Financial support

Workshop participants group. © Jess Hurd/

UNISON wants to help members realise their potential. We offer financial support to members taking part in various educational and learning opportunities, as well as learning discounts from a number of providers. We also offer grants to members studying on trade union and labour movement or women’s studies courses.

The number of grants is limited and they are awarded on a first come, first served, basis. See the relevant application form for further details.

I have received my undergraduate degree. I scored a 2:1, meaning that I have wonderful opportunities for future full time employment; future self-employment, and future post graduate education.

I should like to convey my deep felt thanks to you all at UNISON for helping me financially with the Open University grants I received towards modules. I have always delighted in being an active member of UNISON, and will continue do so with enthusiasm.

– James, West Midlands

Being a UNISON member can also save you money on a range of educational opportunities, both online and offline.

Open University grants

Open University grants are available to UNISON members undertaking 30 and 60 point Open University courses up to and including undergraduate level at their own expense. Grants are made as follows:

  • 60 point courses: up to £500
  • 30 point courses: up to £250

Click here to download the application form for 2020

Trade Union and Labour Movement or Women’s Studies grants

Members studying these subjects can apply for the following:

  • Certificate or Diploma grants of up to £500 towards fees for members on Trade Union and Labour Movement or Women’s Studies courses
  • Bachelor or Masters Degree study: substantial grants for union reps studying Trade Union and Labour Movement or Women’s Studies degrees

Click here to download the application form for 2020

Learning grants

These grants of up to £300 are intended to help members studying at levels up to and including undergraduate at their own expense on the following types of courses:

  • Trade Union and Labour Studies (where an applicant has not received a bursary)
  • non-vocational education up to and including undergraduate level (e.g. GCSE maths or English)
  • vocational education relevant to public service work up to and including undergraduate level

Click here to download the application form for 2020


Learning discounts for UNISON members

Members can get fee discounts for distance learning from:

  • National Extension College – 10% discount on all NEC courses, including GCSEs, A-levels, and vocational courses; let them know you’re a union member when you enrol
  • CILEx Law School – 5% discount on law courses (excluding legal practice course or postgraduate Diploma in Law
  • The Open College of the Arts – £100 off OCA tutored arts and craft courses for UNISON members enrolling on their first course unit with the OCA
  • Birkbeck, University of London – 10% discount for union members
  • University of Wolverhampton – 10% discount on course fees for trade union members. For more information visit their website or contact
  • E-Careers – 10% discount for UNISON members on a range of professional skills development courses; quote ‘UNISON10’


Do you work in a school?

The Education Support Partnership, a charity for the education workshop, offers a Training and Development fund in partnership with the CSIS Charity Fund, specifically to assist:

Photograph © Jess Hurd/