UNISON is able to offer bursaries for union activists studying trade union and labour studies or women’s studies at certificate, diploma or degree level.
The size of the bursary or grant depends on the level of the qualification.
- Certificate or diploma courses: grants of up to £300 for members on trade union and labour movement or women’s studies courses.
- BA degrees: grants of up to £500 for members on trade union and labour movement or women’s studies courses.
- Masters degrees: grants of up to one-third of fees for a union representative studying trade union and labour studies or women’s studies.
Details and application forms can be downloaded from the get-involved/ learning-development/financial-support web page.
A particular favourite with many UNISON activists is Ruskin College, Oxford, which offers courses in international labour and trade union studies.
Growing numbers of our activists who have developed their trade union expertise with the help of UNISON support toward costs and fees on these courses.
Kath Holder, a UNSION steward from MIddlesex, started an MA at Ruskin in 2015
“I am a UNISON steward in a school and I came to Ruskin via the TUC diploma in employment law,” she says.
“Before this, I would not have though myself capable of studying to this level as I don’t possess a first degree.
“However, the tutors on the MA international labour and trade union studies course at Ruskin College are always immensely supportive and encouraging.
“The workshop weekends are brilliant: always with a high calibre of guest lecturers.
“There is a tremendous team spirit within the entire cohort. It’s superb to be studying with like-minded students.
“This course is truly unique and if you are looking to develop your trade union studies further, I could not recommend this course enough.
“The MA can be hard work, but the sense of achievement makes every minute of it worthwhile.”
Liz Cameron is studying part-time for a BA in international labour and trade union studies.
“As a UNISON activist of 15 years, I’ve represented members in the workplace and negotiated with the employers and benefitted from all the usual training for stewards and activists,” she says.
“However, like many other women who have had children early I’d not had the opportunity to study for a formal qualification.
“While it is hard work, the way the course is designed makes it manageable and achievable, even for an old returner like me!
“Balancing work and family commitments with study and travelling to Oxford has its challenges but it has been worth it.”