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Course Outlines

Stewards Introduction

A three day foundation course for all new stewards. It is also suitable for active stewards who would benefit from some refresher training. This course covers –

  • The role of the workplace representative;
  • Essential communication and representation skills;
  • Problem solving;
  • Organising and recruitment.

Completion of this course is an essential element of becoming an effective steward and is necessary for ERA Accreditation of Stewards.

The following courses are planned – full details in the Calendar

28-30 April, Edinburgh, 12-14 May Aberdeen, 29-31 May Edinburgh, 9-11 June Glasgow, 18-20 August Dundee, 22 -24 September Inverness, 2-4 October Glasgow, 13-15 October Edinburgh, 10-12 November Aberdeen, 1-3 December Glasgow, and for 2010 19 -21 January Edinburgh, 29 31 January Edinburgh, 16 -18 February Aberdeen, 9-11 March Glasgow, and 19 -21 March Glasgow.

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Grievance and Disciplinary (1)

A two day course recommended as follow on from Stewards Introduction. This will identify skills required in handling grievance and disciplinary cases. Course includes procedures, types of problems, sources of information, interviewing members, case preparation and case presentation. An essential course for every workplace representative who wants to build their skills and knowledge in order to represent members.

The following courses are planned – full details in the Calendar

7-8 April, Edinburgh, 15-17 May Glasgow, 9-10 June Aberdeen, 4-5 August Edinburgh, 4-6 September Dundee, 8-9 September Glasgow, 27-28 October Dundee, 3-4 November Edinburgh, 27-29 November Edinburgh, and for 2010 22-24 January Glasgow, 26-27 January Glasgow, 23-24 February Aberdeen, 5-7 March Edinburgh, 30-31 March Orkney.

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Grievance and Disciplinary (2)

An advanced course, which requires previous completion of Stage I. This is a video based training course, designed to develop representation skills. The course is structured around one extended case-study and looks at three different ways in which the member could defend her case at disciplinary.

The following courses are planned – full details in the Calendar

2-4 June Edinburgh, 25 -26 August Glasgow, 8-9 December Aberdeen and for 2010 26-28 February Edinburg

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Health and Safety (1)

A 3 day course for UNISON H&S Reps. The course will cover the role of the Safety Rep; H&S legislation, dealing with members' problems. This is an essential starting point for new Safety Reps. On completion all participants will receive the UNISON Health & Safety pack.

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Health & safety (2)

The Stage 2 course is designed for experienced stewards who have previously completed the 3-day Health & Safety course and will build on their skills to enable the organisation of Health & Safety within a branch.

The following courses are planned – full details in the Calendar

6-8 October Glasgow and for 2010 26-28 March Edinburgh

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Introduction to Equalities

A new one day course giving a general overview of the various strands covered by the public sector equality duties

The following courses are planned – full details in the Calendar

7 May Glasgow, and 17 November Edinburgh

Assertiveness for Women

A three day course for women aimed at activists who wish to gain skills in assertiveness techniques and build confidence to use in all areas of their lives.

The following course is planned

28 – 30 August – venue to be confirmed

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Black members Training

The Black Members Training weekend is formulated and delivered by members of the Scottish Black Members Committee. For further information, please call 0141 342 2833 and ask for a member of the Learning & Organising Unit.. It is to be held on 25-27 September in Edinburgh

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Branch Education Coordinators' Forum

This Forum will bring together activists on a quarterly basis to share information on Learning and Organising. It will include Lay Tutors, Learning & Organising Committee members, ULRs as well as Branch Education Coordinators. The Forum will facilitate the full participation of activists in prioritising and developing learning opportunities.

The meetings are planned to begin at 4pm to maximise attendance and the dates set are 10 June Glasgow, 16 September Edinburgh and 9 December Glasgow

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Branch Officer Training

  • Publicity
  • Secretary
  • Treasurers
  • Service Conditions Officers
  • Chair
  • Equality
  • Education
  • Health & Safety

These weekend courses offer new and inexperienced officers the opportunity to look at roles, responsibilities and best organisational practice for their appropriate post. It also gives experienced officers updated training and an opportunity for them to share their experiences. They are held over 2 weekends to meet demand. One will be on 24- 26 April and the second 8 – 10 May with venues to be confirmed

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Bullying and Harassment

A three day course will help participants define and recognise bullying, identify what may contribute to workplace bullying, make employers aware of what they can do to recognise and eliminate workplace bullying and developing workplace strategies and policies.

The following courses are planned – full details in the Calendar

5-7 June Aberdeen, 19 -21 November Glasgow and for 2010 5-7 February Edinburgh

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Employment Law Courses

These courses were new to the programme for 2008 and proved very popular. They cover the areas of employment law most likely to affect our members and organisation. The courses will be tutored by Thompson’s solicitors and will provide an overview of the law, and a general introduction of how the law works in each area.

The courses on offer are as follows:

Employment Law

This is a three-day course and will cover elements of the one day courses. It will look at the process of cases, dismissals, contracts, wages, redundancy, discrimination and general employment rights. It will also update participants on the changes in the Disputes Regulations

11-13 August Glasgow

Employment Law – Unfair Dismissal

This one-day introductory course will give an overall guide to unfair dismissal, conduct, misconduct and consistency in dismissals, capability and incapability/incompetence dismissals. It will also cover time limits and remedies.

20 October Edinburgh

Employment Law – Disability Discrimination Act

This one-day introductory course will cover an overview and definition of disability, who is disabled under the Act, the duty of reasonable adjustment, Employment Tribunal time limits.

24 November Glasgow

Employment Law – Introduction to Contracts of Employment

This one-day introductory course covers implied employment contract terms including the implied term of trust and confidence, analysing a real contract, changes allowed and equality implications when the contract is changed.

This course is designed to give participants an overview and general feel for how contract law works. It is not possible to deal with all aspects of this very technical subject.

29 October Edinburgh

Employment Law – Race and Sex Discrimination

This one-day course covers an outline of the law, direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, victimisation, time limits and statutory procedures.

23 November Glasgow

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Introduction to Conference

A course to introduce new/potential Conference delegates to arrangements and procedures used to manage the business of Conference. It will assist delegates to prepare to attend the Conference in June:

  • Conference Rules
  • Order of Business
  • Order of Debate
  • Speaking at Conference

It will be held on 13 May in Glasgow

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Stress in the Workplace

This course examines work-related causes of stress and trade union strategies to get employers to take it seriously and do something about it. It is recommended that Health & Safety Stage I is completed prior to this training.

The following course is planned

21-23 August Dundee

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Public Speaking

This course will focus on the core skills required for effective speaking in a variety of situations. It will equip members with knowledge skills and confidence to participate fully via public speaking.

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Magazine Editing

This training course offers an opportunity for magazine editors to acquire and improve the skills relevant to producing an informative Branch Magazine.

Having basic I.T skills before joining - this course is an advantage and it is recommended that those without these skills attend a basic I.T course before the Magazine Editors' Training Weekend.

The course has lots of practical work and over the course of the weekend, members will produce a one or two page magazine using a computer.

The course, tutored by Chris Bartter, Communications Officer (Scotland) and John Stevenson, Scotland inUNISON editor, covers:

  • Organising, production, distribution
  • Basic design and layout
  • Writing skills, editing, headlines
  • Use of text and graphics
  • Introduction to Desk Top Publishing (Microsoft Publisher)
  • Legal issues like defamation
  • Where to get help

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Media Training

This training weekend covers all the essentials of dealing effectively with the Media.  It will give members skills, knowledge and understanding of relevant methods to facilitate improve branch level media contact.

This course, tutored by a practising journalist, the UNISON press officer, the Scottish Communications Officer and the Scotland inUNISON editor, gives real hands on experience in a friendly and informal way.

Press releases, media organisation and presentation, tricks of the trade and practical experience of being interviewed are all included.

Suitable for any UNISON person who has contact with the media - or who wants to get organised to get more media interest in their part of the union.

No matter how new or experienced you are, there is always something to learn on this course. It is geared to give you what you need for your purposes.

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Website Building and Design

This training course offers an opportunity for branches to acquire the skills to set up and maintain a branch website.

Having basic I.T skills before joining - this course is an advantage and it is recommended that those without these skills attend a basic I.T course before the website weekend.

The course has lots of practical work and over the course of the weekend, members will design, set up and hopefully put online a basic website for their branch.

The course, tutored by Chris Bartter, Communications Officer (Scotland), John Stevenson, UNISONScotland webmanager and Jane Aitchison, covers

  • Web introduction and basics
  • Why and how to use a website
  • Use of website authoring tool (FrontPage)
  • Use of text and graphics
  • Hyperlinks
  • General design issues
  • How to set up an Internet account and publish your website.

Students should come with all of the following:

  • Information about their branch, contacts, addresses etc
  • Any photographs, logos they may want to use
  • The username, password and dialup number of their Internet Service provider (if they have one) plus the passwords and details for FTP uploading. If you don't already have an ISP, we will try to set you up with unisonfree.net
  • Your branch's email address if it has one

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Using the expertise of UNISON's Communications and Campaigning structure this is a practical course that takes you through the basic questions that you need to ask at the beginning of any campaign, the people that you need to convince, and all the respective methods that you can use.


It also deals with how you can best ensure that campaigns are not simply restricted to a handful of activists talking to each other. It is not restricted to Communications Officers.

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