Gordon Brown will inject a further £3m into the Union Learning Fund, which aims to help unions open up a wide range of learning opportunities for their members.
The prime minister announced the plans to increase the funding to £15.5m at this week’s TUC Congress. A key goal of the fund, run by organisation Unionlearn, is to develop the role of union learning reps in raising demand for learning, especially among workers with low skill levels and those from disadvantaged groups.
Director of unionlearn Liz Smith said: “Union learning projects all over the country, run by our 18,000 union learning reps, will be getting extra money to ensure that individuals who really need help back into education will be able to receive support and guidance to take those first steps back into learning.
“The prime minister has given a clear signal that union-led learning is central to the future not just of trade unions but of our country.”
Brown described union learning as “the biggest transformation of trades unions since the growth of the shop steward movement,” when speaking at the Congress.
He also called upon all employers to sign up to the Leitch skills pledge, to demonstrate a commitment to offering all employees Level 2 training. He reiterated that he will consider a legal entitlement for employees who lack a vocational qualification to workplace training if insufficient progress towards signing the pledge is made by 2010.
So far 200 companies have signed the skills pledge.