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Unions to play a role in skills strategy


Education and Skills Secretary Charles Clarke has praised the work of union learning representatives in helping to establish and promote workplace learning projects.

Speaking at the annual Union Learning Fund Conference in London, Mr Clarke said he saw a strong role for unions within skills strategy over the next few years, with them taking a key role in the Government’s Skills Strategy to be unveiled this month.

He said: "Union learning projects are especially successful at reaching non-traditional learners such as shift and part-time workers and people whose first language is not English. They succeed because they know the people they work with...Unions are making their mark in workplace learning and are participating in several initiatives, including the ground breaking Employer Training Pilots to support employers and in e-learning where unions are helping remove barriers to employment and widen participation."

Through the Union Learning Fund, which receives £11m a year for funding training in the workplace, there are now 180 Learning Centres open, and 6,500 Union Learning Representatives have been trained to date, with the government aiming to have 22,000 in post by 2010.

Mr Clarke also gave several examples of successful projects funded by the Government's Union Learning Fund, including the Passport to Learning Project, intended to reach out to people working unusual shift patterns, and a learning zone for nurses.


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