The Open University

Dementia awareness workshop

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CPD workshops with the Open University

With the Open University, we offer a range of shorter workshops, which can be opened up to both members and non-members.

Want to find out whether any of these workshops is running near you? Or are you a learning rep who wants to run one of them in your workplace? Contact your regional education team.

Expert Open University academics have developed these workshop materials covering a range of topics relevant to employees at all levels working in the education or health and social care sector. For face to face delivery, an expert Open University (OU) tutor will visit the workplace, local UNISON branch, or OU office, to deliver a continuing professional development (CPD) session. This is a full day’s taught session which takes participants through a variety of materials, activities and discussions in order to improve knowledge and understanding around a specific topic.

Alternatively, these workshops can be delivered online over the course of half a day, supported by two tutors with subject matter expertise.

Attachment in the early years

This workshop is aimed at support staff working in early years settings. The workshop will:

  • examine different attachment classifications and how these are assessed.
  • look at some of the features of caregiving at home and within an early years’ setting that can influence attachment.
  • reflect on the significance of attachment across the life span.
  • discuss the adaptive nature of the attachment system across different transitions in a child’s life.

Autism awareness

This course is aimed at school support staff. The day covers:

  • what autism is
  • symptoms of autism
  • areas of difficulty
  • supporting children with autism

Behaviour management

The workshop is aimed at school support staff. The day covers:

  • understanding behaviour cycles
  • methods of recording behaviour
  • reflecting on what happens in a crisis
  • strategies, tips and techniques for dealing with challenging behaviour

Caring for adults

This workshop is an introductory level course aimed at those in or considering a care role in a variety of settings. The workshop will cover:

  • good communication in care
  • palliative and end-of-life care
  • positive risk taking

Dementia awareness

This workshop is aimed at people working in care or other settings where they might encounter individuals who have dementia. The workshop aims to help you understand:

  • what is meant by the term ‘dementia’
  • causes and types of dementia
  • how having dementia affects the way a person behaves and functions
  • that there is more to a person than the dementia
  • that it is possible to live well with dementia

Mental health awareness

This workshop is aimed at delegates working in a variety of different settings, including variations of the workshop to raise mental health awareness for those working with adults, young people or children. This workshop aims to help you:

  • develop a greater awareness of mental health
  • understand the main mental health problems that people face
  • gain an insight into the experience of having mental distress
  • explore some strategies for promoting good mental health
  • take a revised awareness to the workplace

Regional education teams

National UNISON learning events

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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.


These include six badged courses developed with the Social Partnerships Network especially with UNISON members in mind:

  • 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.

Social Partnerships Network badged courses

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Formal study with the Open University

The Open University was established with the aim of opening up higher education to people for whom the traditional approach didn’t work. Many UNISON members study part time alongside their day job. That might be to enhance their career prospects, to change their career completely, or simply for their own personal fulfilment. If you’re interested, take a look at the Open University’s website for more information.

You may be able to claim a UNISON learning grant to support your studies.

The Open University: distance learning

The Open University: learning to get on in your career

Study skills

Financial support

The Open University

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