The ACTU-Lend Lease Foundation is a unique example of a partnership between Australia's peak union body and a large corporation. It was formed as a joint venture between ACTU and the Lend Lease Corporation in 1981, when the current Chairman of Lend Lease Corporation, Stuart Hornery, saw the need to respond to an imbalance between youth unemployment and continuing skill shortages in Australia.
This co-operative venture between the ACTU and Lend Lease commenced with a simple charter: ’to help people to acquire skills for work'. The Lend Lease Corporation provides the Foundation with an annual grant - with funding in the vicinity of $4 million to 1991. A further $2 million has been committed for the period 1992-1995. This commitment was formalised at the 1991 ACTU Congress.
Ten trustees, five from the union movement and five from Lend Lease guide the Foundation's activities and assist implementation of projects. For the first ten years, the Foundation's major focus has been to foster and develop group training companies through both direct financial assistance and providing strategic guidance and advice. The Foundation's support is directed to practical, relevant and business-like approaches to skills development.