Skills for life issue for whole organisation

View Latest News Publish Date: 12-Sep-2006

Skills for life issue for whole organisation

A new survey report published by unionlearn, reveals the successes of adopting an approach to learning and skills, which involves the whole organisation.

This approach enables all those in the workplace to develop their skills whether this is basic literacy and numeracy or at undergraduate level. The report, entitled Skills for Life and the Whole Organisation Approach shows a significantly increased awareness of Skills for Life (SfL) in centres where the Whole Organisation Approach is being implemented. It is published by unionlearn (the TUC's learning and skills project), in partnership with learndirect, the Whole Organisation Approach and the European Social Fund.

According to the report all respondents said that their learners had an improved awareness of SfL as something that is everyone's business, recognising the roles of the employer, employee and unions in addressing the skills shortage. This significant raise in awareness of Skills for Life is an important step in increasing the UK's skills base.

According to the interim Leitch Review, 70% of those who will be in the workplace in 2020 are already there now, so the UK cannot rely on new entrants for new skills. If we are not to fall drastically behind Germany and France, as currently predicted, we must focus on training the current workforce. Skills for Life is an integral part of this.

Unionlearn, together with trade unions, has been key in campaigning for and promoting learning in the workplace, through union learning reps (ULRs) and agreements with employers. There are now over 14,000 ULRs who have enabled over 100, 000 people to access courses over the last year. Unionlearn's aim is to recruit 22, 000 ulrs and get over 250, 000 people back into education by the end of the decade.

Liz Smith, Director of unionlearn said: 'This report highlights the importance of Skills for Life in the workplace. Many people feel more comfortable discussing what they want in the way of learning and training with other colleagues who have done a similar thing. Through union learning reps in the workplace, who have first hand experience of going back into learning, they feel confident enough to change their lives.'

Quotes from respondents to the report:

'Most learners welcome initial assessment when it is explained in the context of their progression and success. Learners are achieving better results in tests and our retention rate has increased.'

'It has made many people see that they may have SfL needs they'd not considered before.'

'We are capturing learners who may not have come forward to progress with numeracy or literacy but they feel comfortable to discuss and take forward their learning once the support has been discussed regarding SfL.'

Members of the Work Place Learning Centre team are available to provide journalists and media organisations with expert comment on all aspects of learning at work.

View our editorial policy click here.