TUC set to create union academy

The TUC has outlined ambitious plans for the creation of a union academy, to radically overhaul the training offered to all workers across England.

The new academy aims to build on training at work currently run by unions and offer working people learning when and how they want it.

In a new report launched today, the TUC sets out the academy’s prime functions. It will offer guidance on training for employers and employees with courses ranging from basic skills to MBAs at colleges, universities and workplaces to suit the individual.

Further help will be available through a new helpline and website and the academy will also serve as a think tank and a skills research centre.

The report Learning for change highlights the fact that more than 100,000 workers have been helped back into learning since 1998 by 8,000 union learning reps at 400 new learning centres.

However, it also details the skills gaps that exist throughout all levels in all industries in the UK, and how a lack of key skills are preventing people getting on at work, or even doing their current job properly, costing the British economy millions of pounds.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “Britain’s skills gap is a key cause of our relatively poor productivity. Unions have a proud track record in helping people at every level, from brushing up or improving basic skills to gaining MBAs. The new academy will provide a major boost to the quantity, quality and coherence of the training available to our workforce.”

Secretary of state for education Ruth Kelly said: “In recent years unions have helped put learning back at the top of the agenda in many workplaces. I welcome the TUC’s ambitious plans to develop an academy to act as a centre of excellence and best practice, as well as a very real catalyst for the learning revolution.”

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