Learning in lockdown: support for ULRs during the coronavirus pandemic

In this coronavirus pandemic we’re seeing once more the importance of learning for people’s wellbeing and mental health. And UNISON learning reps have been adapting what they do and how they do it in order to meet that need.

It’s important to think about your own development in your ULR role and to make sure that you take care of yourself as well. In this post we bring together some resources to help you do that.

Keeping in touch with other reps can be challenging if you or they are working from home, furloughed, or social distancing in the workplace. It’s in situations like this, as the world has discovered, that social networks come into their own.

UNISON’s Organising Space is a great arena to share good practice and talk with other activists. It has some great resources and information to keep you up to date with ways of helping you in your role as well as helping other members you are in contact with.

There’s a dedicated discussion community for organising through learning, and a learning and development tile with resources to help you deliver activities.

It also has resources shared by UNISON reps and organisers. Some topical ones include:

  • Stress – Coping During Crisis
  • Health and Safety – Principles of the Coronavirus
  • Self-Isolation – Wellbeing Pack
  • Corona Virus – Your Wellbeing

Organising Space

The TUC Education site has some online learning resources for ULRs. If you’ve only got a short time to spare, you can take a look at one of their eNotes, which take less than half an hour to complete.

If you’re a new ULR, or are just wondering whether the role is something that you might be interested in undertaking, the TUC’s eNote Union Learning Reps: an introduction gives you an overview and will:

  • Explain the role and key tasks of the ULR
  • Identify the benefits of union learning
  • Detail the key role of the ULRs in promoting them to members, unions, other ULRs and employers.

If you want to know more about how the ULR role operates within UNISON, we have an introductory module on our e-learning site too. You can log in with your My.UNISON account.

Meanwhile, the TUC’s eNote on The Union Learning Advantage is aimed at both new and experienced ULRs, and will:

  • Give you facts and statistics to help make the case for union learning
  • Demonstrate the impact that union learning has
  • Help you find out how to get involved to spread the message of union learning

TUC eNotes

UNISON’s e-learning site

Or you can go into much greater depth by taking the TUC’s online Union Learning Reps One and Union Learning Reps Two courses, which each take around 8-10 hours of study.

Union Learning Reps One is aimed at new and experienced ULRs and will help you:

  • support and encourage members who want to broaden their skills
  • arrange training and learning opportunities
  • identify learning needs.

Union Learning Reps Two is aimed at ULRs who have some experience and/or have completed the Union Learning Reps 1 course (certificate or online) and will help you:

  • address your own development needs as a ULR
  • work with partners, employers and providers
  • use your ULR role to recruit members and strengthen your union.

Union Learning Reps One

Union Learning Reps Two

And Unionlearn’s Climbing Frame resource doubles as a source of information for ULRs and a way to store information about learners, allowing you to create action plans together.

The union learning Climbing Frame can be used to:

  • Provide up to date information to help during discussions with learners
  • Update ULRs about various learning opportunities
  • Develop individual action plans with learners
  • Keep records of sessions with learners
  • Store local information and contacts
  • Gather information about learner profiles to support negotiations with employers.

Climbing Frame learning themes include:

  • Supporting learners
  • Using the Climbing Frame
  • Apprenticeships
  • Digital skills
  • Supporting disabled learners
  • Maths and English (Functional Skills)
  • Health and wellbeing in the workplace
  • Higher learning
  • Personal development and career planning
  • Supporting midlife development
  • Progression for union reps

Climbing Frame