Union Learning is key to apprenticeships strategy

PCS has successfully bid for more than £0.5m of Union Learning Fund (ULF) money to support life-long learning, vocational qualifications and professional development for members in England for the next year.

Funds had previously been granted to the union’s multi-year learning projects in Scotland (SULF) and Wales (WULF).

The learning agenda benefits all members, but a new agreement on the rights of civil service apprentices means reps – usually Union Learning Reps (ULRs) – now have the ability to help them get the best possible training and support during their apprenticeship.

The deal with the Cabinet Office, also secured major improvements on job security, fair pay and avoiding redundancy.

Apprentices are a central theme within the 2017/18 learning project. A minimum of 20% of an apprentice's time is spent in off-the-job training, and the new agreement also gives PCS a role in selecting apprenticeship training providers.

A checklist to help ULRs and branch officers assess providers will be produced at the end of April, and more information for ULRs will be published soon on the re-designed PCS website.

Branches should convene meetings of their ULRs - or ensure they’re invited to BEC meetings - to discuss full integration of learning and apprenticeships strategies in to their organising plans.

Where possible branches should give a leading role to learning reps in mapping, recruiting and supporting apprentices.

Up to 30,000 workers are scheduled to be taken on as apprentices across the UK civil service by 2020, and recruiting them as members is a major priority for the union.

Click here for more on recruiting apprentices.

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