Bridges to Learning

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Bridges to Learning is an exciting partnership between UNISON, the Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) and the Open University. Originally established in 2001, since 2009 the project has expanded and now receives its funding from the Union Learning Fund

Our purpose is to help people achieve professional qualifications and employment opportunities, whatever their starting point: and to build the union role in lifelong learning and workforce development. Since 2009 the partnership has engaged thousands of learners, many of whom had done no learning at all since leaving school. Learners have entered into all levels of adult learning, from entry level English and Maths to postgraduate research and education. Working with employers and UNISON branches throughout the North East, Bridges to Learning has developed progression pathways for learners in the health, social care sectors, the education sector and wider. 

The project is delivered in the workplace by specialist UNISON Union Learning Reps. In each of these workplaces learning partnerships between UNISON and the employer have been developed and strengthened to the mutual benefit of individual learners, the employer and the union. We work with a number of public sector workplaces throughout the region. As well as providing progression routes for learners we work with our partners and other education providers to develop unique pathways to a range of learning opportunities. 

The project hosts regular face to face workshops and education both regionally and within workplaces. Over the years we have held specific staff group conferences for School staff, social workers, nursing and care staff, Admin and clerical staff, Operating department practitioners and more.

In May 2020 we launched our very own online learning hub.

The partnership has links with a number of online learning partnerships to offer tailored learning opportunities to people of the North East Region. We have brought all these courses together in one place so that people can access all the free learning they want or need in one space. The learning hub offers a range of online learning including, workshops via zoom, IT courses, WEA courses, Continuing Profession Development, Accredited Vocational training and Maths and English courses.

You can visit our hub here: