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New Union open learning centre in Whitehall opens


Lifelong Learning Minister, Malcolm Wicks MP opened the first trade union learning centre to deliver training and development to the heart of Whitehall. The Public and Commercial Services Union Open Learning Centre is supported by a £50,000 grant from the Department for Education and Employment and £10,000 from Electronic Date Systems Ltd. It will provide Information and Communications (ICT) skills to secretaries, typists, clerical and support staff in Whitehall Departments.

Speaking at the launch at PCS headquarters in Vauxhall Bridge Road, London today, Mr Wicks said:

"This is one of the pioneering learning centres partnerships which I hope will become a core activity for the trades union movement. The aim of this centre is to improve ITC skills for PCS members around Whitehall and Westminster. Some of my Parliamentary colleagues may like to take note of it too!

PCS is keen to develop lifelong learning opportunities for its members, particularly those who have less access to education and training. The initial target groups are secretaries, typists, clerical and other office support staff working in the Inland Revenue and Culture, Media and Sports organisations in London. These groups have been prioritised because of the effect on their work of technological change.

"The courses offered at the learning centre will help these
groups to:

* gain confidence to return to learn
* obtain recognised accreditation and
* enable progression to other learning opportunities.

"DfEE support of £50,000 for the PCS learning centre is from the Union Learning Fund which has now been responsible for training nearly 3,000 people, opening 30 learning centres and levering in £500,000 from other sources.

"We need unions to be at the forefront of learning in the workplace, in Whitehall and beyond. Union learning is an essential key to updating and skilling our workforce for the challenges of the global economy ahead."


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