Using learning activities for recruitment and retention in Grovember

A number of branches in the South East used UNISON’s member learning opportunities as a way to recruit new members and engage with existing members.

Activists from Hampshire Local Government Branch offered members and potential members the opportunity to develop their professional skills and build their confidence, with a ‘Power to be you’ taster session.

Staff at Gosport Discovery Centre and at HCC headquarters in Winchester, attended the workshop in their lunch break, with lunch provided for free, thanks to applying for a ‘Kickstart’ grant through the Inclusive Learning Project, funded by the Union Learning Fund.

This short workshop looks at ways to improve your confidence both at work and in the rest of your life, and invites you to make small changes that can make a big difference to how you perceive yourself and are perceived by others.

Bev Ring is a UNISON steward at Lockswood Library, who worked with the Regional Member Learning team to organise the workshop in Gosport.
“After the session, several members of staff approached me to say how much they’d enjoyed it.  They felt it was worthwhile and asked to be notified if the full day course was running in the future.  Many particularly enjoyed the opportunity to gather with colleagues in an informal setting over lunch.”

This taster session is taken from a one day course, ‘Power to be You’, that can be arranged in your branch, if you have a group of members who would like to attend such a course. If you have a Union Learning Rep or Lifelong Learning Coordinator in your branch, they can help you to arrange this.

In Central & East Berkshire branch, staff at Arvato in Slough attended a ‘breakfast and learn’ session on managing stress. The branch used the Kickstart grant, to provide a stunning selection of breakfast treats. ‘Staying Strong – Managing Stress’ can be delivered over a lunch break, before or after work, or as a longer, ½ day course. It looks at identifying the causes of stress and practical ways to reduce stress in your home and work life.

UNISON stewards Danielle, Jaspreet and Eileen arranged the workshop and had this to say: “The Workshop provided an opportunity for UNISON to engage with members and to demonstrate to non-members the type of support we provide every day throughout the UK. The event was very well received by colleagues in the Slough Borough Council customer services team, providing them with an opportunity to learn about and discuss stress in a safe and confidential environment. Much praise was also given for the tasty food.  The Workshop was such a success that senior management have already asked UNISON to run further Workshops for additional team members. A great way to spread the UNISON word and to raise awareness about mental health illnesses.”

Please contact your Union Learning Rep or Lifelong Learning Coordinator, if you would like to find out more about this and other learning opportunities for members. Alternatively, speak to the South East Member Learning team on