WEA announces a mutual membership with GFTU to build communities and skills


24 September 2021

WEA announces a mutual membership with GFTU to build communities and skills

The WEA (formerly known as the Workers’ Educational Association) and the GFTU (General Federation of Trade Unions) has announced a unique mutual membership bringing discounted WEA membership to GFTU members and GFTU affiliate membership to WEA staff and Tutors. 
This significant initiative aims to bring the strength of unions and community organisations together to build communities, skills, and collective voice. The WEA will bring its expertise as charity provider of adult education, deeply embedded in local communities, to strengthen GFTU’s existing support and training for local representatives – empowering a strong adult education voice. 
Born out of a desire to bring the study of the arts and humanities to workers, the WEA has a long history of working with Unions to bring education, skills and aspiration to all communities.   
The WEA’s social justice mission, means it has developed strong programmes across the country in areas of multiple deprivation, where community building, confidence building and support to develop key employability skills have been vital. The WEA’s small group, informal learning approach based in community settings attracts those furthest from study and often in greatest need for support. 
GFTU trade unions and members will receive a number of WEA benefits from this mutual membership including discounted course programmes, networking opportunities, WEA magazine, weekly lectures and newsletters.
Particularly important to this initiative, are the WEA’s strong links and working partnerships with thousands of community organisations across the country.
Simon Parkinson, CEO of WEA, said,
“We’re excited about this new mutual membership agreement with GFTU. Working together unions and community organisations can play a significant part in building and strengthening communities and giving them a voice.  I’m looking forward to the skills exchange between our two organisations’ tutors and members and co-developing innovations in adult education policy.
If the WEA can help the GFTU to forge relationships with our existing partners, and together we can help communities develop confidence, skills and a voice through both our education programmes, we’ll be delivering by our social justice mission – empowering learners and building communities.”
Doug Nicholls, General Secretary of GFTU said:

 “If we are to rebuild civil society and the economy it is vital that there is a new deal for workers and their communities and a revival of lifelong learning. This new development between the WEA and GFTU indicates the way ahead and represents a bold step with a trade union federation opening membership to major community providers.”

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