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Extra £2 million for Union Learning Fund from April 2000


From a DfEE press release:

Education and Employment Secretary David Blunkett welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement today at the TUC of an extra £2 million pounds for the Union Learning Fund. The new money will be available from April 2000 over the following two years bringing the total support for the Fund to £10.5 million up to March 2002.

Mr Blunkett said:
"The Prime Minister’s announcement at the Trades Union Congress of an extra money for the Union Learning Fund underlines our recognition that the trades unions are taking a leading role in establishing the highly trained and skilled workforce we need to be competitive in the global economy. The £2 million boost today will help extend the already vibrant ULF activity by:

* encouraging employer participation;
* developing innovative and challenging learning strategies;
* helping employee take-up and
* establishing the support infrastructure.

"There has been tremendous support, enthusiasm and commitment to learning programmes from the unions and tangible results from projects already established by the Union Learning Fund. The ULF has already helped thousands of people benefit from new training courses. It has helped unions establish new learning centres or extend existing ones, develop qualifications, obtain extra funding from employers and others and set up support systems to ensure that learning continues after ULF money has moved on.

"There is too a lot of anecdotal evidence emerging about a shift in attitudes and perception among employers towards unions and learning. Unions themselves say that partnerships in learning through ULF have meant more meaningful dialogue with employers on a whole range of other things including pay and conditions.

"This extra money announced by the Prime Minister today follows £0.5m announced in June and will support increased learning activity by trades unions as we enter a new era for post 16 education. The imminent arrival of Individual Learning Accounts and learning through new technology and the University for Industry will greatly extend the scope for activities within the ULF. Unions can thus stake their claim to be the pivotal players we would wish them to be, as stated in the Learning to Succeed White Paper.

Now in its second year, the ULF has proved to be very successful. Results include well over 3,000 people trained and over 30 workplace learning centres established. Other projects have established new qualifications or routes to qualifications. Many industries now have networks of ‘learner representatives’ as a result.


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