Apprenticeships are union business

Unionlearn helps trade unions to support apprentices in the workplace. We do this by:

  • Supporting unions to work with employers to develop and improve apprenticeship programmes
  • Support union reps, ULRs and other union members to work directly with apprentices, supporting them to complete their apprenticeship and build their careers.
  • Provide resources, policy development, research and information to apprentices and union reps to ensure the union contribution to apprenticeships is rooted in the latest thinking and advice around apprenticeship quality.
  • Campaign on issues impacting apprentices, such as low pay, poor training and lack of progression in work.

Trade unions have a long tradition of supporting learning and skills at work. One of the key debates at the TUC founding meeting almost 150 years ago, was the need to improve the technical skills of workers. Union support for high-quality apprenticeships has been a constant ever since. Unionlearn is committed to the vision of high quality apprenticeships as a skills development programme for the current and future workforce as we build a new, fair and prosperous economy.

The Charter for Apprenticeships sets out the basis for a quality apprenticeships

Information and resources for apprentices

Information and resources for union reps

Other information: 

TUC apprenticeship project

Apprenticeships are Union BusinessThe TUC is running an apprenticeship project. The main focus of the project is developing the TUC's existing policy on apprenticeships and supporting affiliate unions' work on apprenticeships across the country.

Apprenticeship rights

National Apprenticeships ServiceCovering apprentice pay, time off to train and agreements.


Who to contact in the TUC with any questions about the project.

Apprenticeships Latest news in this section

New Learning & Skills Policy Update published

14 October 2014

A new Learning & Skills Policy Update has been published for October 2014. The edition includes details of the government's pilot of changes to the skills system and skills funding in England through the Employer Ownership Pilot and the TUC's response.

Also covered are potential improvements to Apprentices pay, Ofsted's review of traineeships and the Technician Pathways project.

Read the Learning & Skills Policy Update October 2014.

Unionlearn annual report shows increasing numbers of ULRs

07 July 2014

Unionlearn has released its annual report for 2013-14. The report shows an increase in the number of union learning reps (ULRs) and the union learning fund (ULF) performing well ahead of expectations.

In her foreword, Mary Bousted, chair of the unionlearn board, says:

Minister pays tribute to unionlearn's work

30 June 2014

The Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise has paid tribute to unionlearn's work reaching out to disadvantaged workers, the Technician Pathways project and supporting quality apprenticeships and traineeships. Matthew Hancock MP told the unionlearn conference last week:

"You deserve credit for reaching out to disadvantaged workers – people who face some of the biggest barriers to accessing in training and development at work – but who arguably, have much to gain from it.

TUC calls for everyone to have opportunity to gain meaningful qualifications

18 June 2014

The TUC General Secretary has said that everyone should have the opportunity to gain meaningful qualifications.

New industrial partnership launched in energy and utilities sector

10 June 2014

A new industrial partnership (IP) of employers and unions in the power, gas, water, renewables and waste management industries has been launched.