Development and learning for members

 Welcome to our learning page

Members training courses

“In October I went on the UNISON one-day Job Search Skills course in Birmingham. It included CV writing skills, and advice about job interview techniques. The tutor and the rest of the group were very friendly and supportive. All the information I needed was there, and there was support afterwards if you needed follow-up help and advice.” – a recent training course attendee.

You can find courses and sign up online at

Testimonial by Julie Alonzo, UNISON University of Birmingham branch member, on the Women’s Lives course: 

We have a wide range of courses from literacy and numeracy to computers to development workshops with the Open University. Some of the courses, such as IT training, are run in the evenings so that you can more easily fit them around your working pattern.

To go on a course just contact us. We can also advise on getting time off work if needed to attend the course. We can often get this as paid time off. Why not consider putting one down as a PDR or SDR learning objective?

There are many more learning opportunities available nationally – please visit the UNISON Learning and Organising Services web site at National Learning opportunities for more details.

How to apply

For most courses, you will need to complete an application form, which you will find included in the relevant regional or national education programme.

Your application will need to be signed by your branch education co-ordinator or branch secretary. They will then forward it on to the relevant education team.

If you are unsure who you need to contact, please get in touch with your regional education team.

Costs of training

UNISON pays for the activist training courses and materials for courses. Where there is a charge, it is to branches, not to you. Some member learning is also free to learners.


We will provide course materials in large print or Braille, or printed on coloured paper, and provide facilitation on UNISON courses, as long as your requirements are clear when you complete the course application form.

If you have childcare or other caring responsibilities and you are attending training away from home or when you would not normally be at work, UNISON or your branch will provide a crèche or cover the cost of care.

What to expect

UNISON courses are friendly and informal, and designed on the principle that everybody has equal rights to participate in, benefit from, and contribute to them. Participants will often work together in small groups. There are no tests or exams, and learners will not be lectured to or suddenly called on to give answers.

All courses abide by a standard set of guidelines, known as ‘Working Together’. These include guidance on the avoidance of language or behaviour that may cause offence or hurt to other participants, and are intended to ensure that everyone has a comfortable and enjoyable experience.