The Union Learning Fund for Northern Ireland 2020 -2023

Raising the skills level of the workforce is a key priority of the Northern Ireland Executive skills agenda and the support and endeavour of the Trade Unions has a key part to play in achieving this goal.

Union-led learning is a tremendous success story. It has helped many people to transform their lives, and has opened up new opportunities through access to learning and developing new skills to aid progression within the workplace and to succeed in everyday life.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions plays a pivotal role in this by working in conjunction with the Department for the Economy (DfE) to make Union Learning Fund and all other aspects of Union-led learning a success. We will continue to work to strengthen and expand on the good work of the previous ULF projects in order to make the new 2020 - 2023 projects even more effective.

We therefore look forward to receiving bids from a wide range of Unions and to working with them to build on the many achievements of the Union Learning Fund to date.


The Union Learning Fund has 4 main aims: -

  • To develop and expand the capacity of the trade union movement through union-led learning.
  • To increase workplace learning by encouraging innovative, union-led partnership projects which lead to workers gaining nationally recognised qualifications.
  • To address Essential Skills and learning that supports economic growth and improved activity.
  • To widen participation and break down barriers to learning in the workplace by supporting projects which focus on social inclusion and engaging non-traditional learners.

2020-2023 Prospectus

Who can apply?

The Fund is open to bids from any trade union with membership in Northern Ireland, whether or not it is affiliated to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU).

The Fund seeks to encourage a partnership-based approach to workplace learning. Applications will be particularly welcomed from Trade Unions working in partnership with others, such as employers, education and training providers, Local Authorities, voluntary and / or community-based organisations.

The Department for the Economy expects that the trade union making the bid will take the lead role in managing and delivering the project, including accounting and financial monitoring arrangements.

2020 - 2023 Project Application


Support is available from NIC-ICTU for any union wanting to make an application to the fund.  Applicant organisations are strongly advised to indicate early expressions of interest to NIC-ICTU. Trade Unions should contact:

Julie Gorman

Irish Congress of Trade Unions

Carlin House

4-6 Donegall Street Place