Moving forward with TUC Education

Moving forward with TUC Education

About the author: Ade Toomey

Ade Toomey is the TUC Education Officer for the Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber regions, he has worked in TUC Education for 16 years in roles ranging from part time hourly TUC tutor through to Regional Education Officer, experiencing the full spectrum of TUC educational and the amazing effects it can have on reps and workplaces.

In this blog Ade looks at the challenges facing TUC Education and highlights the plans in place to continue to support reps in the future.

For many taking on the role of Health and Safety Rep, Union Rep, Union Learning Rep or any other union position is a daunting task and for the opportunity to understand the role, gain the skills and most importantly make contact with other reps is achieved through attending the various courses offered by TUC Education.

Between 2001 and 2014 nearly 650,000 reps attended TUC Education Courses and gained the skills and confidence they needed to become a vital part of the trade union movement.

In recent years there has been huge pressure on trade union studies centres to deliver the programme, as cuts in the Adult Education Budget and the move away from full funding for course programmes has resulted in many cases in demands for higher numbers of learners on courses and the loss of many centres across the country.

Across the Midlands and Yorkshire and Humber Regions the excellent work of the 6 trade union studies centres, with support from colleges, has helped maintain a strong network of centres that continue to offer the full TUC Education programme across both regions.

Taking into consideration the numerous factors effecting delivery of the programme, issues around release, the ‘Crisis in FE’ etc. and the need to develop a modern, fresh approach, TUC Education has developed a new Union Reps Stage 1 course that will take us into the future ensuring training will be available for new and existing reps. The Health and Safety Stage 1 and the Union Learning Reps 1&2 courses are also being developed.

The course is interactive, exciting and full of useful information and tips. It contains quizzes, videos and key action points to help you be a great union rep. It is for new and experienced reps or as a resource to compliment your classroom course. 

The course will take between 12 and 15 hours to complete. It is self-study and you can access the course at a time that suits you, as many times as you like.

eNotes are an excellent way to receive updates on new issues and to test your knowledge in a friendly informal way. Currently there are 35 e-notes available,including:

  • Health and Safety and Organising
  • Working with Figures
  • Mental health in the workplace 

Further information about online provision and eNotes can be found at

Unionlearn is running a series of events to promote this offer, the next being in Newcastle on March 7th. Details of how to register can be found at:

The future strength of trade unions is dependent upon attracting and developing new activists and continuing to train and support existing reps. The mix of classroom based, blended and online learning programmes is essential to make sure we give everyone access to high quality resources and the chance to learn collaboratively.

If you need help finding a course in either region or want to know more about the TUC programme provision please get in contact at [email protected]

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