Supporting learners

How do ULRs and other union reps support union learners?

The role of the union rep, particularly the ULR, in supporting learners is in informing, advising, coaching, mentoring and signposting. The ULR is in the centre of the unionlearn network model.

How can unionlearn help?

The Strategy for Supporting Learners

The unionlearn Strategy for Supporting Learners (2017-20) has been developed to support the delivery of impartial learning and careers advice services to union learners.

It is an underpinning strategy for all unionlearn activity with the primary aim of making all learning and progression opportunities available to all union members, particularly those who are disadvantaged in the workplace. The contribution of union learning representatives (ULRs) is vital to the success of this strategy.

The network model

Unionlearn works together with a network of organisations to make sure that union learners can get the information, advice and support they need to make choices about learning and progression at all levels that are right for them.

Who is in the unionlearn network?

The Quality Award

Thousands of union learning representatives (ULRs) across the country are promoting training and learning in the workplace on behalf of union members. The unionlearn Quality Award is given to courses and programmes that meet our good practice criteria and that helps signpost ULRs to providers that are working successfully and flexibly with unions.

The matrix standard

All careers information and advice providers who receive public funding to deliver their services are required to be accredited or working towards the matrix quality standard.

What support and resources are available for reps?

Unionlearn has developed a range of resources for reps and learners to help them to develop their skills and keep up to date.

The Climbing Frame

The union learning Climbing Frame is a free website for ULRs to help them in their role of supporting learners in the workplace.

The Climbing Frame recognises that union learners have aspirations, experiences and skills which relate to all aspects of their lives: their current jobs, possible career routes and personal situations.

The Climbing Frame can be used to:

  • Provide up to date information to help during discussions with learners
  • Update ULRs about various learning opportunities
  • Develop individual action plans with learners
  • Keep records of sessions with learners
  • Store local information and contacts
  • Gather information about learner profiles to support negotiations with employers.

Climbing Frame Learning Themes include:

  • Supporting Learners
  • Personal and Professional Development
  • Higher Learning
  • Supporting Learners at 50+
  • Progression for union reps.

Higher Learning at Work

Resources and information for anyone wishing to progress to Higher Education while working. It is also for advisers, including union reps.

It has information about what to learn, where to learn, studying part-time, getting ready for Higher Education, funding higher learning, support from employers, Foundation degrees, the Open University and lots more.

Supporting Learners News

Sign up for a website account to subscribe to email alerts and manage your subscriptions or keep an eye on the website to receive these regular e-bulletins with updates about what is happening in Supporting Learners in unionlearn, unions and the wider network.

Supporting Mid-life Development

Union Learning Reps (ULRs) are in key position to help people investigate what their next steps are in improving skills and considering new jobs or careers.

Youth employment and skills

Resources and guides to help young people into work, covering traineeships, work experience, apprenticeships and careers guidance.

The Sector Skills Councils careers links

Most of the Sector Skills Councils produce careers information to help individuals to find out what they need to do to progress in the