How learning agreements transform workplaces

Learning agreements are something that Community Learn have been negotiating for and implementing at workplaces for many years. But what is the importance and relevance of such an agreement? Lisa Francis Community’s Learning Organiser explains how learning agreements transform workplaces in this short blog.

Ensuring access to training for all workers across sectors and job roles is a key passion of ours and part of the way we monitor and assess our projects. Learning agreements are just one of many tools we use to help us along the way.

A learning agreement shows a partnership between a union branch and an employer with the same goal in mind; to upskill the employees to create a more skilled workforce. An agreement provides everyone that opportunity to increase their skills and have transferable qualifications for job security.

To add to that with the promotion of onsite flexible learning, with negotiated time off where possible, this allows workers who would struggle to do training outside of working hours the chance to do so. It really helps to break down those barriers to learning.

The agreement would have objectives and a clear purpose that gives our members the confidence that their learning needs will be addressed. Learning agreements encourage employer engagement to ensure a more accurate skills needs analyse is planned. This helps to close skill gaps between workers but also enables individuals to get the right training that will benefit them most. With support from Community Learn, the agreements aim to enhance employer’s co-investment and responsibility in keeping their employees’ skills up to date.

A large part of a learning agreement is the right and responsibilities of Union learning representatives (ULRs) and ensuring they have release from their normal work duties to carry out the role. A ULR is a nominated branch member who is dedicated to promoting a learning culture and agenda in the workplace. They are the person that colleagues can speak too about their learning aspirations and needs. Having that person can encourage people who have essential skills issues (Maths, English and IT) to come forward and ask for that help so they can improve their skills which will ultimately help them at work and beyond.

Improving individual’s essential skills increases their knowledge and understanding in and out of work. Many of our workplaces can be dangerous, an understanding of health and safety policies is vital for workers responsibility of safety to themselves and others. Improved communication and reading skills are only going to result in less health and safety risks for a workplace. Outside of work, improved skills might help them to carry out daily tasks or get online, or even support their families.

The benefits of a learning agreement make them a vital tool for workers, employers and the Union. If you are interested in developing a learning agreement in your branch, then I urge you to get in touch with us at

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