Union Learning Fund

The union learning fund (ULF) supports union learning projects to transform the lives of their members. It helps members to explore learning, develop skills, achieve qualifications and promote lifelong learning opportunities within the workplace.

The fund has helped hundreds of thousands of workers on their learning journey, with the support of over 40,000 dedicated Union Learning Reps (ULRs). ULRs work voluntarily to make a real difference within their workplaces, local communities and working in partnership help to improve productivity within their businesses, industries and wider economy.

The Union Learning Fund (ULF) was established in 1998 to promote activity by trade unions in support of the objective of creating a learning society. Its primary aim was to develop the capacity of trade unions and Union Learning Representatives (ULRs) to work with employers, employees and learning providers to encourage greater take up of learning in the workplace.

The scope of the ULF has gradually broadened over the last 20 years as union capacity has grown and government strategic objectives have changed and unions have been encouraged to work on improving access to work and to work in the community.

The Fund has supported more than 50 unions in over 700 workplaces and remains a flagship mainstream government programme - regarded as pivotal by unions, the Government, employers and partner organisations in the learning and skills world.

The ULF has enabled workers to access a wide range of learning activity in innovative ways with the support of dedicated ULRs. ULF projects have strengthened union engagement with employers through the establishment of workplace learning centres and the signing of learning agreements, including securing employer commitment to the government's Skills Pledge.

The ULF is managed and administered by unionlearn, the TUC’s Learning and Skills Organisation, under an agreement with the Department for Education (DfE), which directs the level and type of learning activity that should be supported by the Fund.

Further reading

Unionlearn pages on the Union Learning Fund include: