Support for learning

UNISON wants to help members realise their potential. Because we know how difficult it is to afford training and development at the moment, we offer financial support to members taking part in general non-vocational education, or in vocational education relevant to work in the public services, as well as learning discounts from a number of providers. We also offer grants to members studying on trade union and labour movement or women’s studies courses.

Union Learning Fund

UNISON has received support from the Union Learning Fund in England to embed learning in the workplace. Its targets are to recruit union learning reps (ULRs), encourage learning activities and to enable branches and employers to set up long term systems for supporting learning, including signing learning agreements. The priorities for 2017–18 are:

  1. Recruiting ULRs
  2. Apprenticeships – Supporting apprenticeships, young people and their progression
  3. Engaging learners – promoting ICT skills, maths and English workshops/ courses
  4. Developing skills for the workplace especially for those that have least access to training
  5. Tackling barriers to equality and diversity

To receive funding have a look at the guidance to apply for funding and complete the attached ‘Kickstart’ application form – you can download these from the Resources section at the end of this page.

To discuss ideas for Kickstart funding contact Learning & Organising Services on 0207 121 5116.

Learning grants

These grants of up to £100 are intended to help members studying up to and including at under-graduate level at their own expense on the following types of courses:

  1. Trade Union and Labour Studies where an applicant has not received a bursary
  2. Non-vocational education up to and including under-graduate level
  3. Vocational education relevant to public service work up to and including under-graduate level.

School Support Staff Grant

Our Schools Support Staff members make up an increasing proportion of our union’s membership.  To help you get on at work and develop your career, UNISON is offering Personal Learning Development Grants for Schools Support Staff.  A limited numberof awards of up to £300 each are being offered to help towards course fees.

Personal Care Assistants Grant

Members who provide personal care in private or charity-run/ voluntary aided homes or individual’s own homes make up an increasing proportion of UNISON’s membership.  To help you get on at work and develop your career, UNISON is offering Personal Learning Development Grants with this group of members.  A limited number of awards of up to £300 each are being offered to help towards course fees.

See application form for learning grants under “Resources” below.

Open University awards

Open University (OU) Awards are available to UNISON members undertaking 30 and 60 point OU courses up to and including under-graduate level at their own expense. No awards are available for Masters Degree study or above. Awards are made as follows:

  • 60 point courses £200
  • 30 point courses £100

See application form for Open University awards under “Resources” below.

Trade Union and Labour Movement or Women’s Studies Grants

Members studying these subjects can apply for the following:

  • Certificate or Diploma Grants of up to £300 towards fees for members on Trade Union and Labour Movement or Women’s Studies courses
  • Bachelor or Masters Degree study: Substantial grants for union reps studying Trade Union and Labour Movement or Women’s Studies degrees

See application form for TULS and Women’s Studies grants under “Resources” below.

Learning discounts for UNISON members

Members can get fee discounts for distance learning from:

  • CILEx Law School  – 5% discount on law courses (excluding legal practice course or postgraduate Diploma in Law).

The inclusive learning project

UNISON also supports learning through its inclusive learning project.

The Union Learning Fund supports union-led projects to transform the lives of their members through lifelong learning opportunities. UNISON has more than 21,000 members on learning programmes each year.

Resources