Chair of the Combined Authority calls on the Department for Education to reverse its decision to scrap the Union Learning Fund

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, who is chair of the Future-Ready Skills Commission, has called on the government to drop their proposal to end the £12 million Union Learning Fund.

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, who is chair of the Future-Ready Skills Commission, has called on the government to drop their proposal to end the £12 million Union Learning Fund.  

The Future-Ready Skills Commission, is a national commission supported by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and made up of experts and leading thinkers from business, education, local government and think tanks. 

It recently issued its final report, A Blueprint for a Future-Ready Skills System, following a two-year long in-depth examination of the UK skills system from post-16 education through to adult skills and career development. The report makes nine key policy recommendations that taken together offer a bold and innovative approach to adult skills funding and careers advice, including a radical shift of powers for its delivery and governance. If enacted they would lead to an adult skills and training system that can better meet the needs of local economies, and future challenges and opportunities in the workplace. 

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council and Chair of West Yorkshire Combined Authority, said: 

“Scrapping the Union Learning Fund, which has helped millions of people over the last 20 years, is a backward step at a time when we need more investment in skills and training than ever before. This announcement comes only weeks after the Prime Minister committed to launching the Lifetime Skills Guarantee which is supposed to help adults get the qualifications they need.  

“The Union Learning Fund supports around 200,000 workers into learning and training every single year. It is clear this fund has a vital role to play in levelling up as we emerge from COVID-19. Our work with the Future-Ready Skills Commission called for a forward-looking skills system, based on the needs of people, businesses and local areas to build a resilient economy. Ending funding for Union Learning will be detrimental to these ambitions and is the wrong decision for our workers, industries and communities.” 

Find more information about the Future-Ready Skills Commission