Coronavirus: learning for UNISON members and activists

IT learning © Jess Hurd/

UNISON Learning and Organising Services and education staff across the union are working hard so that we can continue to provide trade union learning and training in a safe and effective way. We’ve moved our courses online – but don’t worry if you’re not confident using a computer or the internet. You’ll find some really helpful resources to get you started under ‘Getting to grips with the technology’, a little way down this page.

You can read about some of the learning work that’s been going on across the union in this summer’s edition of ULearn magazine.


If you’re a union learning rep (ULR), branch education co-ordinator or lifelong learning co-ordinator, please do share this page with members in your branch so that they know what’s on offer.

Jump to:

Getting to grips with the technology

For many people, measures to deal with the coronavirus outbreak meant a sudden change in working habits, including working from home and working remotely. If you’re trying to get up to speed with IT, there are some resources that can help.

If you’re starting at the very beginning, or helping someone else who doesn’t have much experience with technology, Learn My Way talks you through everything, beginning with how to turn your computer on.

Learn My Way

The Inclusive Technology guide compiled for us by Diversity’N’Ability suggests several apps and tools that can make technology a little easier to use, and explains how to get the most out of the inbuilt accessibility features that already exist in the programs and systems that you may well already be using.

Inclusive Technology guide

And Digital Unite’s technology guides are also really helpful.

Digital Unite guides

Back to top

Training for our members

Online learning for UNISON members

We have expanded our online member learning offer vastly with a new partnership with the Staff Skills Academy. This means that UNISON members can access over 550 certified CPD courses for free – including some that are very timely, such as Remote Workers’ Security and How To Manage Virtual Teams.

See the full list of available courses

Email us to request an account

The Open University’s OpenLearn project offers literally thousands of free self-guided online courses. And FutureLearn also has a huge range of distance learning courses, with tutors monitoring the community to answer your questions.



You can also improve your maths skills online with the National Numeracy Challenge. This is a free website to help you check and improve your numeracy – the maths you use in daily life and at work, like managing your money, working out measurements or understanding percentages.

National Numeracy Challenge

Many people are turning to reading as a way of switching off from the stress and pressure of the current crisis. But reading is also a great way to stay connected with friends and family. The Reading Agency’s toolkit has some suggestions for taking your reading group online, and for reading with children.

Reading Agency Covid-19 toolkit

Unionlearn have launched a Learning @ Home campaign, pulling together some of their most popular learning resources into one place, and including six tips for learning at home.

Learning @ Home

They’ve also released six free bitesized online learning courses on topics including safe video conferencing, helping your children learn at home, and personal finances.

Unionlearn bitesized e-learning

And our arrangements with other distance learning providers such as eCareers and the National Extension College remain in place too.

Discounts for UNISON members

We have selected some courses and other online learning opportunities that may be of particular interest to UNISON members who work in social care.

Learning for social care staff

Back to top

Mental health and wellbeing

During these stressful and worrying times, it’s important to look after your own mental health. We have gathered together some online learning resources to help you do that.

Find them here

Back to top

Training for our activists

New Stewards: online course

We have quadrupled the number of spaces available on our online New Stewards course. Over the last few years, this has been a popular option for reps whose shift patterns or personal commitments made it difficult to get to a classroom. It’s delivered by experienced TUC tutors and supported by UNISON organisers. You’ll need to create an account on the TUC Education site to apply for and participate in the course.

More about the online course

Apply here

Back to top

Health and safety reps training

New online induction training for health and safety reps has been piloted nationally, and our regional education teams will be putting courses on as the year progresses.

Contact your regional education team

Back to top

Coronavirus: training for UNISON activists

The TUC’s ongoing series of webinars has been very popular. So far they’ve covered topics including: organising around the coronavirus,  the wage subsidy, health and safety in the home, study skills, and making the workplace safe.

See upcoming webinars

Catch up on previous webinars

Coronavirus is, above all, a question of health and safety. UNISON Learning and Organising Services has been working with the Health and Safety Unit and has compiled a selection of resources to help health and safety reps make the case for a safer workplace.

Learning resources for UNISON health and safety reps

Advice for UNISON health and safety reps

And UNISON activists and staff are sharing resources and experience all the time over at the Organising Space. You can log in with your My.UNISON account – this is an online account which also allows you to update your details. If you haven’t used My.UNISON before, you’ll need your membership number to register.

Visit the Organising Space

Back to top

Online learning for UNISON activists

Our e-learning site has a selection of quick online learning activities for UNISON activists. You can learn about dyslexia, the menopause, data protection, apprenticeships, and more.

Use your My.UNISON account to log in – this is an online account which also allows you to update your details. If you haven’t used My.UNISON before, you’ll need your membership number to register.

New rep? Here’s where to start

Visit UNISON’s e-learning site

The TUC also has a wide range of online learning available, from short ‘eNotes’ giving you the basics of workplaces issues, including as the menopause, equality at work, and tackling hate speech, in twenty minutes, to full-length introductory courses for workplace representatives, health and safety representatives, and union learning representatives. Whether you’re a newly appointed rep looking to get ahead on your induction training, an experienced activist wanting to brush up your knowledge, or just curious about what a particular role might entail, these courses are well worth investigating.

Visit the TUC Education site

Back to top

For Union Learning Reps

As well as all the other resources listed on this page, which you will be able to pass on to your members as appropriate, there are some which will be particularly useful to union learning reps.

Adapting learning activities for online use

Many people have naturally turned to learning as a way to fill the time and keep in touch with other people – ULRs can make the most of that.

Here’s our guide to adapting learning activities for use in a socially distanced world.

Delivering learning at a distance

And Unionlearn’s guide to supporting home learners has some really useful tips on how to stay in touch with your learners, give practical support, and support yourself.

Union learning reps: supporting home learners

Back to top


UNISON’s coronavirus advice hub