Issue date
It is our role as trade unionists to support people to improve their working lives. Giving people access to training and learning is one of the best ways to do this.

Currently, there are a host of funded schemes in Wales available for both individuals and employers. These schemes will help get more people get back in to learning, or onto a new training opportunity.

It is vital that unions are involved in the roll out of learning and skills in every workplace and that this isn’t just left to employers. This is the best way to make sure that everyone gets access and that training reaches those who need it most.

The benefits of workplace learning are clear. It improves an individual’s employment and career prospects, social and community life and it is proven to have significant health benefits. All things that are especially important at the moment, as we try and recover from the Covid crisis.

How union reps and officers can use new funding schemes for workplace learning

Below is a list of funded schemes available in Wales. Please bring them to the attention of your employer, members and colleagues.

  • Wales Union Learning Fund – free courses for union members and non-members to help everyone progress in their working and personal lives
  • Personal Learning Accounts (PLA) - part-time study on specific courses for those over 19 who are earning under £26,000 a year, or are on furlough, in precarious work or at risk of redundancy
  • Skills Gateway for business – run through Business Wales, this scheme offers support, guidance, grants and loans to Welsh businesses to invest in the skills development of their workforce.

You can also look at this list of employment schemes for individuals:

  • Jobs Growth Wales – for 16-24 year olds to gain the work experience they may be lacking
  • ReAct - funding to retrain or update skills for workers who’re facing redundancy, who’ve been made redundant, or have become unemployed, on or since 1 January 2020
  • Traineeships - a learning programme for 16 to 18 year olds to gain the skills needed to get a job or progress to further learning or an apprenticeship in the future
  • Communities for Work – intensive mentoring in the community for individuals who are not in employment, education or training and who face complex barriers to employment
  • Communities for Work Plus - intensive mentoring for people who are either in or at risk of poverty who are not eligible for other schemes listed here
  • PaCE – Support with childcare fees for those looking for work

And this list of schemes for employers:

Further support from the Wales TUC

The Wales TUC is here to help you promote learning and skills in your workplace, with specialist staff who are trained to advise and support you.

Our Union Learning Support Officers (ULSOs) can help you to:

  • develop workplace learning and skills programmes
  • gain access to the funded programmes listed above
  • follow through with running workplace training once you have gained the funding

Now is the time to train so please contact one of our ULSOs to discuss how we can help you make a difference in your workplace.

North Wales: Gareth Hathway

Mid Wales: Mark Rees

West Wales: Linsey Imms

South Wales: Kat Wood and Kevin Williams

Recruit or retrain a Union Learning Rep (ULR) in your Workplace

Union Learning Representatives (ULRs) are a key member of any branch or workplace rep team, and we need more trained and active ULRs in Wales.

Within their workplace a ULR will:

  • raise awareness about the value of learning
  • help organise courses
  • support and encourage members to take part in learning
  • promote equality and health and wellbeing through learning

If you are interested in becoming a Union Learning Rep talk to your branch secretary.  Free training is available from the Wales TUC. Currently training is provided online by our qualified trade union tutors, just as they would be in the classroom.

We can provide you with resources to recruit and support ULRs in your workplace – contact

Read more about what ULRs do