Learning online

Using computers © Jess Hurd/reportdigital.co.uk

Providing learning opportunities for our members has always been an essential part of our role – so, while we have had to postpone all face to face training during this current crisis, we have massively ramped up our online learning provision. Here is a selection of online training provided by UNISON and our partners that you can access free of charge or at a discount.

UNISON’s learning site

Any UNISON member can use their My.UNISON account to log in to our online learning site and enrol themselves in online courses. We’ve recently added a digital version of our popular stressbusting Staying Strong workshop.

Visit the learning site

Skills Academy

We’re very pleased to be able to offer our members over 600 free online certified CPD courses through the Staff Skills Academy. These cover a wide range of topics, including:

  • Time Priority Management
  • How To Manage Virtual Teams
  • Remote Workers’ Security

If you’re interested, please visit this page to request an account.

View a full list of courses

Request an account

Skills Builder

A new tool designed to help members build confidence in English and maths. Using practical, everyday examples such as writing a message, baking a cake, or administering medication, this web app is easy and free to use.

Skills Builder

The Organising Space

The Organising Space provides a safe space for UNISON activists in all sorts of different roles to connect with each other and share their experiences. There’s a dedicated chat in which you can discuss learning and a library of resources that you can download and use to organise and promote learning activity in your branch. UNISON activists can log in to the Space using their my.UNISON account (you can set this up here if you haven’t done so already).

Visit the Organising Space

Open University


OpenLearn is the Open University’s web access point for its open and free online resources. You will find around 11,000 hours of learning materials, including 8,000 hours taken from OU undergraduate and postgraduate courses. You can improve your study and employability skills in a range of subjects including health, social care, early years, money and finance, project planning, digital skills, communication skills, and leadership and management.


Online badged courses

UNISON and other partners have helped the Open University develop a suite of six free online badged courses. These are aimed at people who wish to improve their skills, knowledge and career prospects in a number of specific areas. Topics include:

  • Introducing Practical Healthcare – introductory course for healthcare support staff who might be looking to enhance their knowledge and skills in order to improve their career progression within the health sector
  • Supporting Children’s Development – of particular interest to teaching assistants and other school staff
  • Caring for Adults – introductory course for carers or those considering a care role
  • Planning a Better Future – introductory course for anyone considering changing jobs, or wondering how to move up the ladder or return to work after a break
  • Taking Part in the Voluntary Sector – introductory course for people considering volunteering or aiming to progress within the voluntary sector
  • Starting Your Small Business – introductory course for anyone thinking of setting up a small business or becoming self-employed. Covers structures, customers, and responsibilities, and looks at the common features shared by successful small businesses, as well as the common pitfalls to avoid.

OU badged courses

Discounted distance learning


e-Careers offers a wide range of continuing professional development courses designed to help you advance in your career or to take up a new one. With subjects ranging from bookkeeping to wedding planning, there’s something for everyone.

Find out more and request your discount code

National Extension College

For those who are looking to study for GCSEs and A-levels, the National Extension College is an alternative option to colleges or private tutors. They also offer qualifications in Childcare & Early Years, Counselling, and more.

Union members can get a 10% discount on NEC courses – you just need to let them know when you enrol.

Visit the NEC site

And remember, if you’re studying at your own expense, you may be eligible for financial support under UNISON’s bursary scheme.

Learn My Way

Free courses on using a computer, browsing the web, sending an email and finding work online.

Learn My Way

TUC/Unionlearn resources

TUC Education

The TUC education site offers a range of online learning opportunities, including: a wide selection of e-notes, a directory of courses, and training for union reps, health and safety and learning reps.

TUC Education


Unionlearn is the learning and skills organisation of the TUC. Its website contains all sorts of resources, including case studies and negotiating guides.


Other resources for UNISON reps


ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) has a wide selection of e-learning modules covering many employment issues. Topics include: mental health; redundancy; equality, diversity and inclusion; and more.

The registration process is straightforward and many of the modules will be of interest to UNISON reps.

ACAS online training

Photograph © Jess Hurd/reportdigital.co.uk