History of Scottish Union Learning

In 1999, the STUC established the Lifelong Learning Unit with funding from Scottish Enterprise. The Lifelong Learning Unit worked with unions, employers, government and a range of other bodies to help unions access training and development opportunities throughout Scotland.

The STUC obtained funding in 2000 from the then Scottish Executive to help promote activity by trade unions in support of its lifelong learning programme. This was achieved through the Scottish Union Learning Fund (SULF). SULF projects focused on a range on activity, including adult literacy and numeracy skills, technical skills and personal and professional development.

In 2002, the STUC obtained additional funding for an Adult Literacy Pathfinder Project. This project ran until 2005, and was then replaced by an Everyday Skills project. SULF operated until 2011, during which time the STUC Skills and Lifelong Learning Team became established to increase support to unions in developing their capacity to facilitate learning in the workplace, and Everyday Skills was integrated in to the work of the Team.

New structure

In 2008, a new structure for trade union led learning was established. Scottish Union Learning was launched to bring together the work of the STUC Skills & Lifelong Learning Team and TUC Education in Scotland. Scottish Union Learning administered the Scottish Union Learning Fund, and mirrored the development of the TUC’s unionlearn in England.

Following successful applications to the European Social Fund in 2007, the STUC secured funding, resulting in the ESF Scottish Fund for Union Learning. When the Scottish Union Learning Fund concluded in 2011, funding from Scottish Government and ESF led to the Scottish Union Learning Development and Learning Funds.

The ESF programme ended in 2015, with funding for both Development and Learning Funds obtained from Scottish Government. Building on the success of SULF, the Development and Learning Funds were established to support trade unions in their drive to improve access to lifelong learning opportunities for workers across Scotland.