Widening participation

Widening participation is a fundamental part of unionlearn’s mission and we work diligently to provide unions and ULRs with the support, resources and training they require in order to offer their members and other workplace learners an entirely unique learning experience.

It is imperative that we focus on hard to reach learners, who are not likely to access mainstream learning, such as, older workers, those with little to no qualifications and vulnerable workers with no easy access to learning and who we know are less likely to access further training. unionlearn, unions and our partners in learning are in a unique position to support those members and transform their lives.

Union Learning Reps

One of unions’ key contributions to the learning and skills agenda is the ability of Union Learning Reps (ULRs) to engage learners that are otherwise hard for providers to reach.

Learning centres

For 10 years the TUC and unionlearn managed a network of learning centres sharing a common approach to the delivery and support of learning.

Informal Adult & Community Learning

Unions and ULRs now work with community groups to extend the benefits of committed learning champions beyond the workplace.

Equality and diversity

Learning changes lives. It also changes attitudes, provides better job prospects, transforms personal situations and breathes a new confidence into learners. However, many people are still not feeling the benefit of learning – the joy of reading to their children, the discovery of a new talent, or the simple pleasure of acquiring a whole new range of skills.


Widening participation Latest news in this section

FBU video raises awareness of Dyslexia

29 September 2014 Midlands

West Midlands Fire Service, in partnership with the Fire Brigades’ Union (FBU) ULF team, has produced a video to raise awareness of Dyslexia in the workplace. The video, which promotes good practice in supporting employees who have dyslexia is now being used by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

Trade union members take advantage of Birkbeck discount

15 September 2014 Southern and Eastern

Trade union members have an opportunity to take advantage of a deal that has seen hundreds of their fellow members return to higher education. In recent years, trade union members have benefited from nearly £400,000 in discounts to study at Birkbeck, University of London.

BIS report praises unionlearn

08 September 2014

A new report by the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee (BIS) says that unionlearn has "achieved outstanding results at a fraction of the cost of full-time formal education".

In the Adult Literacy and Numeracy report, published today, the cross-party committee of MPs criticises government cuts to unionlearn as short-sighted and recommended they are reversed, saying:

Employers predict crisis - Britain needs a skills rise

07 August 2014

New research published on Wednesday by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) shows that 43% of employers believe a skills crisis could happen in the next 12 months. According to research by the Prince's Trust and HSBC, 73% of employers think a significant skills crisis could hit the UK in the next three years, while 13% said they already have a significant skills crisis.

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.