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unionlearn Congress House London WC1B 3LS Tel 020 7079 6920 Fax 020 7079 6921 www.unionlearn.org.uk June 2010

All unionlearn publications may be made available for dyslexic or visually impaired readers, on request, in an agreed electronic format or in accessible formats such as Braille, audiotape and large print, at no extra cost.

Photography Š Chris Gleave Design www.wave.coop Print Newnorth

Co-investing in Learning Collective Learning Fund Pilots in the North West

Co-investing in Learning Collective Learning Fund Pilots in the North West Case Studies


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Foreword by Dave Eva, Regional Manager, unionlearn

Collective Learning Funds (CLFs) are union-led initiatives to stimulate co-investment in the personal development of the workforce to make such learning affordable. They have been piloted by unionlearn in the North West to test different models in different contexts. The pilots involve increasing funding from employers, obtaining greater support from unions and enhancing employee commitment. Such co-investment can help tackle skills shortages as well as providing training to hard-to-reach groups within the region. Although they are in their early stages, CLFs are establishing learning partnerships between employers, unions and providers, which are opening up learning opportunities in workplaces. Most of the 15 pilots in the North West have been operating for two years and the evaluation of the project by the Centre for Employment Relations Innovation and Change (CERIC) at Leeds University found that CLFs have considerable value. That is why unionlearn is extending this project to support the existing pilots, integrate CLFs within other regional projects, promote sustainability and disseminate the concept throughout the region.

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Introduction

Collective Learning Funds (CLF) are not just about those involved putting cash into an account to pay for learning. The concept is much wider, including in-kind contributions such as time and learning facilities. CLFs are arrangements where employers, employees, unions and colleges each contribute to a central fund in different ways. Employers might provide cash, loans, time off to study or in-kind provision such as a learning centre. Employees could study in some of their own time or contribute to their course fees. Colleges might subsidise courses and provide laptops. Unions can put in resources and time, and union learning representatives can help support learners. Each pilot was given £4,000 by unionlearn to kick-start their fund. Cash contributions are held either in the company or in the union account. Fifteen new CLF pilots cover 15,000 union members in workplaces across the North West and have brought in a massive £170,000 investment in their skills and personal development. The CLF pilots cover both private and public sector organisations, including local authorities, transport, logistics, retail, manufacturing and the Department for Work and Pensions.

Jeff Latham, CLF project worker “The CLF project is delivering thousands of new learning opportunities to union members across the North West. Despite the recession, we are continually developing new ways to help members access new skills and to develop themselves as individuals. That can only be a good thing – for union members and for the health of the regional economy.”

More than £67,000 has been contributed by employers – external funding that would never have existed without the CLF. A further £86,000 has come from colleges, and £17,000 from trade unions themselves. Almost 2,000 separate learning opportunities have already been created across the region as a result and the pilots have been developing new and innovative ways to make learning more accessible to union members. These include: ❚ voucher or cash subsidies ❚ loans with a low interest or interest-free option ❚ grants to learners. Co-investment also involves state contribution. The government Train to Gain scheme provides full funding for employees who don’t already have a full Level 2 qualification and who wish to improve their literacy, numeracy and English language skills, plus take their first Level 2 qualification. It also part funds NVQ training at higher levels. In some pilots, there was evidence that the presence of a CLF helped to engage the employer to use Train to Gain to fund NVQs and Skills for Life courses. In other workplaces, NVQs and Skills for Life were in place before the pilot and the CLF served to extend provision.

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Question 1

Why co-investment in learning? Employers want their workforce trained to do their present job effectively. This increases productivity and profitability. But employees need broader transferable skills for internal promotion and career progression. Many employees are willing to invest more in their personal development provided that the employers and the state also make a contribution. In its publication Towards Ambition 2020, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills stated: "we must leverage significantly more co-investment from individuals and employers, alongside public expenditure", while the European Commission’s Experts’ Report, New Skills for New Jobs, calls for “co-investment as part of collective agreements”. All it requires is for employers and their employees to get together to assess what training is needed, what contributions they could make and what state funding is available. This is best done collectively and trade unions have taken the initiative through a union-led innovation – collective learning funds. The 2006 Leitch Review of Skills commissioned by the previous government recognised the potential of such arrangements:

Many people – both employers and employees – report positive benefits for staff and an improved working relationship between management and the union as a result of the CLF.

Collective learning funds would encourage joint employer-union initiatives to increase the scope of training and development opportunities for their workforce and to commit new investment to this. In addition, these funds could encourage employees to co-invest their time along with the employer in a wider range of non job-specific training and development. The pooling of contributions maximises investment in broad workforce development – increasing the transferable skills and motivation of employees. The evaluation found that companies identified the most common benefits as ‘soft’ outcomes such as ‘improved morale’ and ‘improved employee engagement’. The involvement of the union ensures that the learning opportunities are accessible to the entire workforce including those with few or no qualifications.

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“I think that the project has been a success for many reasons. If you get the right partners and buy in from the organisation, this makes a huge difference. We didn’t just approach local providers, we wanted partners that could meet the needs of our members.” Michelle Doyle, PCS, Birkenhead Land Registry

CLFs have given hundreds of employees the opportunity to develop their professional skills as well as promoting personal development through language courses and other learning.

Early results show that employees have taken up 1,755 learning opportunities as a result of CLFs. These include 519 Skills for Life qualifications, 330 ICT courses and 564 NVQ courses. Many people have also taken up informal adult learning for personal development: an additional 342 learning opportunities, including British Sign Language and Spanish plus driving lessons and arts and crafts options. The number of learners will increase throughout the life of the project and also afterwards as the CLF sustains ongoing learning.

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Question 2

What makes co-investment work well? The success of the CLF pilots should not just be judged in terms of learning outputs alone. There are wider outcomes being derived from the sustaining CLF work beyond the life of the project. CLFs played an important role in a number of workplaces in terms of initiating partnership working between unions and management for the first time. Setting up learning committees and signing learning agreements helped to embed a learning culture within the workplace. In some cases it took time for the employer to engage fully with the union, but this improved when management saw something tangible taking effect.

“It’s not about the £4,000. It is about what this has triggered. The learning delivered has given people greater confidence to apply for jobs that use their new skills. The fund has supported the partnership on site in building morale and giving people a sense of ownership over the learning they do.” The learning opportunities created through CLFs have also given many employees greater confidence in their ability to learn new skills and to develop their own careers.

Andrew Collier, Planning Manager, Argos Distribution, Heywood

All players – employees, unions and managers – appeared to acknowledge the added value of the CLF. Certainly, ULRs initiated and led the CLF work but, to be effective, union branches and shop steward structures also needed to believe in its credibility and value. This was equally the case with employees and managers. There are good examples of co-funding that have developed from the initial CLF investment. There are also good examples where employees who were previously excluded from government initiatives, such as Train to Gain, have benefited from the CLF offer.

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Collective Learning Funds were used for a variety of purposes: Levering in more resources Simply having a small pot of money has been enough to open doors to other resources in cash or kind – such as a company agreeing to provide a learning centre or a college helping make learning affordable, for example by offering course discounts. Pilot Argos, Heywood The learning partnership at Argos Distribution centre supported by the Union Learning Fund project has been enhanced by the CLF. More courses are being offered as well as paid time to learn as a result of a three-way partnership between Unite, Argos Distribution and Bury College. It has created an agreement which not only complements the learning agenda at the company but also puts in place a CLF model to enable the learning to continue beyond any ULF involvement.

Securing commitment and support from management and union reps has been crucial to the success of the North West pilots.

John Lea, a project worker at Unite, says: “The CLF added to the funding provided through the company, and the college, and ensures that the provision at Argos will continue to grow well into the future.”

Extending job training In some workplaces the CLF was the stimulus for employers to provide affordable training leading to a recognised qualification such as an NVQ; sometimes funding came from the Train to Gain scheme.

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Pilot Land Registry, Birkenhead The workplace has high union membership levels, good numbers of reps and a history of involvement in a range of learning. The site was going through major change and potential redundancies. As a result of the CLF, a significant number of staff received accreditation for skills they already had by taking NVQs in Customer Service and Business Administration. Some employees also took the Classroom Assistant NVQ. Management now have a better understanding of the role of trade unions in learning and are committed to supporting their work.

Initiating learning partnerships Learning partnerships have been set up between unions and management for the first time in some workplaces as a result of CLFs. They took the form of learning agreements and joint learning committees that plan, organise and deliver learning at workplace learning centres.

Both managers and union reps have commented that CLFs have enabled the two sides to work together on the same agenda with positive results.

Pilot USDAW Check Out Learning, Merseyside The CLF is run in partnership with seven colleges and two learning providers. Shop workers receive a £50 voucher to subsidise new learning in colleges on Merseyside. The vouchers are distributed by union learning reps to learners on-site or at their local learning venue. The union USDAW contributed £10,000 to the CLF. USDAW project worker Julia Baldwin says: “The voucher scheme has been a great success across Merseyside and is certainly an idea we would like to roll out in other areas if we can.” Greater Merseyside Connexions is a key stakeholder in the project, which aims to provide affordable and accessible learning to USDAW members. They receive a subsidy on their chosen course and can access the same fund for a new learning opportunity every year.

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Raising the profile of unions in learning The obvious benefit for unions involved with a CLF is that it increases their visibility and, potentially, membership in the workplace. In the vast majority of pilots, trade unions have raised their workplace profiles, with both employers and providers stressing the importance of union involvement.

Pilot McVities, Manchester The Learn 4U Centre at McVities has now been running for two years and is proving to be a huge success for staff on-site and the company. The centre is the key point of delivery for the NVQ courses, both at Levels 2 and 3. It has become an integral part of McVities’ training and development agenda. The success of the centre has been driven by the CLF, eight ULRs and the learning centre co-ordinator, Jonathan Waterhouse. As well as providing learning opportunities, the centre has also promoted a wide range of competitions. One example is the Six Book Challenge, where employees are challenged to read six books of their choice within a certain time frame, and which has proved to be very successful.

Giving workers access to learning is essential in creating a happy and motivated workforce.

Jonathan says that “the union is more now visible within the workplace with over 30 new members recruited. I recruit more people now than I ever did as a shop steward.�

Improving productivity In a number of cases, managers claimed that the learning undertaken through the CLF had contributed to improvements in the quality of work, reduced levels of absence and improved customer service. The CLF also improved employment relations and helped to encourage constructive engagement between management and unions.

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Top tips

Top tips

✓ Set clear goals and achievable targets within a realistic timetable for establishing a CLF. ✓ Make sure you have an effective team of ULRs and involve the wider branch and representative structure. ✓ Run the CLF as a joint venture between managers and the union in an equal partnership. ✓ Include the CLF within an existing learning agreement with management or negotiate an agreement if one does not exist. ✓ Establish a joint workplace learning committee to manage the CLF. ✓ Organise a learning needs analysis of the whole workforce to find out which courses, locations and study times are needed for both personal development and job training ✓ Find out what contributions employees are able to make, particularly how much studying could be done in their own time. ✓ Demonstrate to the employer what the union and learner can contribute (such as ULR support and study time) then negotiate what the employer might provide. ✓ Make sure employers use state funding for eligible courses such as those covered by Train to Gain. ✓ Negotiate subsidised courses with local colleges. ✓ Choose providers who give maximum support to union learners, particularly those with the unionlearn Quality Award.

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Contact details

Contact details

CLF Pilots Argos Distribution Centre (Heywood) Gary Unsworth Unite gary.unsworth@argos.co.uk Argos Call Centre ( Widnes) Paul Edge Usdaw pauledge@argunion.co.uk New Charter Housing Trust (Ashton-Under-Lyne) Hannah Grantham Unison hannah.grantham@newcharter.co.uk CWU Learning Centre (Crewe ) Ray Atkinson CWU ray.atkinson3@blueyonder.co.uk First Bus Manchester (Dukinfield/Oldham) Stuart Smith Unite stuart.smith@firstgroup.com First Bus Manchester (Ince/Wigan) Stuart Smith Unite stuart.smith@firstgroup.com Identity and Passport Service/NHS (Southport) Fran Mellor PCS fran.mellor@ips.gsi.gov.uk Land Registry (Birkenhead) Michelle Doyle PCS michelle.doyle@landregistry.gsi.gov.uk Liverpool Taxi Project (Liverpool) Tommy McIntyre Unite tommymcintyre6_680@hotmail.com Merseytravel (Liverpool) Andy Thornton Unison andy.thornton@merseytravel.gov.uk

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Contact details

McVities (Manchester) Jonathan Waterhouse Usdaw waterhoj@unitedbiscuits.com Pensions Service (Cheshire) Gemma Kettlewell PCS Gemma.kettlewell@thepensionservice.gsi.gov.uk Stagecoach (North Lancs/Cumbria) Ken Gillespie RMT ken1961@fsmail.net Tameside Council (Tameside) Beryl Mulroy GMB beryl.mulroy@tameside.gov.uk Usdaw Check Out Learning (Merseyside) Julia Baldwin Usdaw Julia.baldwin@usdaw.org.uk CLF Regional Project Manager Dave Eva unionlearn regional manager deva@tuc.org.uk

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USDAW Check Out Learning Merseyside

collective learning fund case study 1

Background The union’s Check Out Learning project focused on the major national food retailers. Shop workers have little access to training that leads to recognised qualifications. The training that does take place tends to be centrally driven and very job/company specific. As the major retailers work with the National Employer Service, Train to Gain funding for NVQs is unavailable for many workers since it cannot be accessed at local level other than for very limited numbers of staff. The project covered 25 stores spread across the Merseyside area. These stores employ about 3,500 staff – many of whom work part-time on a wide variety of shifts. There are about 40 union reps spread across the stores. Some of these are mobile union learning reps (ULRs) with responsibility for supporting learners in a number of workplaces. Trade union membership varies from store to store, ranging from about 80 per cent to as low as 30 per cent. At the start of the project, there was very limited recognition of ULRs by employers.

Engaging with the employer USDAW recognised that it was difficult to make learning affordable and accessible for shop workers. So the union set up a partnership with two colleges to address these problems. Eventually this took the form of a Collective Learning Fund (CLF), which received a £4,000 grant from unionlearn plus funding from USDAW. During the period of the pilot, the number of providers in the partnership increased to seven – each with an agreed service level agreement. Learning was promoted through in-store promotions that were sometimes planned to coincide with national initiatives, such as Adult Learners’ Week, jointly organised by a mobile ULR and the store reps/ULRs. The learning usually took place in or near stores – local store management often gave support by providing rooms and flexibility of shifts.

The fund was managed by a steering group made up of the union project worker, the mobile ULR, representatives from the partner colleges and Adult Learner Services, nextstep and the Learning and Skills Council. Originally there was a rep from the sector skills council but this contact moved on. The steering group planned promotional and learning activity based on the needs identified in training/learning questionnaires and the resources in cash or kind that were available.

Co-investment The CLF gave learners a voucher worth up to £50 to cover half the cost of learning, where a fee was involved. The fund received a grant from unionlearn and £10,000 in total from USDAW. Colleges have now begun to agree to ‘ring fence’ further funding – initially £1,000. Individuals also co-fund their learning if a fee is involved. Full state funding is available for some learning through Train to Gain (e.g. Skills for Life). In-kind contributions come from the colleges in promotions and in tracking systems, from the individual (their study time) and from the employer (meeting rooms, flexibility, some release for promotion days).

Outputs and outcomes During this period of the project, learners achieved the following: ❚ 45 people gained Skills for Life qualifications ranging from Entry Level to Level 2 ❚ 49 people received ICT qualifications at various levels ❚ 63 people opted for other career or personal development programmes, including the Child Care NVQ, “Web Weaver” course, Turkish, Spanish and sign language.


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collective learning fund case study 1

Benefits

Challenges

As well as the results above, the CLF project has had some broader effects. Promotions and the availability of onsite learning raise the union’s profile as well as the concept of learning within the store. Gradually the various partners and potential partners have also become more positive to supporting this kind of informal learning.

The biggest difficulty remains engaging the employers of these major companies. It is the nature of the retail food sector that the major retailers’ training policies are centrally driven and leave little space for local initiative. While the project demonstrated some progress with engaging employers, this is an ongoing challenge.

“There is quite a buzz on the days we do a learning promotion. People know it is the union that is pushing this. Full-time officers have noticed this. It is taking a long time but gradually the companies are also becoming more positive about supporting Check Out Learning. I have been invited to talk to a Regional Personal Managers meeting. This would never have happened before.” Josie Cahill, mobile ULR

Equally, the learning providers had become more aware of the value of a co-funding approach. By pooling resources – in cash or in kind – a more attractive and affordable set of learning offers could be made. These allow potential learners to move between different kinds of learning as they build up their confidence.

A further problem is that companies tend to arrange their Train to Gain contracts centrally without consulting staff or union reps about the content of those contracts – with the result that it is very difficult or impossible to negotiate. Thus, Train to Gain funded NVQs or ITQs cannot be accessed at local level other than for very limited numbers of staff. Nor will the companies allow college and other assessors into stores to assess for an NVQ. Accessing affordable learning remains a challenge.

USDAW Check Out Learning (Merseyside) Julia Baldwin, USDAW Julia.baldwin@usdaw.org.uk CLF Regional Project Manager Dave Eva, unionlearn regional manager deva@tuc.org.uk May 2010 www.unionlearn.org.uk


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Argos Distribution Heywood

collective learning fund case study 2

Background Argos Distribution is a large distribution centre in Heywood Distribution Park. It handles a wide range of stock for Argos Retail stores across the north of England. The number of staff fluctuates but, at any one time, there are over 400 permanent staff and a further 200-plus temporary agency staff. Unite has about 96 per cent membership among permanent staff and a fluctuating level of about 20 per cent membership among temporary staff. The site has a good team of reps – seven shop stewards and five health and safety reps.

worker. Eventually the main learning provider, Bury College/Business Solutions, joined the committee. The committee plans the learning that takes place across the site – based on the available external funding, funding provided by the company, and eventually the funding and resources from the college. Working within the framework of the learning agreement, the committee also decides how the resources will be used and what learning will take place during company time, and what will be in the individual’s time.

Co-investment Engaging with the employer Before the introduction of the Collective Learning Fund, the union had not much involvement in learning and skills issues. A new site manager was appointed and he proposed a joint learning initiative to the stewards. He had seen a workplace learning centre in action at a previous site. The stewards turned him down. Learning and skills was “not what a union did”. When the CLF was launched, a union project worker approached the stewards and encouraged the reps to think again. They agreed to apply for the small pot of funding available to help them set up a CLF. This time the stewards agreed and with management on board, they applied for – and received – the funding from unionlearn. During the first phase, both reps and management found that networking with other sites was extremely valuable. A broad understanding was developed about the aims of what was going to happen and this was ultimately formalised into a learning agreement. ULRs were appointed and trained and a workplace learning centre was established. A steering committee was set up with the involvement of the general manager, the planning manager, the learning and development manager, the Unite convenor, the ULRs and the Unite project

The fund was started with a £4,000 grant from unionlearn. The employer then put £20,000 into the ‘pot’. Later the provider agreed to donate £110 per completed NVQ. As well as this funding, the various partners made ‘in kind’ contributions – the employer contributed resources for the learning centre, the college agreed to provide some free courses, the learners gave their time. State funding was drawn in through Train to Gain. The fund was used to pay for publicity and promotion, to help with the cost of learning and to contribute towards time off for learning.

Outputs and outcomes From the start it was agreed the fund would be used to encourage a broad range for learning – from vocational to personal development – that members might want to become involved in. During the period of the project, learners took up the following courses: ❚ 204 people achieved Skills for Life qualifications ranging from Entry Level to Level 2, and including 66 ESOL qualifications ❚ 138 took gained ICT qualifications including ECDL,CLAIT and ITQ ❚ 104 took NVQs in warehousing and other subjects ❚ 85 took courses in subjects including holiday Spanish, basic sign language and other topics.


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collective learning fund case study 2

Benefits The impact of the CLF cannot just be measured in terms of the outputs above. There have been broader changes, such as improving the confidence of members of staff.

“People’s confidence is lifted and morale is better. People are more positive about the union and value their certificates” Mark Chantler, ULR Unite

The site manager noted that the company sometimes needed to ask shop floor employees to do some screen work with PCs, and that the CLF project gave many people greater confidence in taking on such work. According to the management, the CLF has also led to greater staff engagement at the site, and a more positive atmosphere.

“It's not about the £4,000. It is about what this has triggered. The learning delivered has given people greater confidence to apply for jobs that use their new skills.” Andrew Collier, Planning Manager

generally more positive attitude to learning and towards the union – particularly among Polish and other migrant workers. Some new members joined. Equally managers began to recognise benefits arising from the learning programme: greater confidence, more flexibility and better morale across the workforce. There has also been a build up of trust on the learning committee. The last 12 months has seen the site go through some difficult negotiations as it moved to a new shift system. Both the management and union reps were clear that the learning partnership should continue, regardless of other difficulties. They all valued the learning initiative and were keen that members of the learning committee should continue working together to resolve problems. A lot of energy still has to be put into engaging learners – for example through promotions and award ceremonies, as well as using vouchers as incentives and personal development programmes. And funding and resources remain a problem. Co-funding learning is expensive. State funding programmes are under pressure. The ULRs and the learning committee are preparing a proposal for funding support from the company for the next financial year – and this process will need to be repeated annually.

Argos Distribution Gary Unsworth Unite gary.unsworth@argos.co.uk CLF Regional Project Manager Dave Eva, unionlearn regional manager deva@tuc.org.uk

Challenges Initially there was some scepticism on the shop floor, but as the initiative developed, a more positive attitude to learning took shape. Staff felt the union was more ‘visible’ and there was a

May 2010 www.unionlearn.org.uk


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McVities Manchester

collective learning fund case study 3

Background McVities is a large food manufacturer in Manchester. It is part of a company with a number of manufacturing locations in the UK and its main product is biscuits. About 600 members of staff are employed at the Manchester site, mainly on the production lines. In addition there are up to 300 temporary staff employed there, depending on the time of year. Most employees tended to have left education long ago, with few or no qualifications. Union membership runs at about 90 per cent among the permanent staff and there is a team of eight shop stewards and union learning reps (ULRs). The union’s relationship with management is on the whole stable but can be difficult at times.

Engaging with the employer At the start of the CLF project, McVities already had a record of union involvement in learning although it had flagged a little. There was a learning centre, some ULRs and a learning agreement in place with the company. By the time the CLF was launched, management had begun to realise that, to be competitive, the company needed to start moving to a higher skill production model. So both union and management agreed to apply for a grant to set up a CLF (subsequently named ‘The Biscuit Barrel’). Management agreed to match the unionlearn grant with a contribution of £4,000. The CLF is jointly managed by the learning committee, with the active involvement of the site learning co-ordinator, the training and development manager, the ULRs and the learning providers. The CLF has been used to promote learning, purchase software and other IT equipment. The learning committee listens to feedback and, within the framework of the learning agreement, makes group decisions taking into account the resources available – either in the CLF or through external agencies. So, for example, Train to Gain funding was used to fund a programme of NVQs. In another case, the cost of ICT courses for

non-ICT users had become too expensive for those employees, so the committee found and promoted a free provider of online ICT courses.

Co-investment The CLF was started with a £4,000 grant from unionlearn. The employer matched this with a contribution of £4,000. Successful negotiations led to the college agreeing to donate £50 for every £1,000 earned from fees. The individual pays an element of the fee where appropriate. A bid to the LSC resulted in a further £1,200 for the fund. In addition, ‘in-kind’ contributions were made by the employer (facilities and release of the learning co-ordinator), the union (digital cameras) and the individual learner (study time).

Outputs and outcomes It was understood from the beginning of the project that the learning would cover a spread of learning including vocational learning and personal development. The results include: ❚ 30 Skills for Life passes at Levels 1 and 2 ❚ 49 ICT passes at Levels 1 and 2 ❚ 40 people taking the NVQ in food manufacturing – most commonly at Level 2 ❚ 14 people taking personal learning programmes, including languages and, in one case, a plumbing NVQ ❚ the creation of a book swap club.

Benefits The overall impact is not just on the numbers who have accessed learning. The way the CLF is managed has itself affected how learning develops at the site. The union learning co-ordinator believes that the CLF provided a focus and a structure to learning activity. Whereas before there was drift, now the learning committee’s discussions have a more solid basis – working out how the limited funds and resources could be best used or how the fund could be grown. Union-led learning is becoming more professional in its approach.


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collective learning fund case study 3

This has led to greater respect and trust between committee partners and a much higher profile for the union in the workplace – among both temporary and permanent staff.

“The union is more now visible within the workplace with over 30 new members recruited. I have recruited more members through the learning centre than I ever did as a shop steward” Jonathan Waterhouse, Learning Co-ordinator

Like many workplaces, the site has to modernise and update to survive. It is in a period of transition in starting to move beyond training centred on legal requirements (such as health and safety, food hygiene, and manual handling). The CLF pilot, with its broad, open access introduction of the NVQ, has contributed to this process. Initially there was a lot of scepticism both on the shop floor and with some union reps and line managers. Now a more positive attitude to learning is emerging.

“The CLF has supported the growth of investment in people development. The fund has provided our ‘Learn 4 U’ centre with a great foundation and with the ability to strengthen the learning agenda on site for the future.” Loretta Smith, HR Business Partner, Manchester

Challenges The pilot stage has been short and problems remain. The CLF has been established with cofunding in order to make learning accessible and affordable, but there are concerns about how best to work out ways of drawing in cash and resources, while keeping expenditure at a sustainable level. The learning committee are well aware of the issue and are considering ways of dealing with it, which will no doubt involve further co-funding by the employer, the individual and the state. There is much less scepticism about the initiative than there was previously, particularly on the shop floor and from the immediate beneficiaries – learners. There remain pockets of doubt however about sustainability, both among some union members and some line managers. Overcoming these last doubts remains a challenge.

McVities, Manchester Jonathan Waterhouse, USDAW waterhoj@unitedbiscuits.com CLF Regional Project Manager Dave Eva, unionlearn regional manager deva@tuc.org.uk May 2010 www.unionlearn.org.uk


unionlearn Congress House London WC1B 3LS Tel 020 7079 6920 Fax 020 7079 6921 www.unionlearn.org.uk June 2010

All unionlearn publications may be made available for dyslexic or visually impaired readers, on request, in an agreed electronic format or in accessible formats such as Braille, audiotape and large print, at no extra cost.

Photography Š Chris Gleave Design www.wave.coop Print Newnorth

Co-investing in Learning Collective Learning Fund Pilots in the North West

Co-investing in Learning Collective Learning Fund Pilots in the North West Case Studies

Co-investing in Learning - Collective Learning Fund Pilots in the North West  

Collective Learning Funds (CLF) are not just about those involved putting cash into an account to pay for learning. The concept is much wide...

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