POA Learning is funded by the Union Learning Fund, a government fund with the aim of supporting trade unions to widen access to learning and training in workplaces whilst also supporting community members, especially those that are hard to reach, to build key skills.

On Tuesday 6 October, POA Learning received a letter from the Department for Education saying that ministers have decided to end the Union Learning Fund from March 2021. This fund is key to maintaining our project; without it, unfortunately, we will no longer be able to continue as an organisation.

In 2019–20, the ULF was worth £12m. It supported more than 200,000 learners in workplaces across England – both union members and non-members. This decision will effectively end union-brokered skills training, and will undermine key government skills and retraining priorities at a crucial moment for our economy. The TUC and unions believe this decision is counterproductive and must be reversed.

We are asking learners who we have worked with if they could support our campaign to seek to overturn this government decision.

We are asking learners who have accessed learning and training via POA Learning to:

  • Sign the Megaphone Petition HERE

  • Write to their local MP expressing their concern. (Click HERE to find your local MP) Copy in the following three people: sec-of-state.ps@education.gov.uk CEU.enquiries@hmtreasury.gov.uk fogrady@tuc.org.uk

  • Take part in a case study, highlighting how you have benefitted by accessing one of our courses, workshops or webinars (preferably providing a quote regarding the impact it has had on you). (Please email alison.manion@poalearning.org.uk with any information)

  • Be named as supportive of the ULF in the TUC’s press release, and potentially give a quote for the release.

The campaign will be a positive, non-partisan campaign focussed on the benefits of the Union Learning Fund to workers, employers and the wider economy. We believe this decision to be mistaken, and out of kilter with the direction of the government’s skills policy and believe it can still be reversed.

This is a project extremely close to our heart and as an organisation, we want to fight the decision to the end.