Supporting the funding and delivery of union-led learning services that widen educational access and benefit learners, unions and employers

Impact: Impact - for External PortalPolicy and legislation, Professional practice, training and standards


Research on unions and workplace learning has informed government and unions on the effectiveness and distinctiveness of union-led learning (ULL) in promoting adult learning and skills. On the basis of the research, the then Scottish Executive decided to provide funding for union-led learning from 2008 to 2011. The research findings have also contributed to priority setting for union learning funds, notably by directing funding towards the longer-term sustainability of ULL across Scotland, benefitting adult and particularly non-traditional adult learners. The research has also impacted on trade union policy on workplace learning and skills by informing strategic deliberations about how unions can generate member and union benefits from learning activities. It has also influenced union and employers’ practices by linking skills acquisition and deployment, leading to improved working practices that benefit employers, employees and unions. Moreover, the evaluation framework developed in this research has informed approaches to evaluating ULL elsewhere in the UK, and robust evaluations using the framework have generated additional funds for learners in England at a time when other funding for adult learning has diminished.
Impact statusOpen
Category of impactPolicy and legislation, Professional practice, training and standards


  • REF2014 impact case study