Three steps to becoming a Trained & Active rep

Over the years, thousands of UNISON members have been supported and mentored into becoming active with the help of the Trained & Active Plan. Inexperienced members have gained the confidence and knowledge to speak up and become effective reps in their workplace.

And now the Trained & Active Plan has been updated for a new generation of UNISON contacts, activists and reps.

The new Trained & Active Plan is a flexible document that can be used to support any member into activism, and the hope is it will be particularly useful way to support members from all the different employers where UNISON has members. It uses the method of identifying small tasks for someone to carry out, and building on those tasks to increase confidence and skills.

Three sections – three steps

‘Each section of the Trained and Active Plan has suggested tasks to help your journey from beginner to becoming experienced – and getting loads of experience along the way,’ explains UNISON education officer Emily King. ‘It also has space for you to note where you feel you are currently, so you can discuss with your mentor what support you need to develop confidence and carry out activities.’


For many UNISON members, the first step towards being more involved with the union is becoming a contact. Contacts play an important role in making sure that UNISON is visible in the workplace, and they might…

… direct UNISON members to where they can get help and advice

… keep the union’s noticeboard up to date

… talk about why they joined the union

Click here to download the Trained & Active Plan for contacts


There are all sorts of different roles that UNISON members can take on (and watch this space for the Activate! e-note, coming next month). We call all of them activists. Here are some things that an activist can do to build on their experience as a contact…

… use the internet and email to keep up to date with UNISON issues

… find out who in their workplace is a UNISON member

… shadow a rep at a grievance or disciplinary meeting

… undertake Stage 1 Stewards Training

Click here to download the Trained & Active Plan for activists


Trained, active, confident reps are what holds this union together. They’re negotiating with employers, representing members, and helping people to take action – whether that’s as a workplace representative (steward), a health and safety representative, or union learning representative. They might…

… arrange a workplace meeting about an issue that affects them and their colleagues

… attend branch committee meetings

… allocate small tasks to members who want to get involved in campaigns

… conduct a survey of members in the workplace

Click here to download the Trained & Active Plan for reps