Activist training

Courses in this section are aimed at members who have recently become active in the union and who are looking to take up or develop their role as a steward or Branch official. These courses make up the first stage in activist training.

You can find when these courses are running by downloading the printable calendar  or check out all upcoming courses.

The Organising Steward

If you are a new steward then this is an essential course for you. This course looks at what the roles of the steward are and gives you the skills, knowledge and understanding to carry out these roles, for example recruiting members and involving them in the union and how to work with members to tackle problems at work.

  • Recruiting members
  • Keeping members informed
  • How to raise issues in UNISON
  • Proportionality and fair representation
  • Interviewing members
  • Understanding your grievance and disciplinary procedures.

Please note that there is an online version of this course too.

Health and Safety Representatives

This course is essential for new Health and Safety Representatives, or for those Health and Safety Representatives who have more experience but who haven’t yet had the chance to go on this course.

  • What is the job and rights of a Health and Safety Representative?
  • How do you interview a member? How do you start to prepare a case?
  • How do you carry out a Health and Safety inspection?

Union Learning Representatives (ULR)

This course is intended to provide training in the role of Union Learning Rep. Are you interested in encouraging learning in your workplace? If yes, you could be a Union Learning Rep and help to change people’s lives. Once you have been nominated as
a Learning Rep by your Branch, the next step is to attend this course.

The role of the Learning Rep is to promote UNISON’s Lifelong Learning Agenda and to encourage non-traditional learners to enter into learning opportunities both in the workplace and the wider community. The Employment Act 2002 gave Union Learning Reps paid release to train and carry out duties in the same way as
Stewards and Health & Safety Representatives. If you would like to find out more, talk to your Branch Education Co-ordinator or Regional Learning and Development Officer.

Negotiating Skills for Activists

This course is aimed at all activists and will equip you for negotiating with managers at a local level. The course looks at:

  • Understanding the process of negotiating
  • Becoming familiar with different styles of negotiating
  • Working effectively as part of a negotiating team
  • Understanding how to prepare, present and negotiate on an issue
  • Developing and practising negotiating skills.

Further Representation Skills

This  course is designed to follow on from the 5 day Organising Stewards course or equivalent and is aimed at existing UNISON stewards. The course reinforces some approaches and procedures introduced in the 5 day course and explores in more detail:

  • Process for identifying needs and exploring what is and isn’t a case
  • Recap on sources of information especially the ACAS code
  • Preparing for a grievance and a capability case
  • Planning and building a case including interviewing witnesses
  • Possible outcomes from cases.

Confidence Skills for Activists

This course is aimed at Stewards, Union Learning Reps and Health & Safety Reps. It will help you develop the communication skills you need to do your job as an activist.

  • Do you worry about speaking to managers?
  • Are you sometimes lost for words at a meeting?
  • Don’t know how to face an angry member or manager?
  • Don’t know the most effective way to put your thoughts into words?

This course is aimed to reverse this situation and you will leave with the skills you need to become a more confident person and activist. You should be able to represent yourself and members more effectively.

UNISON Workplace Reps Refresher Course

This two-day course is aimed at UNISON Workplace Representatives and Branch Officers who have completed their first stage course (The Organising Steward’s Course) or the TUC 10 day course, some time in the past. It is designed to meet the requirements of the Employment Rights Act (ERA) re-accreditation.

The purpose of the course is to update representatives on new developments both in UNISON and in the law.