04 Apr 2007

Wales TUC partnership opens the door to Open University learning for 500,000 Welsh workers

Nearly 20 per cent of adults in Wales could benefit from a memorandum of understanding signed between Wales TUC and The Open University in Wales in Cardiff today (Wednesday 4 April).

The MoU outlines how the two organisations plan to work together in future but already union members throughout Wales who are new to studying with the OU can access a 10 per cent discount on a wide range of courses.

The two organisations are building on a common mission in Wales - to support the personal, career development and lifelong learning of people throughout Wales. They are pledging to work together to ensure that those who have previously benefited least from education and training can develop their skills, confidence and careers through access to learning opportunities.

The MoU is signed by Felicity Williams, General Secretary of The Wales TUC, and Dr Heather Graham, Director of The Open University in Wales. It is intended as a broad framework document for collaboration between the two organisations which operate at national scale with local focus.

Dr Heather Graham said: “The Wales TUC and The Open University in Wales are natural partners. We are looking forward to working together more closely in support of both individuals and their employers.”

Felicity Williams of Wales TUC explains what the two organisations expect to do next. “Wales TUC will have the capacity to assist unions to access learning for their members by providing a wide range of services. As part of this process, we will be working to negotiate learning agreements in the workplace that encourage employers to support workers as they train and study – thus removing a major barrier to access for the less well-off.

"The TUC represents members at every level of educational attainment – from workers with no educational qualifications to graduate professionals working in Wales’ education, management and the public services.”

The MoU does not displace existing arrangements between the OU and individual unions.

Editors' notes

The Wales TUC
The Wales TUC is the voice of Wales at work. With over 50 affiliated trade unions the Wales TUC represents nearly half a million workers

The Wales TUC was established in 1974. It is an integral part of the TUC and was set up to ensure that the role of the TUC is effectively undertaken in Wales. The Wales TUC seeks to work with and make representations to other organisations at an all-Wales level. A major role is to co-ordinate the trade union approach to the Welsh Assembly Government and ensure that the interests of Wales' trade unionists are properly represented in the whole range of Assembly decision making.

The Open University in Wales
The Open University in Wales is part of the UK-wide Open University but with one main difference – it is funded directly by the Welsh Assembly.

This means that the 6,000 students who study with the OU in Wales every year get the best of both worlds. They have dedicated support from Cardiff, concentrating solely on the needs of students in Wales, and the vast resources of the OU nationally, which are second to none. Visit for more information. The OU is a leading provider of higher education through supported open learning, regionally, nationally and worldwide.

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