Union Learning Fund

The government's ambition in creating the Union Learning Fund (ULF) in 1998 was to promote trade union activity in support of creating a learning culture and unionlearn has had full responsibility for the management of the ULF since April 2007. This remains a vital unionlearn objective.

The Fund has supported more than 50 unions in over 700 workplaces and remains a flagship mainstream government programme - regarded as pivotal by unions, the Government, employers and partner organisations in the learning and skills world.

The strategic direct of the ULF is agreed by the unionlearn board. An assessment panel comprising of representatives from unionlearn, nominated trade unions, the Learning and Skills Council and BIS make decisions and recommendations on all submissions to the Fund.

For further information on the ULF, please visit the ULF website.

The key goals for the ULF are:

  • Build on capacity to sustain and embed work on learning and skills so that it becomes a core activity for all trade unions
  • Develop the key role of ULRs in raising demand for learning among low skilled workers and other disadvantaged groups
  • Help unions and ULRs develop a framework to provide high quality information and advice and guidance to stimulate the take up of learning and promote progression
  • Help unions form active partnerships with employers and develop learning agreements to tackle both organisational and individual skills needs
  • Help unions form active partnerships with learning providers
  • Develop union capacity to engage in effective partnerships working with other key partners and stakeholders

Over the past 11 years, the ULF has enabled workers to access a wide range of learning activity in innovative ways with the support of dedicated ULRs. ULF projects have strengthened union engagement with employers through the establishment of workplace learning centres and the signing of learning agreements, including securing employer commitment to the government's Skills Pledge.