This is a crucial moment for our economy. So the government’s decision to scrap funding for workplace learning makes no sense at all.

For 20 years the Union Learning Fund (ULF) has been getting working people into skills training they’d otherwise have no access to, with courses directly relevant to the workplace, tailored to workers and supported by government funding.

Workplace learning is a massive success. Not just for employers, staff and public services, but for the economy too. That success delivers a return of £12.30 for every pound invested – and at a time when our economy is under real pressure the decision to scrap the fund simply doesn’t make sense.

And of course, UNISON members who take part in skills training not only widen their own horizons but improve the public services they deliver as well.

From maths to mental health; from digital to diplomas, the workers getting our country through this crisis deserve the opportunity to access education. Now’s the time to invest in learners in our NHS and our care homes, in our police forces and our schools, in our local communities and everywhere else – not to scrap the scheme that makes it all happen.

Union learning is a win-win. But the government is putting all that at risk. Don’t stand by and watch it be snatched away – please sign the petition now to tell the government to save this life-changing fund.

Sign the petition

Has union learning helped you?

We need stories from people who’ve taken part in union learning to help us make the case for the government to reverse the cuts.

Will you share why it was important for you?

Share my story

Will you tell your MP about it too? Getting MPs’ support to save union learning is so important, and nothing is more powerful than telling them about your own experience.

Just pop your postcode in the Parliamentary website to find your MP’s email address, and use our template letter to help you get started.

Find my MP

Write to my MP


The power of union learning

A UNISON member illustrates just why union learning is so important – and why we need to save the Union Learning Fund

UNISON calls on government to pull back from scrapping Union Learning Fund

Union says the move to scrap the Union Learning Fund in England makes ‘no sense’

Blog: We must save union learning

Decision to scrap the Union Learning Fund in England is all about an ‘ideological distaste for trade unions’

ULF in numbers

80% of learners taking part in Union Learning Fund training said they had developed skills that they could transfer to a new job.

62% said their new skills made them more effective in their current job.

19% said they had been promoted or given increased responsibility and 11% got a pay rise.

77% of employers said that union learning had a positive effect on their workplaces.

68% of employers said that unions could reach and inspire reluctant learners to engage in training.

For every £1 spent on the Union Learning Fund, there is a return of £12.30 – £7.60 to the worker, £4.70 to the employer.

The Union Learning Fund delivers an estimated net contribution to the economy of more than £1.4bn as a result of a boost to jobs, wages and productivity.

Figures from University of Exeter evaluation of the ULF, 2018

Success stories

Union learning has clear benefits to employers and the economy, but it can also be life-changing for those who take part.

Here’s what it meant for UNISON members working in all sorts of public service jobs.

Click on their comments to read more.

"A few years ago... I wouldn't have said boo to a goose: but my confidence and my own self-worth have grown" – Sharon Thompson, hospital catering assistant

"Now I have achieved my Level 2 English Functional Skills I will be able to apply for better jobs and undertake further study. I have got the bug for learning now" – Jo Southern, healthcare assistant

"The main thing I got from the course was courage – the courage to apply to university" – Ann McKelvey, work support assistant in an academy school

The course is a massive help – without it, I wouldn’t be able to join the paramedic programme; without it, there would be no career progression. Ibrahim Abdikadir, emergency ambulance crew

"Maths wasn't my strong point but the more it was explained over the weekend, the easier it became." – Helen Russell, healthcare assistant

When I enrolled on my postgraduate degree, the unionlearn discount through the ULF eased the financial pressure of being a full-time student so that I could focus my energies into my studies. Sia Livingstone, social worker

Spread the word

Signed the petition? ✅

Shared your story? ✅

Written to your MP? ✅

Thank you so much for fighting to save union learning.

Now will you help us spread the word on social media, using these eye-catching graphics and the hashtag #SaveUnionLearning?

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