Alarm at threat to workplace learning opportunities partnership

The CSP has expressed concern at reports that the Union Learning Fund (ULF) is facing closure.


Established in 1998 and supported by successive governments ever since, the ULF supports trade unions – working in partnership with employers, workers and education training providers – to develop and provide workplace learning opportunities in England, Wales and Scotland.

Managed by the Trade Union Congress’ learning and skills organisation, UnionLearn, in recent years the ULF has focussed on improving equality and tackling disadvantage both within the workplace and across the economy. 

The ULF helps boost jobs, wages, and worker productivity in the process.  For every £1 invested in the ULF, the fund generates a return on investment of £7.60 for individual learners, £4.70 for employers, and £3.60 for the exchequer. The ULF has also been shown to help secure improvements in employer engagement and investment in workplace training.

Building on these successes, the ULF should play crucial role in providing the step-change in lifelong learning that the chancellor recent highlighted as being a crucial aspect of our economic response to the Covid19 pandemic.

Claire Sullivan, CSP director of Employment Relations and Union Services, says:

The Union Learning Fund has never been more needed. Talk of abolishing it makes no sense economically, no sense in terms of growing workplace learning and skills, and would be a kick in the teeth for workers trying hard to remain in work and to progress at this most difficult of times.

The ULF is a flagship for partnership working between employers, employees and unions and its loss would be a wholly unnecessary blow.   

I sincerely hope that good sense prevails and the ULF continues its transformative work as part of a fast and fair economic recovery.

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