A workplace learning initiative which aims to help 250,000 workers each year has been launched.
Unionlearn will provide support and advice on life-long learning and workforce development across England. It will focus on literacy and numeracy skills and Level 2 qualifications for the seven million adults in England who lack basic skills.
The initiative also aims to encourage greater employer support for training and strengthen union membership.
The project is a partnership between the Department for Education and Skills and the TUC. From April 2007, unionlearn will also take over the management of the Union Learning Fund from the Learning & Skills Council.
The project aims to recruit 22,000 union learning representatives by 2010.
Brendan Barber, TUC general secretary, said: “This is a great opportunity to showcase the crucial role of trade unions in boosting UK skills and productivity. Employers need to step up to the challenge of workplace learning, with more support for learning reps, time off to train and a decent wage for apprenticeships.”
Unionlearn director Liz Smith said: “For individual workers, unionlearn will bring opportunities to develop new skills and ambitions. For employers, it will demonstrate the benefits of a better-trained workforce and higher productivity.”