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Communitas EU Ltd

Flash Lane


S66 1TS

T: 01709 547 922




Until the mid-1990s, the interests of Community (then the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation) in relation to the learning agenda were largely confined to the provision of standard trade union education courses for full time and lay officials. Restructuring within the steel industry resulting in large numbers of redundancies and increasing employment insecurity for steelworkers however, led to a growing realisation within the union of the need for basic skills training and accredited courses that would enable members to develop transferable skills and thus their employability beyond the steel industry.  Such concerns became all the more urgent with the ending of the European Coal and Steel Community ISERBS scheme which funded the re-training of steel workers, and in 1997 Communitas EU Ltd was established (as Steel Partnership Training) in order to address these issues.

Core Communitas activities have therefore related to the provision of redundancy support services and lifelong learning opportunities. Previous Communitas initiatives have received financial support from a wide range of sources including:

Examples of previous Communitas initiatives include:

Advocate Worker Project:

Provided training for workplace learning representatives.

DTI Partnership Fund:

Identified a common approach to lifelong learning within Corus, and has involved a series of seminars involving senior mangers and trade unionists.

Basic Skills Project: 

Focused on identifying and addressing basic skills needs reflecting the government policy position.

Community Based Learning Initiatives:

Pioneered the development of community based learning centres, and appropriate materials for use within such facilities. Led to the development of two on-line courses in partnership with GFTU, and a 60-credit community based certificate with the School of Continuing Education at Leeds University.

Delta Plus Project:

Provided redundancy support services for employees at Delta Crompton Cables in Enfield, north London, but later embraced other local firms including Coca-Cola, and First National.

North Staffordshire Network Plus:

Provided redundancy support services at Shelton steelworks enabling 79% of beneficiaries to re-enter the labour market. The project was granted a two year extension, and broadened to embrace workers made redundant by a number of other local companies including Michelin, Sumitomo and Leoni, and enterprises within the ceramics industry.

Addressing Basic Learning and Education (ABLE)

Based in Wales, ABLE utilises the ULR network to engage non-traditional learners and those with little experience of post compulsory education in learning activities.  The project responds to the learning needs of this group, and thus addresses potential barriers to learning, facilitating the development of a learning culture within the community.

Communitas also played a leading role in a number of trans-national projects supported by European funding streams.  This activity enabled Communitas, and thus Community, to engage with, and more importantly indirectly influence the developing European lifelong learning policy agenda.

Two trans-national projects were successfully delivered prior to 2005:

New Steel Industry Challenges:

Communitas co-ordinated this project which was funded by the Leonardo da Vinci programme.  The project developed initial modules for a new trans-national qualification available to European steelworkers. As such, it responded to the changing skills needs of the European steel industry that had been highlighted by the European Commission and the European Metalworkers Federation. It also addressed the lack of training programmes and qualifications that addressed those emergent skills needs.


The Learnpartner project, which was funded by the Fifth Framework programme was an even more significant project for Communitas. Learnpartner explored how lifelong learning could be utilised as a response to restructuring in the European steel and metal sector, and assessed the potential of partnership-based approaches for furthering the lifelong learning agenda within this context.  The project found that lifelong learning had a key role to play in responses to restructuring, and pointed to the importance both of early intervention, particularly in the period between the announcement and enactment of redundancies, and post redundancy provision.

The Birth of Communitas
Our History

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