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Assembly Members joined Wales TUC in the Pierhead building in Cardiff Bay today to celebrate two decades of union-led adult education in Wales.
Ken Skates AM praises Wales TUC and WULF
Ken Skates AM praises Wales TUC and WULF

The ’20 years, 20 stories’ event showcased two decades of the Wales Union Learning Fund (WULF).

WULF supports learning initiatives in unionised workplaces across Wales. Since 1999 it has supported thousands of workers to take part in over 200 learning projects.

The celebration event featured stories from past and present learners such as Mark Church who, in his 40s, decided to seek help for his problems with reading.

He took a WULF-funded Essential Skills course, which he described as “like being let out of cage.” Mark spoke about how the experience left him with renewed confidence and a host of new skills which he uses both at the office and at home. In addition to seeing his career take off he’s also been able to help his daughter with her schoolwork.    

Ministers praise WULF projects

Minister for Economy and Transport, Ken Skates AM, spoke at the event and congratulated trade unions and Union Learning Reps across Wales. He also thanked them for inspiring colleagues to take advantage of the training and support made available through WULF.

“In our fast-changing world, a person can expect to change jobs an average of twelve times in their working life. That reflects our modern economy. WULF projects are instrumental in raising employability and essential skills levels within the workplace.

They are an example of what real partnership between trade unions, employers and government can achieve.”

First Minister Mark Drakeford AM also sent a recorded message.  In it he thanked trade unions in Wales for helping workers to overcome barriers to learning.

“With just over one thousand Union Learning Representatives across Wales, your work is now an essential part of our skills offer. 

Thank you all for the hard work and commitment you have provided over these last 20 years. 

Without you, this Programme would not be the success that it is today, and will no doubt continue to be going forward.”

Watch the First Minister's full message: 

WULF is “shining example” of union partnership

Wales TUC President Ruth Brady (herself a former Union Learning Rep and WULF learner) also addressed the AM’s.

Wales TUC President Ruth Brady shares her experiences of being an ULR
Wales TUC President Ruth Brady shares her experiences of being an ULR

“We will never really be able to measure the total impact that WULF has had over its twenty years, and we know that there are so many people out there now better qualified, more confident and in higher paid jobs thanks to their unions and the support they received through WULF.

It’s a shining example of partnership that we in the trade union movement are very proud of.

I would like to thank Welsh Government for their continued support over the last twenty years, the trade unions for investing in it so heavily themselves, the countless union reps who make this whole thing work and finally, but not least, the learners themselves for making it such an on-going success.”

Learners don’t need to be union members to benefit from WULF, as long as their employer recognises trade unions.

Prospective learners should contact their union representative, regional organiser or union official.

Editors note

Editors notes

  • ‘Unionised’ workplaces are those where the employer has officially recognised a union. This means the employer has a duty to consult and negotiate with the union on workplace issues.
  • Wales TUC is the voice of Wales at work. With 49 member unions, Wales TUC represents just over 400,000 workers. We campaign for a fair deal at work and for social justice at home and abroad.

Wales TUC Cymru Press Team - 029 2034 7010