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Wales TUC Learning Services was established in 1999 to support trades unions to bring learning opportunities to workplaces which have union recognition. Funded by Welsh Government, we are a bespoke team, strategically placed to develop union-led learning initiatives in workplaces in Wales.

Union-led learning is a critical tool in developing the skills to create a flourishing, vibrant Welsh economy with well-paid, rewarding and sustainable jobs.

This means supporting unions and employers to establish partnership arrangements which develop learning infrastructure and skills provision in a way which is accessible to adult learners within a workplace setting.

Our aim is to establish sustainable, inclusive workplace learning cultures by harnessing the unique ability of trades unions to develop the skills of the Welsh workforce and to enable individuals to reach their full potential at work, in their unions and in their wider communities.

How We Work

The history of union learning in Wales is a long and progressive one.  From their earliest days, unions have supported their members in accessing learning – in public libraries, mining institutes and in the workplace. There was always a simple logic in harnessing the unique nature of trade unions in support of their members’ learning.

Recruitment of an army of 1,300 Union Learning Reps providing peer support to learners has modernised and carried that approach forward into the 21st century.

We have established a flexible “Union-led Learning Model” which guides our approach to delivery.

The “Union-led Learning Model” has three key elements

  1. Wales TUC Learning Services which provides expertise, advice, advocacy and support to unions and employers; engages with providers and learning agencies and supports Union Learning Representatives and Wales Union Learning Fund (WULF) programmes. It adds value to union-led learning by strengthening partnership working across the piece.
  2. Union Learning Representatives (ULRs) of whom there are 1,300 in Wales, with statutory rights to train and to carry out their role in identifying learning needs and supporting their peers to access learning in the workplace.
  3. Wales Union Learning Fund (WULF) is a hugely successful scheme funded by Welsh Government which is designed to pump prime learning initiatives in unionised workplaces where employers recognise the benefits of working in partnership with unions to up-skill the workforce

More information on how the union-led learning model works 

Who We Work With

Wales TUC Learning Services provides a wide range of services to trades unions in support of union-led learning including:

  • expert advice and guidance on all aspects of union-led learning
  • bespoke support to all WULF projects;
  • development seminars to ULRs;
  • a Network of Excellence to enhance partnership working between WULF Project Managers, ULRs, Providers and third sector agencies;
  • an annual residential ULR Conference;
  • re-skilling advice in redundancy situations;
  • brokerage of learning;
  • reports to the Wales TUC General Council and Biennial Conferences.

We work closely with Welsh Government to engage employers in Welsh Government sponsored skills and learning programmes including Essential Skills, Leadership and Management and European-funded projects.

We work with a wide range of learning providers in Higher Education, Further Education and the independent sector to publicise their offers and broker learning. We recognise excellence in delivering union-led learning through our Wales TUC Quality Award.

We engage with many third sector agencies with an interest in learning concerning all sorts of areas including health & safety, mental health, barriers to learning and adult and community learning and publicise these to the trade unions.

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