Industrial Strategy Council report highlights union contribution to skills

A report issued today by the Industrial Strategy Council - Rising to the UK’s Skill Challenges - has praised the contribution that unions make to promoting learning and skills.

Referring directly to the role played by unionlearn, the report says:

In the UK, unionlearn supports trade unions to help workers acquire skills and qualifications to improve their employability. One of the ways it does this is through the training of Union Learning Representatives (ULRs). Unionlearn has been particularly successful in recruiting low-skilled workers into training."

The report also calls on government to consider strengthening social partnership arrangements on skills and to follow the example of other countries where there is “a greater role for employer representative and employee representative organisations (i.e. social partners) than exists in the UK.” The authors refer to a proposal by the TUC that the government should widen the remit of the National Retraining Partnership as a way of developing the UK’s social partnership approach.

The low levels of employer investment in skills is also emphasised in the analysis. The authors conclude that “employer investment in training in the UK is low relative to many international competitors” and they also refer to recent unionlearn research commissioned from Professor Francis Green showing a “reduction in job-related employer-funded training volumes over the last two decades.”