Community Learn

We believe that access to learning is a fundamental human right. Education builds confidence and self-esteem, and gives people dignity. It is also key to succeeding in our changing world, where flexible skill development is becoming vital.

Education is at the heart of everything we do…

Community has an in-house team of Learning Organisers, dedicated to working with members and employers to increase access to learning and training opportunities for our members. Since establishing our learning and skills services, we have facilitated over 54,000 learning opportunities for Community members and other learners, and secured over £15.8 million of Government and European funding, to give members, their families and their local communities access to the best education, training and learning opportunities.


Contact us


Community Learning Enquiries, Phoenix House, Bramley, Rotherham, S66 1TS

Contact us:

Email -            Phone -01709 547922

Our history

The history of learning in Community

Until the mid-1990s, the interests of Community (then the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation) in relation to the learning agenda were largely confined to the provision of standard trade union education courses for full time and lay officials. Restructuring within the steel industry resulting in large numbers of redundancies and increasing employment insecurity for steelworkers however, led to a growing realisation within the union of the need for basic skills training and accredited courses that would enable members to develop transferable skills and thus their employability beyond the steel industry. Such concerns became all the more urgent with the ending of the European Coal and Steel Community ISERBS scheme which funded the re-training of steel workers, and in 1997 Communitas EU Ltd was established (as Steel Partnership Training) in order to address these issues.

Core Communitas activities related to the provision of redundancy support services and lifelong learning opportunities. Previous Communitas initiatives have received financial support from a wide range of sources including:

  • Union learning funds (English, Scottish and Welsh)
  • Department of Trade and Industry Partnership at Work Fund
  • Welsh Assembly
  • Single Regeneration Budget
  • Rapid Response Fund
  • Skills Development Fund
  • Regeneration Zone Fund
  • Regional Development Agencies
  • European Social Fund (ESF) Objectives 1 and 3.

In 2019, in order to bring the union's learning and training support services closer to the union's other core activities, the Communitas team was brought back in-house.

Our relationship with Union Learning Reps

Our relationship with Union Learning Reps

We are proud to work alongside Community's Union Learning Reps (ULRs) to support members on their journey through education at all levels. Below you will find out a bit more about the ULR and how you could support your colleagues by becoming a ULR yourself.

What is a Union Learning Rep?

A union learning representative (ULR) is a member of an independent trade union, recognised by their employer, and elected by their union in the workplace.

What do ULRs do?

ULRs have been instrumental in championing the importance of training and development. ULRs work very hard to boost the image and strengthen the organisation of their union within the workplace. They can help widen union membership across the board and in underrepresented groups such as migrant workers.

The ULR role involves:

  • Promoting the value of learning
  • Supporting learners
  • Arranging learning/training
  • Supporting workplace learning centres to embed learning in the workplace

How do I become a ULR?

If you as a member of Community want to become a ULR, you should first discuss it with your Branch Secretary or  Regional Organiser. All ULRs are given training for their role through bespoke training courses.

Training ULRs

The effectiveness of ULRs depends very much on the training they receive from the TUC or their union. Under the Employment Act 2002, the ULR needs to be sufficiently trained to carry out his/her duties either at the time of their notice of appointment or in normal situations within six months of the appointment. In order to carry out their role, ULRs in recognised workplaces have a statutory right to paid time off to train.

What are the main functions of a ULR?

The statutory functions of a ULR are:

  • Analysing learning or training needs
  • Arranging and supporting learning and training
  • Consulting the employer about carrying out such activities
  • Preparing to carry out the above activities

What are the rights of a ULR?

The statutory rights for ULRs and union members are:

  • ULRs are entitled to reasonable paid time off for training and carrying out their duties as set out above
  • Union members are entitled to unpaid time off to consult their learning representative, as long as they belong to a bargaining unit for which the union is recognised