Personal development for UNISON members

The Covid-19 pandemic has presented a whole host of challenges, both foreseen and unforeseen. Many thousands of UNISON members are working long hours to care for victims of the disease, and to keep other essential public services functioning. Others are at home – on furlough, or self-isolating. Work is challenging, and so is life at home, and so, for the many people trying to do both at once, is the combination.

In times like these it’s easy to feel as if we don’t have any control over our own lives, to feel hopeless, to be unable to look forward to the future. But we may also be feeling driven to make changes, to consider those things that we do have control over, to develop our own skills.

If that’s the case for you, you might be interested in some of the development tools that UNISON Learning’s partners can offer you. Here’s a selection.

Personal development tools for UNISON members

It’s easy to underestimate our own talents, skills, and abilities. Unionlearn’s Value My Skills activity can help you take a fresh look at what you have to offer. And it’s now available online, as well as in the popular card game format.

Value My Skills

If you’re not sure where to start, the National Numeracy Challenge can give you an idea of the level that you’re currently working at in maths. Unionlearn’s Skillcheck can do the same thing, with options for English, ICT, or everyday finances as well. Both will give you suggestions for how you can improve your skills.

National Numeracy Challenge



The National Extension College’s Career Tracks guides are free to download and give you advice on the qualifications you need to pursue a career in nursing, teaching, physiotherapy or midwifery.

Career Tracks

OpenLearn has a free online course on Planning A Better Future for anyone considering changing jobs, wondering how to move up the ladder or return to work after a break, or looking to aspire to better things.

Planning A Better Future

This is one of a suite of six courses developed with the Social Partnerships Network, of which UNISON is a member. The others include Supporting Children’s Development, Introducing Practical Healthcare, Caring For Adults, Taking Part in the Voluntary Sector, and Starting Your Small Business.

Social Partnerships Network courses

Whether you’re interested in taking up a new hobby, such as blogging, or developing skills to help you do your job better, you can find hundreds of free online courses on the Staff Skills Academy.

UNISON and Staff Skills Academy

Unionlearn’s Careerzone is a one-stop shop for all kinds of career related information. You can compare terms and conditions in different careers, see which careers have the biggest and smallest gender pay gaps, and watch career advice videos.


Guides and toolkits for union learning reps

Supporting members through learning is more difficult these days – but, if you’re able to reach your colleagues online or over the phone, you may find these guides and toolkits useful.

Unionlearn’s Climbing Frame has various Learning Themes which can help you support your colleagues as they explore their potential, including Personal Development and Career Planning and Supporting Mid-life Development. As well as providing useful information, the tool can help you develop individual action plans for learners.

Climbing Frame

UNISON’s Moving On toolkit is designed to help union learning reps equip members who are facing redundancy or reorganisation at work with the skills they need to look for work and apply for jobs.

You can find a digital version on our e-learning site (use your My.UNISON account to log in). Or you can download the PDF of the toolkit and activity booklet from the Organising Space.

Moving On

Learning resources on the Organising Space

The TUC has several eNotes (short online learning activities) which can help you support members in their personal development, including Supporting Learners and Supporting Mid-Life Development.

Find them on the TUC Education website

No matter what stage of their career – or their life – somebody may be at, it’s always worth thinking about the possibilities beyond the obvious. Unionlearn has resources both for people beginning their working life and for those at a later stage in their career.

Career kickstart reviews

Supporting mid-life development