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PDA respond to closure of Union Learning Fund

The PDA is saddened to hear that during a time with many challenges in the economy, it has been announced that the Union Learning Fund (ULF) will be discontinued in 2021.

Tue 13th October 2020 The PDA

The Union Learning Fund was established in 1988. The primary aim was to develop the capacity of trade unions and their Union Learning Representatives (ULRs) to work with employers, employees and learning providers to encourage learning in the workplace. The fund currently supports 250,000 workers a year to access learning.

We extend our support to the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in their efforts to secure continued funding. We support Union Learn, which is the home of union learning and has championed the transformational change that happens when employees are given access to training that is based on their own needs and ambitions alongside the needs of the employer. Across the country, ULRs work voluntarily to make a real difference within their workplaces and local communities to improve productivity within their businesses, industries and the wider economy.

“My career and passion for life-long learning began many years ago as a union learn project worker in an education union and during that time I saw the confidence that was gained, the career progression, the impact that those learners made on the people they worked with and for. The value of the funding far outweighed the costs,” said Kate Kensington, PDA Head of Education.

According to a report published by Union Learn and the department for education in 2018-19, every £1 invested in the fund resulted in a total economic return for the country of £12.30. The PDA has not received any of this funding, but we know colleagues and unions within the healthcare sector with members who have benefitted from Union Learning Fund projects.

The Union Learning Fund has provided the foundation of increased workplace learning and this has also encouraged employers and trade unions to fund additional learning projects from their own funds, including pharmacy employers.

Kate added: “We all benefit if society has every chance to explore learning, develop skills, achieve qualifications and promote lifelong learning opportunities within the workplace. We hope the government will reverse this decision.”

In response to the announcement from Westminster about the Union Learning Fund (ULF) closure, the Welsh government have indicated that they will continue with the Wales Union Learning Fund (WULF).

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