Private sector welcomes Unison’s training offer

Employers have welcomed moves by public sector union Unison to extend its workplace training services to the private sector.

Last week, Unison launched a scheme offering its learning expertise to private firms in return for greater recognition and better negotiating rights. The union will offer bespoke courses to companies that don’t have the resources to offer staff training.

Unison currently delivers tailored courses to the public sector in areas such as English as a first language, basic computer skills and literacy.

Norman Rose, director-general of the Business Services Association, which represents outsourced service providers, said he was in favour of the scheme.

“Both employers and unions have a mutual interest in staff training. If we can develop the training agenda through this scheme then we are happy to take it forward,” he said.

But he warned the union against turning the scheme into a membership drive. “No company will let the union have an open fishing expedition with its employees. [The scheme] must primarily be a means of developing staff,” he said.

Karen Faulkner, executive director, HR at outsourcing provider Liberata, said she was excited by the new proposal.

“The learning initiatives the union is proposing are fantastic,” she said. “It is a winning situation for employer, employee and union.”


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