UNISON provides Education Services for Members and Activists that includes Stewards, Health & Safety Reps and Lifelong Learning Reps.
If you are an Activist (Steward or Health & Safety Rep) and looking for a Union course then please click here to fill out an online application form. If you wish to find out more about what UNISON Education services can offer you as a member then please visit the Education pages on the UNISON website or contact the Branch Education Officer.
The latest course dates for Stewards and Health & safety Reps is available to download here
If you want to attend one of these courses then please get in touch with me.
I have campaigned for several years about ‘Equality of Opportunity’ for our staff to progress to HCPC Paramedic status.
To be a HCPC Paramedic today you are expected to be of degree calibre, which is great and one of the best degrees to take as it offers real job opportunities at the end of it. All a far cry from when I (and some of my colleagues) joined.
The equality of opportunity that myself and LAS UNISON have fought for, is for there to be a degree pathway for all LAS staff. This was primarily focused NETS, Techs/EMTS and AAP’s.
The Service, in negotiations with unions have set up the Paramedic Apprentice which leads to a degree at Cumbria University along with a bridging course, if required. The issue was that staff needed English and Maths at GCSE or equivalent to enter either programme.
The service stated at the time that they could not and would not provide this level of education to its staff.
As the elected LAS UNISON Branch Education officer, I knew how to draw down funding from the government for Maths and English. In conjunction with a college, I have contacts with, I put on a Functional Skills Level Two course (GCSE equivalent) in English and Maths.
The course was one day a week for twenty-six weeks, designed specifically LAS UNISON members. The course was oversubscribed and had learners that came from a diverse range of departments and backgrounds within the LAS
To my surprise it won a “Business Initiative Award” from Westminster College of Further Education.
Due to its success of pass rate and by popular demand I have now run another two courses since then. I have shortened it to eighteen weeks and had to change the format to ‘Blended Learning’ part classroom and part distance learning.so as it could continue through lockdown. The Course is now back in full classroom format and learners have just taken their English Exam
This now gives a small but important group of staff the same ‘Equality of Opportunity’ as the rest of the LAS staff.
I am proud to have achieved this and I also thank the LAS UNISON Branch who has helped me achieve this.
My role as Branch Education Officer is to co-ordinate the training for all LAS UNISON reps, including new stewards, Health and Safety reps and Branch Officers. I have been able to ensure that courses are relevant and focus on a LAS perspective.
I have been able to arrange and support your UNISON representatives across all LAS stations to undertake and complete UNISON/TUC courses in the following (which also include other union related courses):
- Introductory Organising Stewards
- Handling Grievances & Disciplinaries
- Health & Safety
- Sickness Absence
These courses have helped and continue to help your representatives develop the skills, tools and knowledge they need to give you the best possible advice and representation as and when you need it.
I have a database to record all training undertaken by each Branch Officer and Rep as well as new Reps in order that they can be fully accredited and are able to undertake appropriate and relevant refresher courses.
Over the last five years I have developed UNISON Stewards training, by running several in-house LAS UNISON ‘Introductory Stewards’ ‘Grievances, Disciplinary and Health and Safety courses. By running the courses in-house we can focus entirely on LAS procedures and policy’s and stewards from different stations and sectors have a chance to share information and best practice.
I have arranged a five-day in-house ‘Organising Stewards’ course for all the new LAS UNISON station stewards, starting on 28th April 2016. The course covers the many roles a rep has to play in the workplace, equality and organising issues, the branch structure and disciplinary and grievance procedures.
On completing the course all new stewards become officially accredited. The London Ambulance service UNISON branch has pioneered new ways of organising in- house courses for their reps and recognises the quicker we get our new reps properly trained and accredited then the sooner they can give the best representation and advice to their members.
The Branch has set up a book/apps grant scheme for LAS UNISON Members, which I facilitate This is a branch run scheme where we can assist all members, new and long serving, with their educational needs by reimbursing them up to £100 pounds for the cost of books/apps. The scheme is going from strength to strength with not only new trainee paramedics using it but long serving members returning to education, taking advantage of the book grant scheme.
How UNISON courses work
To apply for a course contact your branch education co-ordinator or branch secretary in the first instance.
For most courses, you will need to complete an application form included in the relevant regional or national education programme.
Accessible to all
We will provide course materials in large print or braille 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 will provide a creche or cover the cost of care.
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 education is also free to learners, and in other cases you can apply for a bursary or book grant to help with costs.
If you are interested in finding out more, talk to your branch education co-ordinator or branch secretary.
Time off for training
Stewards, health and safety reps and union learning reps have the right to paid time off for training in their union duties in workplaces where UNISON is recognised for collective bargaining by the employer. This also applies to part-time activists and those who take part in online courses.
UNISON advises activists to give several weeks notice to employers and to provide managers with information about the course as required.
If you or your branch are experiencing difficulties in obtaining time off for trade union training contact your regional organiser or regional education officer.
Learning for you
Learning through UNISON can help you develop your confidence, skills and knowledge.
Our courses can help you
- 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.
Our learning opportunities include the award-winning Return to Learn programme, provided by the union, which is aimed at members who want to get back into learning. No previous qualifications are needed for any courses, and there are no costs to individual members.
UNISON branches and regions can also provide information and support on IT, reading and maths courses . These courses are sometimes offered in your workplace or you can ask for advice from your branch education officer, lifelong learning co-ordinator or union learning representative.