Increasing access for young workers to training and professional development

Back to all Motions

2019 Local Government Service Group Conference
22 February 2019

Conference notes that austerity has seen local authority spending on in work training slashed as staff development budgets have been cut back to the bone. In social care private sector providers focused on making profits provide the bare minimum of opportunities for training. There has also been a shift to online and distance learning and eLearning.

UNISON strongly believes that where local government employers invest in training this can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of staff and lead to better morale and improved outcomes for service users.

Nonetheless, where training is offered by local government employers, young members often find it difficult to access. There is often a feeling that we haven’t “done our time” or proved our commitment to the organisation.

Research has shown that training and development opportunities are often concentrated at the upper echelons of organisations, with younger workers on low pay losing out. Where training is offered to young workers it is often unaccredited and not part of a professional development approach which would allow them to further their careers. Employers tend to focus on mandatory and statutory training and less on development.

Conference further notes that the shift to online and eLearning formats can often exclude members who are disabled, “agile workers” or part-time staff (particularly women), which often leads to their personal training and development being far behind that of their colleagues which can be a slippery slope to capability concerns, being passed over for promotion and low morale.

Conference notes that the national young members forum consultation found that training and development is a key area of concern for our young members in local government and therefore believes it is vital that we develop more campaigning and bargaining materials to ensure young members’ professional development is not being neglected.

Conference therefore calls on the service group executive to work with the national young members forum to:

1)Investigate young workers’ access to training and professional development in local government employers;

2)Produce guidance for branches and regions on making the case to employers that training young workers can bring benefits for employers, staff and service users;

3)Negotiate with national local government employers’ bodies to invest in staff training that is accredited and forms part of a career and professional development approach;

4)Support and encourage local government employers to sign and implement the Unison Apprenticeships Charter;

5)Liaise with Learning and Organising Services to promote UNISON’s learning programmes to young member.s