Supporting English, maths and IT learning


Reading Ahead stall at Suffolk Health

Many UNISON members would like to improve their skills and confidence in some area of English, maths, or IT. Learning reps are ideally placed to identify and address these needs.

Identifying interest and need

A workplace learning survey could help to identify English, maths and IT needs. Look at the Learning and Development tile on the Organising Space for template learning surveys.

You could also use unionlearn’s SkillCheck app for one-to-one skills assessments.

Informal learning sessions

You could use one or more of the activities in our Making Every Penny Count toolkit to run a ‘lunch and learn’ session. Topics include: understanding payslips; money quiz; payday loans and credit unions; debt and budgeting.

You could run the Reading Ahead challenge or set up a workplace book group to promote literacy. UNISON can help out, providing Quick Reads books and reading diaries. See our Read Anytime, Anywhere toolkit for more.

Learning and Organising Services has developed taster workshops exploring some basic literacy and numeracy concepts. These take about an hour to an hour and a half to run. Find them here.

And there are also plenty of maths and English activities in our Learning for Everyone informal learning toolkit. For copies of any of our learning toolkits, contact Learning and Organising Services.

Accredited learning

Remember, your employer has a responsibility to address the skills needs of employees. You may be able to work with them to make this happen.

UNISON has a national partnership with WEA and works with other providers to negotiate, set up, and support workplace learning – including English, maths, and IT (and English for Speakers of Other Languages). This is dependent on identification of funding and meeting minimum number requirements.

Talk to your regional education team about arranging formal learning in your branch.

UNISON can support the uptake of quality apprenticeships as a route for staff to access training, including English, maths and IT development.

Resources and useful links

Creative writing case studies

UNISON Learning and Organising Services can provide free books to branches who want to promote reading in the workplace. Download an order form.

UNISON’s guidance on supporting English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) learning in the workplace

National Numeracy (see especially the Family Maths toolkit)

SkillCheck app for maths and English initial assessments

unionlearn: English and maths learning resources and tools

TUC e-notes (see especially Language Support for Workers (ESOL) and Working with Figures)

Learning for Everyone toolkit and activities (download from the Organising Space or email quoting ACT 007)

Making Every Penny Count toolkit and activities (download from the Organising Space or email quoting ACT 249)

Read Anytime, Anywhere toolkit and activities (download from the Organising Space or email quoting ACT 248)

LAOS literacy and numeracy workshops

Reading Agency (see especially the Reading Ahead challenge)

English My Way resources for tutors supporting learners with no or low levels of English

Learn My Way has free courses on using a computer, browsing the web, sending an email and finding work online. UNISON has a learning centre number, 8000647: if you encourage learners to quote this when making an account, we can record learner data.