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SULF4 Prospectus and Form

DescriptionScottish Union Learning Fund (Round 4) Prospectus and Application Form
ISBN
Official Print Publication Date
Website Publication DateMarch 31, 2003

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    03|04 Scottish Union Learning Fund Prospectus

    This document is also available in pdf format (373k)

    Contents

    What are the aims of the fund?
    What help is available from the fund?
    Who is eligible to apply?
    How will the money be allocated?
    What main themes will bids be evaluated against?
    What sorts of learning activities might the themes cover?
    How do we submit a bid?
    How will payment be made to successful bidders?
    When do bids have to be submitted by?

    SULF 4 Bidding pro forma (PDF version, 39k)
    SULF 4 Bidding pro forma (Word version)

    Minister That document sets out our vision for lifelong learning over the next 5 years: a vision which will seek to secure the best possible match between the learning opportunities open to our people and the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours which will strengthen Scotland's economy and society.Life Through Learning; Learning Through Life.Last month the Scottish Executive published its new lifelong learning strategy -

    Our new lifelong learning strategy is about personal fulfilment and enterprise, employability and adaptability, active citizenship and social inclusion. It will be supported by an ambitious programme of work designed to meet the needs of a wide and diverse range of learners. But success will require the active participation of a wide range of stakeholders if we are to make social justice a reality and raise our productivity levels to match that of the leading economies of the world.

    A key component of our strategy will be efforts to raise the demand for workforce development. The Scottish Employers' Skills Survey, which Futureskills Scotland published last November, revealed that many employers are more concerned about skills gaps amongst their existing workforce than about recruitment difficulties brought about by skills shortages. Employers reported that such skills gaps were more prevalent amongst those employed in lower-skilled jobs. Given this, the Scottish Executive is particularly keen to support workplace learning initiatives which focus on raising literacy and numeracy levels and which provide the opportunity to reduce the proportion of working age adults whose highest qualification is below SCQF level 5.

    Trade unions can play a leading role in raising the demand for workplace learning by working in partnership with employers and other stakeholders to motivate individuals to participate in lifelong learning. Together, we need to get the message across that investment in knowledge and skills in the workplace brings direct economic returns to individuals and collective economic returns to society. Through its active involvement with the Scottish Union Learning Fund, the trade union movement in Scotland has already demonstrated its commitment to workforce development. I am also aware that trade union capacity is being built up which will ensure the longer-term sustainability of learning initiatives put in place with help from the Fund. In addition, powers contained within the Employment Act 2002, now supported by a Code of Practice agreed by employers and trade unions, will ensure that union learning representatives are entitled to paid time off, both to be trained and to carry out
    their duties. The formal recognition of the role of union learning representatives will give a fresh impetus to learning in the workplace. Union learning representatives are ideally placed to help and encourage their peers to increase their skills levels, particularly for low-skilled workers and those with literacy and numeracy needs - the very people who so often miss out on learning opportunities.

    Engaging the non-traditional learners who are to be found in every workplace will be vital for the success of our lifelong learning strategy, and the trade union movement has already demonstrated that it has the capacity to do this. I would, therefore, particularly welcome bids to the Fund from trade unions which encourage people to return to learning.

    In recognition of the important contribution which the trade union movement is making towards promoting lifelong learning in the workplace, the Scottish Executive is committing 2.4 million to the Scottish Union Learning Fund over the next 3 years. This amount represents a doubling of the resources allocated to the Fund in its first 3 years. However, this funding represents only one component of the 1.7 billion which the Scottish Executive will spend on lifelong learning in 2003-2004, a figure which will rise to 1.9 billion by 2005-2006. Life Through Learning; Learning Through Life sets out our vision and commitment to lifelong learning. We now look to the trade union movement in Scotland to help us deliver the vision in the workplace. I am sure that the unions are up to the task.

    Iain Gray, MSP

    signature

    Minister for Enterprise, Transport
    and Lifelong Learning

    What are the aims of the fund?

    The Scottish Union Learning Fund promotes activity by trade unions in support of the Scottish Executive's vision for lifelong learning in Scotland which is to secure the best possible match between the learning opportunities open to people and the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours which will strengthen Scotland's economy and society.

    The Fund is intended to assist effective and sustainable activity by trade unions and their partners to encourage workplace learning in its widest sense. Successful trade union projects will contribute towards the 5 people-centred goals set out in the Executive's new lifelong learning strategy Life Through Learning; Learning Through Life. In particular, the Fund has a key role to play in helping the Scottish Executive meet the objectives it has set for improving adult literacy and numeracy levels in Scotland and for reducing the proportion of working age adults whose highest qualification is below SCQF level 5; and below SCQF level 6 for those aged 18-29.

    What help is available from the fund?

    Funding is available for the financial year 2003-2004 to support projects due for completion no later than 31 March 2006. In order to attract bids of a more strategic nature which will build up capacity within trade unions to support the lifelong learning agenda, there is no longer a financial ceiling for bids in any one year. However, unions are encouraged to think carefully through project objectives and supporting work to ensure that their funding requirements accurately reflect the planned level of activity and outcomes.

    The emphasis of the projects which the Fund will support is on building up unions' capacity to promote people development and workplace learning, especially by encouraging and supporting non-traditional learners. It is not intended to replace employer-funded training, such as funding purely job-specific courses for employees, except where these have been arranged as a result of an employer-union partnership initiative. Where projects include an element for course funding, unions will need to make clear in their application how this helps to build union capacity to support learning in the workplace.

    Better skills for future prosperity

    Bids for Equipment

    Where bids involve new or improved facilities to enhance a union's capacity to support learning at work, such as on-site learning centres, bidders will need to demonstrate linked activity to support their effective use, and that there are sound plans in place for sustaining use of the equipment in the longer-term. In other words, innovative work should revolve around people and systems, rather than hardware and accommodation.

    Salary Costs

    The Fund will only support payment of salaries where this is clearly linked to start-up costs or for pump-priming new activities. As the Fund is intended to support sustainable activity , there will be no on-going commitment to pay salary costs. The emphasis of the Fund is leaning increasingly towards consolidation of new approaches tried out in previous years, funded either by this Fund or by the Union Learning Fund in England or the Wales Union Learning Fund.

    Consolidation might involve methods and materials developed by one region of a union being rolled out to the rest of the union network. Alternatively, it might involve one or more unions adapting and embedding the approach and methods piloted by another union. Ideally, unions should be planning to devote permanent staff time to the promotion of learning and bearing the associated salary costs themselves, by securing funding through mainstream funds or support from other partners. This should be reflected in applications for funding. Grants from the Fund cannot be used to subsidise the salary costs of National Officers of trade unions. The only exception to this would be when a National Officer is seconded to manage a project full-time, with their normal duties being carried out in their absence by a deputy.

    Other Funding Sources

    Monies from the Scottish Union Learning Fund can be used as matching funding for bids to other sources - for example, ESF Objective 3. However, it must be clear that any such funding will be used for different elements from those for which Fund money is being sought - that is, there must be no double funding.

    Contributions from Partners

    Whilst there is no specific requirement to demonstrate matched funding, bids that lever in contributions from partners will be particularly welcome. Where an employer is likely to derive particular benefit from the project a union is proposing, such as employees receiving accredited training, we are especially keen to see a strong partnership commitment from them, including an actual financial contribution rather than contributions in kind, such as the use of office space.

    Adult Literacy and Numeracy

    Any proposals by trade unions to address adult literacy and numeracy levels should take account of the 2001 Scottish Executive report Adult Literacy and Numeracy in Scotland and the Literacies in the Community material produced by City of Edinburgh Council, including the Good Practice Framework. This material can be downloaded from the following web site: www.scotland.gov.uk/scotlit/scotlit.htm

    We would also expect trade unions to take account of the work already being carried out by STUC in this field as part of the STUC Pathfinder Project.

    Who is eligible to apply?

    Any trade union with membership in Scotland, or any national organisation representing trade unions with membership in Scotland, whether or
    not it is affiliated to the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), will be eligible
    to apply for funding. Bids will be particularly welcome from trade unions forming partnership with others, such
    as employers, colleges and universities, local enterprise companies (LECs), Sector Skills Councils (SSCs), local authorities
    or community-based organisations. Each partner will be required to provide written evidence detailing the precise extent of its commitment to the project.

    New Entrants

    The STUC's Lifelong Learning Unit is willing to offer advice and support to all trade unions interested in applying for a grant from the Scottish Union Learning Fund. Both the Scottish Executive and the STUC are keen to involve unions who have not yet applied to the Fund. Anyone interested in accessing this service should contact:

    Dec McGrath
    Lifelong Learning Development Officer
    STUC
    333 Woodlands Road
    GLASGOW
    G3 6NG
    Tel: 0141 337 8117
    Email:dmcgrath@stuc.org.uk

    The STUC Lifelong Learning Unit will be holding workshops to support project managers and a project management toolkit will be made available. This toolkit will provide comprehensive guidance to unions running projects, including the arrangements for monitoring expenditure against agreed outcomes and the management information which the Scottish Executive will expect unions to record.

    In addition, the STUC's Lifelong Learning Unit can provide prospective bidders with case studies of earlier workplace learning projects run successfully by unions with financial assistance from the Fund.

    Developing the knowledge economy

    How will the money be allocated?

    The Minister for Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning will make the final decisions on applications after taking advice from an independent Advisory Group, the composition of which will be decided between the Scottish Executive and the STUC. Every effort will be made to provide unsuccessful applicants with feedback on the weaknesses of their bids.

    What main themes will bids be evaluated against?

    This year we are encouraging bids to focus on the 5 people-centred goals set out in the Executive's new lifelong learning strategy Life Through Learning; Learning Through Life. Given this, it is expected that bids will set out actions and outcomes designed to support some or all of the following themes:

    • a Scotland where people have the confidence, enterprise, knowledge, creativity and skills they need to participate in economic, social and civic life;
    • a Scotland where people demand, and providers deliver, a high quality learning experience;
    • a Scotland where people's knowledge and skills are recognised, used and developed to best effect in their workplace;
    • a Scotland where people are given the information, guidance and support they need to make effective learning decisions and transitions; and
    • a Scotland where people have the chance to learn, irrespective of their background or current personal circumstances.

    More detail on each of these 5 themes, plus the workplace learning activities which might support them, are set out below.

    Knowledge, skills - the key to future prosperity

    What sorts of learning activities might the themes cover?

    A Scotland where people have the confidence, enterprise, knowledge, creativity and skills they need to participate in economic, social and civic life

    This theme is primarily about closing the gaps in opportunity, skills and productivity. Unions are particularly well-placed to address the gap in participation in learning between those in low skilled jobs and those in high skilled jobs. Key learning activities around this theme might be work to raise the levels of adult literacy and numeracy in the workplace, or initiatives specifically targeted to help non-traditional learners gain qualifications at, or above, SCQF level 5 (N/SVQ 2).

    A Scotland where people demand, and providers deliver, a high quality learning experience

    This theme addresses the need to ensure that the learning experiences which individuals participate in are quality experiences. The extent to which unions are able to stimulate demand for workplace learning will depend, ultimately, on the quality of the learning experience. Key activities around this theme might be work which requires effective partnership working with other key stakeholders, such as Sector Skills Councils, learndirect scotland, local enterprise companies, Scottish Qualifications Authority, FE colleges and other training providers to deliver accredited training to learners.

    A Scotland where people's knowledge and skills are recognised, used and developed to best effect in their workplace

    This theme will be of particular relevance to trade unions considering bids to the Fund. As in previous years, the need for trade unions to build effective partnerships with employers is a key objective of the Fund. Key activities under this theme might be work with employers to:

    • put in place learning partnerships and agreements which provide a framework for improving the skills of the workforce; and/or
    • establish employee development schemes and workplace learning centres to which the employer contributes.

    People, our most valuable asset

    A Scotland where people are given the information, guidance and support they need to make effective learning decisions and transitions

    This theme recognises that if we are to fully engage individuals with the lifelong learning agenda we need to ensure that they are given the information, advice and guidance which they require to make informed decisions. Key activities around this would be work to build up union capacity at workplace level to support prospective learners and the forging of effective partnerships with bodies such as learndirect scotland, Futureskills Scotland and Careers Scotland.

    Now that the Employment Act 2002 has granted union learning representatives the statutory right to reasonable time off to receive training and carry out their duties, learning representatives will play an increasingly important role in promoting, facilitating and supporting learning in the workplace. The opportunity is there for unions to put in place a network of workplace learning representatives, or to consolidate existing networks, as a means of both building capacity and ensuring the longer-term sustainability of initiatives supported by the Fund.

    A Scotland where people have the chance to learn, irrespective of their background or current personal circumstances

    This theme is about widening access to lifelong learning, and ensuring that funding streams are flexible enough to meet demand. The Scottish Executive is committed to raising demand, widening participation and supporting access to workforce development from a wide spectrum of learners irrespective of their age, race, sex, religion, sexual orientation or whether or not they have any disability or learning difficulty. Activities which support the widening access agenda are particularly welcome, such as the Return to Learn programme developed jointly by Unison and the Workers' Educational Association for those employed in education, local authorities and the health service.

    Key Criteria

    Bids which address some or all of the themes of the Executive's new lifelong learning strategy will be considered by the Fund Advisory Group. Bids will be assessed against the following criteria, related to the objectives and intended outcomes of the proposal:

    • does the bid actively support the Executive's goal of closing the gap in participation in learning between those in low skilled jobs and those in high skilled jobs?
    • does it clearly focus on the widening access agenda by addressing equal opportunities and social inclusion issues?
    • does it demonstrate evidence of capacity-building and organisational development within the union, including clear plans to locate the project management function within Scotland?
    • does it set out proposals for ensuring the future sustainability of the learning initiatives which the Fund is being asked to support?
    • does it demonstrate a commitment to raising demand for learning and ensuring the delivery of high quality training to learners?
    • does it contain evidence which indicates a genuine commitment to partnership working with employers and other partners?

    Lifelong learning - an aspiration for all

    How do we submit a bid?

    Your bid should be made using the application form enclosed with this Prospectus. ( PDF Version) ( Word Version) Please ensure that any annexes or supplementary sheets, including endorsements of support from employers/partners, accompany the bid. Bids must be accompanied by a letter, signed by the union's nominated officer, to confirm that the application has the support of the union leadership.

    It will be important for trade unions to include with their bids full information on how they intend to monitor and evaluate the impact and effectiveness of proposed projects. All applications should, therefore, include full, detailed information on:

    • anticipated costs;
    • planned contributions from partners;
    • number of learners to be engaged; and
    • how success/effectiveness will be measured.

    Further copies of this Prospectus and the application form can be obtained from the Scottish Executive web site at; www.scotland.gov.uk/education/sulf4

    A copy of Life Through Learning; Learning Through Life can also be downloaded from the Scottish Executive web site at; www.scotland.gov.uk/library5/lifelong/llsm-00.asp

    If successful, bidders will receive a formal offer of grant support from the Fund setting out the terms and conditions of the offer.

    How will payment be made to successful bidders?

    Payment will be by reimbursement at agreed points in the project, either monthly or quarterly, and will be subject to demonstration of satisfactory progress against the project plan. It is likely that a start-up payment of 25% of the total project cost in Year 1 will be made. This payment will be made once the union has confirmed, in writing, its acceptance of the terms and conditions set out in grant offer letter. Start-up payments will be recovered from milestone payments in subsequent financial years.

    When do bids have to be submitted by?

    Applications for funding should be made no later than 16 May 2003. It is recommended that the start date for projects is set no earlier than 1 July 2003.

    Final payments for all projects must be made no later than 31 March 2006. Please nominate an authorising officer whose signature confirms that the application has the support of the union leadership.

    Bids should be submitted to

    Rob Lennox
    Policy Officer
    The Scottish Executive
    Enterprise and Lifelong Learning Department
    Skills and Learning Opportunities Division
    Floor 1, Europa Building
    450 Argyle Street
    GLASGOW
    G2 8LG

    Tel: 0141 242 0289
    Fax: 0141 242 0222
    Email:rob.lennox@scotland.gsi.gov.uk