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 during these unprecedented times. 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.
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.
- Getting to grips with the technology
- Online learning for UNISON members
- Mental health and wellbeing
- Support and advice for you at work
- Face-to-face training
- New Stewards: online course
- Coronavirus: training for UNISON activists
- Online learning for UNISON activists
- Resources for UNISON learning reps
Getting to grips with the technology
For many people, measures to deal with the coronavirus outbreak have 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.
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.
And Digital Unite’s technology guides are also really helpful.
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.
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.
We have picked out some free online courses which may be of particular interest to schools workers. We’ll be adding lists for other groups of workers soon – watch this space!
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.
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.
If you only have a limited amount of time each day, you might find the Wranx app helpful. It uses a quick and simple set of questions to test your knowledge on subjects including maths, English, the menopause, mental health awareness, and your rights at work.
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.
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.
And our arrangements with other distance learning providers such as eCareers and the National Extension College remain in place too.
Mental health and wellbeing
During these unprecedented 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.
We have commissioned a series of webinars from the bereavement charity Cruse. These are aimed primarily at care home staff, but UNISON members who work in other sectors have also found them useful in understanding grief, bereavement and loss.
Support and advice for you at work
There is advice and guidance for UNISON members on all aspects of dealing with the coronavirus on the main website.
Training for our activists
All activists’ face-to-face training has been postponed and will be rearranged later in the year. If you were booked on a face-to-face course, the regional administrator will be in touch with you.
New Stewards: online course
We have quadrupled the number of spaces available on our online New Stewards course. If you were booked on a face-to-face New Stewards course that has been cancelled, we will be in touch to invite you to join the online version. 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.
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.
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.
The TUC has an extremely detailed briefing for union 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.
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.
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.
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.
We already have some UNISON digital champions. Digital Unite, who run the scheme, are offering free access to digital champions’ training for volunteers in the community or frontline staff in small charities.
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.
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.