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ISSUE 4, JULY 2011


Introduction This is the fourth 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: developments in the area of a publicly funded careers service that will affect existing structures and

networks how unionlearn are 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 other news, developments and resources that will help support members as learners.

The term „Supporting Learnersâ€&#x; 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: .uk/advice

Higher learning and the unionlearn Supporting Learners Strategy 2011-14 The unionlearn strategy for supporting learners is about progression for all learners at all levels of learning. Did you know that:

Many of the remaining 60% would also like to progress to higher levels

formal Higher Education courses last year, and thousands more are engaged in informal higher learning activity?

Inside this issue: NEW Higher Learning at Work website launched


Higher Learning at Work events


Farewell to higher learning partner organisations


Advice and guidance on higher learning


Unionlearn Higher Learning Publications


Information about funding for higher learning from 2012


Have you seen the NEW Higher Learning at Work website?

Climbing Frame Higher Learning Learning Theme


Take a look today, visit:

Other Supporting Learners News


Contact Us


40% of union members already have a higher qualification, and many would like to brush up or renew their skills and knowledge

As an adult you do not need formal qualifications at a specific level to start learning at a higher level Unionlearn and unions helped 4,000 members to enrol on

You can find the new Supporting Learners strategy on the website at: .uk/advice


NEW Higher Learning at Work website launched Unionlearn, in partnership with Foundation Degree Forward, the Open University and the Lifelong Learning Networks, has now launched a Higher Learning at Work website www.higherlearning Unionlearn hopes that it will be the first port of call for anyone interested in higher learning and working, and will help to raise the profile of workbased learning at this level. The site has links to a wide range of simple resources for learners, advisers, work-based

tutors and assessors, trainers, HR staff and union reps, including downloadable PDFs, interactive games, elearning resources (including “Build on Your Experience”, which helps learners to prepare for higher level study, and “Supporting Workplace Study”, a mentoring resource), and also a regional area. It includes: What is higher learning? What opportunities are available? What can you do with the Open

University? What are Foundation degrees? Is higher learning for me?

service and the Climbing Frame, which has a „Higher Learning‟ Learning Theme, and also to the Open University free taster website; „Openlearn‟.

How can I make a decision? The website has all the latest news about How do I apply? higher learning at work, and information How can I fund my learning? about discounts available to union What support can members. my employer give me and how Log on today and let us can I make the know what you think of case for support? the site. We would like to include more case What have other studies and links to working people higher learning done? activities in unions, so There are links to the please send them in to unionlearn learning Ian Borkett: and careers advice

Higher Learning at Work events and training sessions a great success

Photos from the Higher Learning at Work event in Durham

Three regional events were held in June to explore the new website and the resources with unionlearn regional staff and reps from a wide range of unions. They were held in London, Newcastle and Birmingham, and provided an opportunity for ULRs and other reps to meet together with higher learning providers and explore ways of encouraging union members to take up higher learning opportunities, and of supporting them in their learning.

All the events were well attended, and practical sessions were included on getting ready for higher learning, thinking about your own progression as a rep, negotiating with employers for support for higher learning in the workplace, and action planning between unions and providers to improve access and find ways of minimising the cost of learning for individuals. Unions and unionlearn staff have also been taking advantage of the

free training sessions “Advising working people about higher learning” offered by Lesley Haughton and funded until the end of July by Foundation Degree Forward. It will still be possible to offer this training but there is currently no funding available to provide it free of charge. Contact Ian Borkett for more details:


Farewell to higher learning partner organisations The „Higher Learning at Work‟ events were made possible through funding from Foundation Degree Forward (Fdf), which finishes its work at the end of July. Foundation Degree Forward has been an important partner for unionlearn, providing funding and support for a range of projects to improve access to higher

learning at work and to engage employers and providers. The new website www.higherlearning represents an important legacy of their work. Aim Higher and the Lifelong Learning Networks will also no longer be funded by government to continue their work after the end of July

2011. Unionlearn has valued enormously the joint activity with these partners. Joint working continues with the Open University, and with individual institutions, such as Birkbeck. The Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) is supporting the updating of the Foundation Degree

Forward materials on the Higher Learning at Work website in 201112, and will be publishing a CPD module about advising people about higher learning at work. This will soon be available on the LSIS website:

Advice and guidance on higher learning Have you visited the unionlearn learning & careers advice service website lately? If so, you will have seen that you can now access and use all of the free tools and resources that are available from Next Step. These include a course directory, job profiles, a CV Builder and a Skills and Interests Assessment. If you would prefer to

speak to someone at the unionlearn learning & careers advice line then pick up the phone today and dial:

08000 92 91 90 (free from a landline). Find out about the help available to you and your members. The advice line is available between 8am and 10pm daily and can be accessed in 9 languages. The service is operated by Next

Step advisers who understand the needs of ULRs, other reps and union learners, and can advise on progression in learning and work at all levels. You can help members to decide what they need to know by using the checklist of questions featured as a PDF on the Higher Learning at Work site.

Want to get on at work? Get in touch with unionlearn’s Learning and Careers Advice Service and find out about: new career opportunities, new challenges, learning new skills and funding to help you.

Call them today on: 08000 92 91 90 (calls are free from a landline)

Screen shots from the unionlearn Learning and Careers Advice Service website.


Unionlearn Higher Learning Publications Supporting Learners: Progression pathways for all trade union reps Supporting Learners: Progression pathways for union learning reps and other reps is an additional guide about your own progression and aims to prompt you to think about your own development needs in the area of supporting learners.

Here are some examples of the topics included in this guide: Progression pathways with TUC Education Qualifications for Supporting Learners

Making the right decision Help with the cost of learning Changes to qualifications: How it may affect you

Making informed choices: Supporting Learners at 50+ Making informed choices: Supporting learners at 50+ is a new guide which draws on the experience of unionlearnâ€&#x;s Skills, Recession and Recovery project It looks at the opportunities available

to people who are 50+ in the workplace including: Developing existing skills Developing new skills Progressing on to higher learning

Looking at new jobs opportunities Changing lifestyle, e.g. going into selfemployment or planning retirement

Supporting Learners: Guides for union reps 2011 The new 2011 Supporting Learners guides contain both new and updated content and are an essential resource for ULRs and other reps when helping

members with their learning and making choices about their jobs and careers. If you have old or previous copies of the Supporting Learners guides then please

dispose of them as much of the information is now out of date and get copies of the new versions today from the unionlearn website:

Other useful Higher Learning Publications Higher education at work: making the case to employers Supporting union learners into higher learning – a toolkit for union learning reps An engagement checklist for higher education providers Higher education case studies You can either download all of the Supporting Learners publications in a PDF format or order printed copies of most of them from: or from


Information about funding for higher learning from 2012 The government is currently consulting on the proposals made in the White Paper: “Higher Education: Students at the Heart of the System” (June

2011). These include making loans available to part-time learners. For current information about funding for higher learning, both full and part time, visit studentfinance or for myth-busters, visit Martin Lewis‟s website www.moneysavingex . Martin is heading up an

independent task force to make clear information available to learners.

Climbing Frame ‘Higher Learning’ Learning Theme If you haven‟t already discovered the union learning Climbing Frame, register today!

Apprenticeships. The dedicated „Higher Learning‟ Learning Theme has recently been updated and The Climbing Frame is includes a information a free website for for example about Union Learning Reps to what higher learning help them in their role is, the types of courses of Supporting on offer, qualification Learners. levels and financing The Climbing Frame study. You can also includes a wide range access a number of of useful information to useful higher learning help ULRs from topics publications, such as Personal resources and web Development and links. Career Planning to

Don‟t miss the quarterly Climbing Frame Newsletter which keeps you up to date with developments and provides you with information to help you get the most from the website. To register and for more information about the Climbing Frame go to: www.climbingframe.

Other Supporting Learners News Career Learning for All: free e-learning resource The Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) has launched a new free elearning resource for those advising about learning and skills, who are not specialist

careers advisers, so ideal for ULRs and other reps to supplement the basic training provided by TUC Education. The twelve modules include: - Theories and models - Skills for delivery

- Using ICT tools - Employability skills - Information resources - Implementing the Blueprint To find out more information about the course go to:

www.leadershiplearn and sign up for free. Then click “Career learning for all” from the list of free online courses and select “Yes” to enrol on the course.

For Supporting Learners news, case studies, reports and much more, visit the Supporting Learners section of the unionlearn website today:


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

Ros Etheridge

Sharon Burke

0117 947 0521

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 4  

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

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