Learning for your job

Woman looking at maths exercise on computer screen

Your employer should always provide you with the appropriate training to enable you to carry out your job safely, competently and confidently.

But if you want to take it further, being a UNISON member gets you access to a huge range of learning opportunities to help you deepen your understanding of the issues you encounter in your working life.

No matter where you work, you can find an online course to help you hone some part of your practice with our partnership with the Skills Academy. With over 600 courses free to UNISON members, Skills Academy offers a great opportunity to learn what you like, at your own pace.

Skills Academy

We work with the Open University to offer workshops for members working in social care, with children, and others who have an interest in the following areas:

  • Attachment in the Early Years
  • Autism Awareness
  • Caring For Adults
  • Dementia Awareness
  • Mental Health Awareness
  • Managing Challenging Behaviour

Open University workshops

If you’re studying at your own expense, UNISON may be able to help with some of the costs associated with that. It might be worth asking your employer for help, too: if this is something that’s going to improve your work performance, they have an interest in making it happen.

Financial support

If you’re interested in improving more general job skills, such as communication and team working, take a look at our advice pages below. These link to free online courses from OpenLearn and some other helpful sites.

Communication skills

Team working

As the use of technology in the workplace has become more widespread, we have worked with inclusion charity Diversity’N’Ability to compile a guide to some of the tips, tricks and apps that can make workplace life easier. From spellcheckers to mind mapping software, you’ll find it here.

Inclusive Technology Guide

As you see, there’s a whole load on offer. To make things easier, we have compiled directories of UNISON learning suitable for members in various different jobs. We add to this collection regularly, so if you don’t find your profession here keep checking back.

Courses for schools workers: TAs and student support

Courses for early years and under 5s workers

Courses for catering staff in schools

Courses for cleaning staff in schools

Courses for schools workers: bursars and finance managers

Courses for schools workers: admin, secretarial, and PAs

Courses for schools workers: caretakers, site managers and janitors

Courses for social care staff

Courses for social workers

Courses for local government workers: bursars and finance managers

Courses for local government workers: caretakers, site managers and janitors

Courses for local government workers: catering staff

Courses for local government workers: cleaning staff

Helping your colleagues learn for their careers 

You probably aren’t the only person in your workplace who’s keen to learn and improve your practice and your prospects. If you’ve noticed a more widespread appetite for learning and you want to do something to help address that, why not consider becoming a union learning rep? This is a really rewarding role that lets you share the benefits of learning with your colleagues and develops your own skills and confidence as you do it.

Becoming a union learning rep

A learning rep is uniquely well placed to support colleagues learn the knowledge and skills they need. You have an insight into the particular training needs of the staff you work alongside. And those needs will determine how you decide to help. 

You can use the directories above to signpost people to courses that might help them progress in their careers. 

You can work with your employer to ensure that appropriate training is provided so that people can do their jobs safely and confidently. 

You might even organise a learning event yourself!