TUC’s learning and skills body earns ‘good’ Ofsted report

Ofsted has praised the TUC’s learning and skills service for its partnership between employers and trade unions.

U-Net, which was used by 1,200 people in 2007 and 2008, also improved its success rates for black and Asian learners, the education watchdog found.

The proportion of black learners passing courses has risen from 54% in 2007-08 to 81.8% and for Asian learners from 70.2% to 82.1% – well above the national average.

The watchdog did find room for improvement in a number of areas, however. There was insufficiently detailed target-setting for learners, some ineffective use of management information to inform improvement and insufficiently established quality improvement processes, Ofsted said.

“Employers benefit from these partnerships, with improved staff morale, reduced sick leave and staff turnover, fewer complaints and grievances, and higher rates of internal promotion,” Ofsted said. “Centres in many workplaces are highly inclusive and welcome shift workers, agency staff, contract workers, and often families and friends, as well as union members and other employees.”

Overall the U-Net service was awarded a grade two on the Ofsted report, which equates to a ‘good’ service on the four-grade scale.

U-Net is part of the TUC training body Unionlearn. Last year, a YouGov survey by the TUC and Unionlearn found that about seven out of 10 employees want a legal right to request paid time off for training and 53% say they would be likely to use it.

In 2007 Gordon Brown pledged a further £3m to the Union Learning Fund, which aims to help unions open up a wide range of learning opportunities for their members.

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