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Partnership opens up union learning opportunities

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Trade unionists across Scotland can access skills and training thanks to a partnership with The Open University in Scotland. 

The OU in Scotland and the Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding today (Monday 19 April), setting out a range of collaborative activity which will open up training opportunities for the 540,000 Scottish workers who are trade unionists, the members of 39 affiliated trade unions and 20 Trades Union Councils. 

The virtual signing of the Memorandum took place at the Scottish Union Learning STUC Congress Fringe Event, STUC & The Open University in Scotland: Organising learning for a fairer future.

Shared goals include applying learning in the workplace through upskilling or reskilling; enhancing career development; and providing opportunities to those who have previously benefited least from education and training.

In its 52 years, The Open University has educated more than two million people worldwide, more than 200,000 of whom have been Scots. It has students in every Scottish Parliamentary constituency and recently published a prospectus for the next Scottish Parliament called Skills+ Scotland setting out key themes to galvanise higher education to support an inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Susan Stewart, Director of The Open University in Scotland, said:

“Today’s launch of the Memorandum of Understanding with the STUC sets out our future goals with skills-based learning at its heart. A renewed focus on learning, reskilling and upskilling is vital as the nation recovers.

“We are proud to have worked alongside the STUC, Scottish Union Learning and trade unions to deliver a wide range of learning opportunities from short courses through to digital skills, all of which support people to gain new opportunities in the workplace. 

“Three quarters of all OU students work full or part-time and our flexible courses make it easier for people from all backgrounds who have busy lives to access learning.”

Rozanne Foyer, STUC General Secretary, said:

“The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding between The Open University in Scotland and STUC underlines our commitment to supporting workers in developing their skills for a fairer future.

"The STUC looks forward to many more years of working in partnership with the OU in Scotland to ensure crucial learning opportunities are open to working people from across Scotland.”

Wendy Burton, Director of Scottish Union Learning, said:

“Scottish Union Learning is proud to work with The Open University in Scotland. By working in partnership, we are able to offer a range of learning opportunities to workers across Scotland.

"We can also support workers who have been furloughed, those at risk of redundancy, or who have already lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Union learners can benefit from a range of short courses to longer-term development programmes that can improve their skills and employment opportunities.”

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