Member learning

member learning tree logo

UNISON provides a wide range of learning opportunities for our members. Our courses can help you:

  • develop self-confidence
  • teach you about yourself
  • become more active and involved around issues that concern you
  • tackle change and uncertainty at work
  • progress your career
  • learn for fun and personal development

Many courses are free and you may be entitled to time off work to attend them. They are designed to be friendly and informal, with practical exercises and no long lectures or exams.

UNISON has a network of learning representatives who can offer guidance and signpost you to local courses.

If you are a learning representative or lifelong learning co-ordinator who would like to organise one of these courses in your branch, please contact your regional education team for assistance.

Finding your way back into learning

Our 10-week Return to Learn and Women’s Lives courses are designed for members who may have been away from learning for some time. Run for us by the WEA, these courses offer a welcoming and supportive route back into education.

Find out more

Weekend workshops

Our weekend workshops, Coping with Change and Making a Difference, are delivered by the WEA. They are open to UNISON members only and focus on personal growth and dealing with change.

Find out more

One-day workshops

We offer a range of shorter workshops, which can be opened up to both members and non-members. These include continuing professional development (CPD) courses delivered by the Open University, and workshops run by the WEA which are intended to build participants’ confidence and explore their skills.

Open University one-day workshops

  • Autism awareness
  • Behaviour management
  • Dementia awareness
  • Mental health awareness

Find out more about Open University one-day workshops

WEA one-day workshops

  • Facing change together
  • Get that job
  • Power to be you
  • Your skills, your future

Find out more about WEA one-day workshops

English, maths and IT

UNISON can offer advice and support on other training and development opportunities available for members.

Find out more

Online learning

There are a range of learning opportunities available online. This can offer a flexible and convenient way to study.

Find out more

Our partnerships

UNISON works in partnership with a number of well-known organisations, networks and programmes, including the Open University, the Social Partnerships Network, the WEA, the National Extension College, Unionlearn, and the NHS Social Partnership Forum (England).

Find out more

Contracts, Redundancy and TUPE

20 – 22 November 2018

UNISON Centre, 130 Euston Road, London, NW1 2AY

This course will help activists develop their understanding of contracts of employment and members’ potential rights on redundancy. It will enable them to recognise relevant legal issues when dealing with casework, campaigning and negotiating.

Disability discrimination law

13 – 14 November 2018

UNISON Centre, 130 Euston Road, London, NW1 2AY

This course will help activists when representing members and negotiating with employers around disability issues by increasing their understanding of how often disability discrimination law applies and how it can be used to put pressure on employers to take positive steps.

Maternity and Parental Rights

19 October 2018 11:00am–4:30pm

UNISON Centre, 130 Euston Road, London, NW1 2AY

This course is for UNISON activists who need to advise members on maternity and parental rights or who are looking to improve on statutory rights through negotiation. It will help you understand the complex law relating to these rights, including the recently introduced Shared Parental Leave rights. It will also give you an opportunity to compare negotiated contractual agreements with statutory rights to identify opportunities for seeking improvements.

Stepping Up Another Level

3 – 4 October 2018

UNISON Centre, 130 Euston Road, London, NW1 2AY

Last year’s Stepping Up workshop invited ULRs to take English and maths learning in their workplace to the next level. Now we’re stepping up again! This workshop will boost your confidence to lead English and maths workshops, and will explore some creative takes on functional skills.

Unfair dismissals and employment tribunals

25 – 27 September 2018

UNISON Centre, 130 Euston Road, London, NW1 2AY

This course will help reps to use the law to underpin negotiations with employers on dismissal issues in internal disciplinary hearings, and to develop analytical skills useful in all areas of their work. While activists are not expected to represent at tribunal cases, understanding the importance of time limits and evidence gathering at an early stage will ensure sound groundwork should a case eventually go to tribunal.

Reading Ahead 2018-19 launch

13 September 2018 12:30pm–2:00pm

UNISON Centre, 130 Euston Road, London, NW1 2AY

The Reading Agency and UNISON are pleased to invite you to celebrate the launch of Reading Ahead 2018-19 with bestselling author Ann Cleeves talking about her eighth and final book in the acclaimed Shetland series.

Branch Education Co-Ordinators’ Seminar

11 September 2018 10:00am–4:00pm

UNISON Centre, 130 Euston Road, London, NW1 2AY

Branch education co-ordinators (BECs) play a crucial role in ensuring that activists are trained and confident to respond to current challenges. This seminar brings BECs together to share experience and update them on UNISON training.

Dyslexia Awareness for ULRs

25 – 26 July 2018

UNISON Centre, 130 Euston Road, London, NW1 2AY

This course will give UNISON learning reps a basic overview of dyslexia and how it affects people in the workplace, and explore ways in which they can support their colleagues.

Branch Welfare Officer training (Bristol)

11 – 12 July 2018


Nationally organised training for branch welfare officers from South West, Cymru/Wales and West Midlands regions.

The training helps branch welfare officers to understand: their role and the confidentiality it involves; the ‘There for You’ UNISON welfare charity structure and staff responsibilities; and the application process and areas where welfare can assist members.

Race and Sex Discrimination Law

10 – 12 July 2018

UNISON Centre, 130 Euston Road, London, NW1 2AY

This course will help activists to recognise direct and indirect race and sex discrimination when dealing with casework in the branch. It will help them understand the questions to ask when interviewing members with potential cases.