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SUPPORTING LEARNERS NEWS Introduction This is the fifth in a series of newsletters that has been produced to keep unionlearn staff, unions, project workers, union learning reps (ULRs) and other reps up to speed about:

responding to the changes to ensure that union learners at all levels receive the best possible information and advice to help them progress in learning and work

developments in the area of a publicly funded careers service that will affect existing structures and networks

other news, developments and resources that will help support members as learners.

how unionlearn are

The term ‘Supporting Learners’ is used by unionlearn to describe the activities of ULRs and other union reps when they are working with members to help them make choices about learning, to take up learning opportunities that are right for them and help them to progress in their jobs and careers. Whilst these activities involve

all levels of learning and some elements of information and advice, they also include mentoring, coaching, signposting and facilitating learning. There is a Supporting Learners area on the unionlearn website, for information visit: /advice

National Careers Service Update The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), through the Skills Funding Agency, will operate the National Careers Service which will offer information, advice and guidance to adults through face-toface sessions, telephone and online support to young people and adults. As adults do not have consistent access to careers guidance, the National Careers Service will provide face-to-face careers guidance for adults, through a network of public, private and voluntary sector organisations. The adult face-to-face service

will be delivered under the current Next Step contracts. The timetable for the new service is set out below. September 2011 Single points of access to online and helpline services in place Trials for enhanced colocation between Next Step and Jobcentre Plus April 2012

people and adults, and face-to-face guidance for adults:

Inside this issue: Education Bill Concessions


- single point of access for young people and adults to obtain online and telephone support

Sign up now for your free Lifelong Learning Account


- new brand developed

It’s good to talk


New matrix Standard going from strength to strength


Information Advice and Guidance Qualifications for ULRs


Contact Us


- redesigned website

September 2012 Duty on schools to secure access to independent, impartial careers guidance commenced.

National Careers Service launched, covering online and helpline services for young

The union learning Climbing Frame The free website for ULRs Register today at:


Education Bill Concessions The cuts to youth services extend to career guidance provision, where monies are not being specifically allocated to schools to provide these services, despite schools soon having a statutory duty to do so according to the provisions of the Education Bill.

highlight key outstanding issues that need to be addressed in the Education Bill to ensure young people get the help they need to make informed decisions about careers choices and routes into further and higher education and into the world of work.

The TUC has been working closely with UNISON , the UK Careers Sector Strategic Forum and other careers sector bodies to

At the House of Lords IAG debate on Monday 24th October, Lord Hill made a significant concession in indicating that he would

issue statutory guidance to schools. This will emphasise the importance of securing face-to-face careers guidance “where it is the most suitable support, in particular for disadvantaged children and those who have special needs or are learners with learning difficulties and disabilities”. The guidance issued will also highlight to schools “how they can be

confident that the external support they are buying is of the desired quality”. As for ensuring the quality of career IAG, the guidance will “contain a clear description of the quality standard for careers guidance for schools in commissioning independent advice and support for their pupils”. In addition, Lord Hill gave a commitment to consult on this guidance.

Sign up now for your free Lifelong Learning Account A new free online service, launched in September, will help adults to get improved access to jobs and career development opportunities. Lifelong Learning Accounts will empower adults to take more control over their learning by providing clear information and advice on skills, careers and financial support all in one place.

free access to a number of online tools, including: a skills diagnostic tool to identify their interests, strengths and needs localised course and job searches a CV builder an ‘eligibility checker’ to identify Government funding available to them

Account holders will have

a facility to store all their personal learner information – CVs, skills tests, job and course searches As well as improving access to careers information and personal data, the accounts will encourage users to link with other learners to share knowledge and experiences. Account holders will be signposted to relevant learners’

forums and communities via social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Lifelong Learning Accounts support and are supported by the Next Step careers service, and from April 2012, the new National Careers Service. For more information, and to sign up for an account, please visit http:// lifelonglearningaccount

It’s good to talk To find out about new career opportunities, new challenges, learning new skills and funding contact the unionlearn Learning and Careers Advice Line on 08000 92 91 90 (free from a landline). The advice line is available between 8am and 10pm daily and can be accessed in nine different languages. The service is operated by Next Step advisers who understand the needs of ULRs, other reps and union learners.

Try out the advice line today, find a landline phone so that it will be free and ask a union friendly adviser a question. See how useful the service is by asking one of the questions below: “My colleagues at work want to learn Spanish. How can we find a course that will fit with our shifts?” “I really like the IAG side of my role as a ULR. How can I get some qualifications and who will pay for them?”

“I want to help a group of Polish workers at my workplace to improve their English. How can I do this?” “A member is taking redundancy and would like a career change into teaching. Where can they get some face-to-face help from a professional?” Remember a question can be asked about individual development needs or on behalf of members. The adviser will find information from an

enormous database and can call back at a time that is convenient. If it works tell other ULRs or reps about the unionlearn Learning and Careers Advice Line.

08000 92 91 90


New matrix Standard going from strength to strength The matrix Standard has been revised following extensive consultation and trialling to ensure it remains fit for purpose for the wide range of organisations that use the Standard to quality assure their information, advice and/or guidance services (IAG). Unions have been strong supporters of the matrix Standard since its original launch in 2002 and since that time a significant number of union services, such as learning centres, have successfully used the Standard to develop their offer to members and subsequently been accredited. A testimony to this commitment has been the number of union -led organisations that have achieved national awards to recognise their outstanding use of the Standard. The matrix Standard (2011 version) has been developed following a

review of the quality assurance arrangements for IAG commissioned by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), which reported that the matrix Standard should continue to be the recognised standard for IAG services; but there were areas within the Standard that could be strengthened, in particular staff competence and use of technology. The Standard now more explicitly requires organisations to consider the client outcomes that their service intends to achieve and ensure the resources and services delivered enables the achievement of those outcomes. Continuous quality improvement remains a key feature of the Standard to ensure that positive developments to the service are constantly considered and implemented.

The matrix Standard (2011 version) now has 4 elements focusing on: Element 1 - Leadership and management Element 2 - Resources Element 3 - Service delivery Element 4 - Continuous quality improvement The matrix Standard (2011 version) replaces the previous Standard (2005 version) in autumn this year, but this in no way devalues or invalidates current accreditations. There are deadlines when the last assessments of the previous Standard can take place, the following key dates/activity may help; 30th November 2011 The last assessment day,

for any onsite assessments against the previous Standard 31st January 2012 - The last assessment day for second stage assessment or retaining accreditation review against the previous Standard Bookings against the matrix Standard (2011 version) are being taken now. emqc Ltd are responsible for the management of the matrix Standard and can be contacted at: Registered matrix Advisers are all trained and quality assured by emqc and can provide a range of support for organisations using the Standard. Contact emqc for contact details of your local Adviser. For a range of information in relation to the matrix Standard visit:

Information Advice and Guidance Qualifications for ULRs A new raft of Information Advice and Guidance (IAG) qualifications introduced this year has led to some confusion. All new qualifications are superseded by the Qualifications and Curriculum Framework (QCF) and are divided into two groups. Those for advisors offering generic Advice and Guidance (similar to the old NVQs), and those, specifically working in the Careers IAG sector.

- Level 3 Certificate in Advice and Guidance

Careers Information and Advice

- Level 4 Diploma in Advice and Guidance

- Level 6 Diploma in Career Guidance and Development

Both are relevant throughout the advice and guidance sector, from ULRs to housing advisors, who provide general support in addition to advice and guidance about learning and work. The other qualifications are: - Level 3 Award in Careers Information, Advice and Guidance - Level 4 Diploma in

gained has enhanced and added to the effectiveness of their delivery. WRT are currently going for the unionlearn Quality Award and are committed to working with trade unions to help ULRs progress in their supporting learners role. If you would like more information on IAG qualifications please visit the WRT website at:

Unionlearn has been working with White Rose Training (WRT) to develop a package of unit combinations to complement the full qualifications suitable for those who may not wish to go for the full qualification. WRT has trained over 1000 learners including ULRs from UNISON and Unite who said that the knowledge


Contact Us If you require further information on any of the topics in this newsletter then please contact your Regional Supporting Learners contact:

Midlands region

Northern region

Paul Humphreys

Dave Storrie

0121 236 4454

0191 227 5561

North West region

Southern and Eastern region

John Halligan

Jon Tennison

0151 236 2321

020 7467 1342

South West region

Yorkshire and the Humber region

Rob Garrett

Sharon Burke

0120 961 1604

0113 200 1073

Or Ian Borkett

Louisa Shaw

Quality and Standards Manager

Climbing Frame Development Officer

020 7079 6940 020 7079 6934

For more information about unionlearn please visit: Unionlearn Congress House Great Russell Street London WC1B 3LS Phone: 020 7079 6920 Fax: 020 7079 6921 Email:

Supporting Learners News - Issue 5  

This is the fifth in a series of newsletters that has been produced to keep unionlearn staff, unions, project workers, union learning reps (...

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