The Preston Cooperative Education Centre (PCEC) was founded in 2021 as a union-coop. We are passionate about education, democracy and co-operation. As a union-coop, we will be governed by our members: worker owners, staff and students. We will provide education and training in co-operatives and co-operation. In the PCEC everyone is a teacher and a learner. Our courses will meet the needs of our students, and will lead to a regeneration of democratic and co-operative ways of working for Preston and beyond. Our work in common will support people to create new co-operative businesses within a co-operative framework of community wealth building. We offer an alternative to standard business approaches. We believe in making the profits of our work benefit other co-operatives and local communities for the common good.
The PCEC aims to be inclusive, diverse, and environmentally aware. Social justice and working towards a better, fairer and more equal society are fundamental to our approaches.
We fully embrace the idea that there is no co-operation and no sustainable change in society without education. We share with and are influenced in this thinking by the story of the Mondragón co-operatives in the Basque Country. The beginnings of the world’s most successful co-operative group in Mondragón began with years of education and training before the first co-operative was formed. Like Mondragón, we know that sustainability in co-operative business comes hand in hand with education and renewal.
Photographs: PCEC directors met with Mondragón delegates in 2021 during their stay in Preston.
“It has been said that cooperativism is an economic movement that uses educational action, while the definition could also be altered to affirm that it is an educational movement that uses economic action.“
Don José María Arizmendiarrieta, the founder of the Mondragón co-operatives