Barriers to learning
"Regardless of age, race, gender, class, sexual orientation, religion or belief, disability or the passport they hold, every worker should enjoy an equal chance to up-skill or learn something new at work." (Frances O'Grady, Breaking Down the Barriers)
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.
Unlocking talent and skills benefits the individual, the workplace, the economy and society. It also makes for a fairer society because education empowers and learning endures. People gain the confidence to challenge what they think is wrong and this can change society, attitudes and prejudices. So it's in all our interests for education to be accessed by all, in the fight against discrimination.
The unionlearn blog features a number of different writers illustrating how they've sought to overcome different barriers to learning:
- Tackling union 'boys' club' by building women's confidence
- Supporting autism in the workplace
- How inequality impacts on education
- Addressing barriers blocking women apprentices
- Agile Birkbeck supports part-time HE students
In this section:
- ULRs: Champions of Equality – explaining the essence of the union learning rep and its role in promoting equality and diversity.
- Equality and diversity – what's the difference? – highlighting the differences between equality and diversity and why both are important.
- Common barriers to learning – the issues to consider when seeking to improve equality and diversity in learning.
- Mapping the workplace – practical steps to take to ensure that you're aware of the potential equality and diversity issues in the workplace.
- More about the legislation – details about the Equality Act (2010).
- Employers and unions working together – Information about the ways ULRs can work with employers to improve equality and diversity.
- Guides for employers – further information from the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
- Breaking through the barriers report – bringing together the voices of unions, partner organisations, practitioners and learners to highlight the range of barriers faced by many and to demonstrate what can be achieved through union learning.