring union learning stories. 

The autumn edition features articles on the unionlearn Annual Conference 2015, RMT Learning, Festival of Learning, the ULR Survey, digital skills plus lots more.

Climbing Frame Feedback Survey

There is still time to complete the Climbing Frame 2015 Feedback Survey for your chance to win a Kindle!

Whether you are an experienced Climbing Frame user or are new to the Climbing Frame website we really value your opinion and want to know what you think of the site. Complete the survey by the 18th of September 2015 for your chance to be entered into a free prize draw and you could win a Kindle.

Complete the survey today:

Register on the union learning Climbing Frame website.

Keep up to date
If you haven't already make sure you register on the unionlearn website to keep up to date on learning and skills issues.  Don't forget to check out the unionlearn News stories, Case Studies and Blogs on the website which are updated daily.  You can also keep in touch via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Also be sure to register on the union learning Climbing Frame website for access to a wide range of information, case studies, links and resources.  You can also use the Climbing Frame to help learners plan their learning journey, you can download simple reports, share ideas and best practice and evidence your own learning and progression.


North West ULR Forum, 11th September 2015, Manchester. For more information please contact Laura Robertson-Collins:

ULR Network of Excellence Meeting, 16th September 2015, Wrexham, Wales.  To register and for more information please contact  Bernice Waugh:

Supporting Learners Development Day, 24th September 2015, Bristol. Register today!
  For more information please contact Rob Garrett:

Midlands Regional ULR Conference, 1st October 2015, Derby. Register today!  For more information please contact Mick Brightman:

Leeds ULR Forum, 16th October 2015, Leeds. Register today!  For more information please contact Louisa Smith:

Sheffield ULR Forum, 27th October 2015, Sheffield, Register today!  For more information please contact Louisa Smith:

Are you a ULR in the health sector?  If so, the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists are holding a Mid-life Development Review Workshop run by unionlearn on the 29th of October 2015 in Birmingham, find out more information and register

Southern and Eastern Region ULR Conference, 3rd November 2015, London. Register today!  For more information please contact Adrian Ryan:

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:

Stay connected with unionlearn
Sign up to unionlearn to keep up to date with the latest union learning developments, events, publications and join in the conversation. 

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