Employers and the government are failing Britain’s workers by denying them paid time off to improve their skills, according to a TUC survey of 800 union learning reps.
The report, Making a Real Difference, reveals that 46% of reps said lack of access to paid time off was the biggest barrier to training facing workers.
A further 12% cited long working hours as the main obstacle to taking up training.
In respect of their own role, 43% of reps said that lack of time off was the main barrier, while another 17% referred to the problem of long working hours, the survey showed.
Liz Smith, director of the TUC’s learning and skills organisation Unionlearn, said: “We need new legal rights to paid time off to train. Such rights are especially important for those without a qualification at the standard expected of school leavers.
“And unions should have the right to request that in workplaces with union learning reps, employers should enter into a ‘learning agreement’ with unions, and establish a workplace learning committee.”
The Department of Education and Science said that efforts were being made to boost workplace skills.
“That is why the national employer training programme Train to Gain, launched this year, means individuals are released by employers to undertake the training they need,” a spokesman said.