Learning variety is the spice of life

North West Leicestershire UNISON branch took advantage of Learning at Work Week to spread the word about the learning opportunities the union offers its members, to get people trying something new – and to have fun! Here are some highlights:


The branch set up a stall to promote the learning opportunities and grants available via UNISON. They also offered free Quick Reads books – and longer books, wrapped up to add an extra element of mystery.

One member signed up for a free distance learning course, and another applied for a grant to support their Open University studies.


UNISON member Barrie Walford organised a vegan buffet fit for a king, which was a major hit with colleagues and attracted 23 members of staff to come along and sample the amazing food on offer. Of these, 16 were UNISON members. As well as providing information on the benefits of a vegan diet for health, animal welfare and the environment, Barrie provided top tips for sourcing and preparing a range of the dishes. This was a very social and informal event and was a great way to discuss what UNISON provides with non-members. For North West Leicestershire branch this includes a definite sense of camaraderie and belonging.

Amy Bennett said: “I was quite surprised as I thought it would be really bland in taste but in reality it tasted quite like meat. You could tell it was much healthier for you and I really liked the steamed buns! It was nice to get to chat to other members of staff too. A really nice lunch-time experience.”

Barrie said: “I was delighted to be asked to get involved with this as I’m really keen to promote the benefits of veganism. This event allowed us to enjoy the food together and for people to learn something new. And I think a lot of people were surprised at how good it all tasted – there was lots of empty plates and going back for seconds!”


The branch sent UNISON members a mini test on grammar and spelling and then also shared this on the social bulletin board for all members of staff to have a go. The aim was to provide a fun activity to get staff thinking about their grammar and punctuation and where they could improve. Fourteen people took up the challenge, including seven UNISON members. Most of these came along to the stall to find out how well they had done, giving the branch us an opportunity to provide support and discuss any sticking points. The winner, Claire Winfieldale, managed to find every single mistake and was delighted to be awarded with a £20 voucher. All entrants were given a UNISON bag and chocolate treat.

Claire said: “I do a lot of proof-reading at work and my friends call me the grammar police! I enjoyed taking part in the quiz and managed to spot every single mistake so it was lovely to get the £20 voucher for a prize. I love how UNISON supports us with lots of activities and events and how it brings people together.”


The branch organised a walk around the offices, using biscuits and freebies as a way to start conversations with members of staff. They interacted with UNISON members to help engage other members of staff to discuss the benefits of joining. They had good conversations with approximately 30 members of staff who are not members, with ten of them indicating they were potentially interested in joining.