Union Learning Fund - Frequently Asked Questions

Author: Adam Heppell

Date: Wednesday 27th January 2021

Union Learning Fund FAQ

Thank you for visiting our Learn with Unite website.

After committing to its ‘lifetime skills guarantee,’ the Government have decided to cease supporting the Union Learning Fund (ULF) from March 2021.  A vital fund costing just £12m per year to the Government, The ULF supports thousands of workers to develop important new skills. Under the new proposal, many are at risk of missing out on what could be crucial training opportunities.  

Please help us save Union Learning today by signing the petition here

Q. What is the Union Learning Fund?

A. Established in 1998, by Tony Blair’s Labour administration,  the ULF fund is used to help workers develop skills and gain qualifications. For 23 years the ULF has encouraged the concept of lifelong learning in places of work. The ULF also supports a network of union learning representatives, who work with employers to engage workers in learning and training. A huge advantage of union learning is that it mainly benefits adults who either have a job or who are job hunting and are unlikely to go to a further education college.

Q. Am I eligible for training?

A. Learn with Unite training, funded through the ULF, is available for all members of Unite.  Potential members can also take advantage of our learning opportunities. Courses are free for existing members while potential members will need to pay £22 for our CPD courses. Other courses such as the fully funded level 2 courses are also free to everyone.

The ULF fund provides training for workers across a wide range of sectors, including retail, construction manufacturing and transport. One of the major advantages is that it encourages reluctant learners to gain skills.  If you are unsure about signing up give it a go! We are passionate about helping people improve their skillsets. Upskilling our learners is at the heart of what we do.  

Q. What courses are available? 

A. There are courses available across multiple disciplines, including maths, literacy and language. We can also provide training on tech skills, support apprentices, professional development and much more!  Don’t worry about taking time off work to complete the courses, they can be completed online at your own pace and you will be supported throughout by our dedicated team of Learning Representatives. (ULR)

Q. Who would I need to contact to find out more information?

Contact the Learning Representative for your workplace or visit the members matter area of this site to find Union Learning organisers who work in your region. ULR’s raise employee awareness of the benefits of learning and training while working to identify learning and training needs in the workplace. . ULR’s promote equality of access, they will offer advice, guidance and support.

Q. How do employers benefit from ULF?

A.  An independent survey of Unite's learning project found that it offers a massive return on investment. Every pound invested in the project generated a total economic return of £7.78 of which £4.77 accrues to individuals and £3.01 to employers The return to the exchequer from this learning is over £94m or £2.20 for each £1 spent. Unite currently has more than 300 learning agreements with different employers, covering approximately 700,000 workers in total. (stats from UniteLive)

Q. Why is Union Learning important to you?

A. Union learning encourages working people into skills training they would not otherwise have access to. All union learning is directly relevant to the workplace and your own educational aspirations. It supports you to develop new skills in a safe and flexible way.