Learning Reps at work – examples of what can be done

Below are just some of the examples from across the East Midlands of what ULRs have been doing in their workplaces.


Schools and Energy ULRs – Working Together for members in Nottinghamshire


Two ULRs from different Nottinghamshire Branches (one in a school, the other from an energy company) have worked together to run a Free Chair Yoga course for members in the County.

Manzar and James both attend the UNISON Notts Learning Forum where ULRs from all branches in the county meet up, support one another and organise courses.  As new ULRs this was the first course they’d organised and decided to do it together.  The result was fantastic with over 30 members applying.

They are now planning to run Job Search skills courses for Notts members.

brilliant thank you, nice that it was run by an expert

I really enjoyed the chair yoga, I do not have the courage to attend an in person class but would potentially do this on line

Very useful to improve my movement and arthritis. The Teacher was easy to follow and when I began the course I was very stressed but the exercises and deep breathing helped enormously

Brilliant! I’m having shoulder problems because of poor posture so was just what I needed

Click here to see some of the courses organised by UNISON Notts Learning


Lincs Police – Reading Challenge

As part of World Book Night 2021 ULR and Lincolnshire Police PCSO Nigel Wass handed out dozens of books right across the Force to encourage staff to read more.  Because of Covid he wasn’t able to visit stations so posted his copies of ‘Stories To Make Your Smile’ out to members.

Hannah Baker, a PCSO in Boston wrote to say how much the book meant to her,

This is me in the camper van on a bank holiday morning reading some amazing short stories. I’m not a reader at all but I’m actually enjoying them. I recently found out that I have a mild form of dyslexia and reading has always been difficult but these short stories are perfect. I can just about get through them without struggling and losing the words of the pages. Thank you for sending this to me.  I do recommend this to anyone and will be happy to pass on once I’ve gotten through it!

ULR Nigel Wass (Right) presenting the Chief with his copy

ULR Nigel Wass (Right) presenting the Chief with his copy

To find out about World Book Night visit:

World Book Night


Loughborough Uni Branch – Equality and Learning

The brilliant Union Learning Reps at Loughborough University have been busy during Lockdown creating webinars which link Equality and Learning and have attracted hundreds of people.  They are then kept on the branch website as a resource.

Webinars include, ‘The Love That Dare Not Speak It’s Name’ for LGBT+ History month, ‘Black History is My History is Your History’ for Black History Month, and ‘Getting from Meh to Yeah’ for International Women’s Day

LGBT+ History Month. Dr Sarah Parker’s talk on LGBT Love poems through the ages

Click here to see the branch’s resource


Christmas Wreath Making – 300 applicants across Derbyshire

As part of the Derbyshire ULR forum’s work (click here for details) Jayne Barry, ULR at Derbyshire County Council, organised a ‘Lockdown’ Christmas Wreath Making session for members that was so popular over 300 applied and had to be run 6 times just to support 100 members across the county.

Flowers were delivered to the learners and a local florist carried out the sessions via Zoom.  Feedback was brilliant and testament to the idea of learning supporting mental health.

“I really enjoyed it. For someone that hasn’t had much ‘me’ time for quite a while it gave me something to look forward to. It was fun, sparked my creative juices and was such a boost to my mental well being. I’m really glad you organised the session. It was lovely to see what everyone else made too and the instructor Sam and Jayne were lovely”

“It was my first time at anything of this kind and I will definitely be taking part of more of these. Fantastic for Unison to hold such events and thank you to Sam, you were brilliant.”


300 East Midlands members take the Skills Challenge

Teresa Tennant – completing her Functional Skills Maths and English

The region is celebrating helping 300 members take the skills challenge to test their Maths and English skills with 150 signing up for online Functional Skills courses.

With Lockdown, our ‘Get On At Work’ project to go into workplaces and offer skills checks had to stop.  The trial of offering these online, one county at a time, has had sensational results.  All members in a county were invited to take the test over a two-day period.  Then, with the support of UNISON project lead, Chris Donkin, were given their results and confidential advice about next steps.  If requested they were enrolled on an online maths or English course with either Nottingham College or the University of Lincoln.

Many just wanted to challenge themselves and check their level. 150 however have now begun their training in Maths or English (many will be doing both).

Functional Skills (Maths and English) are the ‘essential skills’ we all need to progress.  Many jobs require them and without the qualification it is difficult to find new work or get promoted.  As a union we recognise how essential Maths and English is to our members and are delighted by the response.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and the UNISON team in availing this online project to me. This has been one of the best things done by UNISON to its members in empowering us with educational opportunities during the very difficult Covid -19 pandemic.” Hilary  

“It is brilliant.  UNISON are to be highly commended for the support provided for people to further progress career direction.  Thank you.” Valerie

“I think UNISON providing this course is marvellous.” Shakila
“It’s great that UNISON has given me the opportunity to do my English and maths. Everyone’s circumstances are different and not everyone (including myself) had the chance to do them in school years.” Cassie