UNISON launch website for members in schools

UNISON launch website for members in schools

Skills for Schools

UNISON have recently launched a fantastic new resource for school support staff. The website Skills for Schools has a whole range of information on training, the different roles in education and ways for members to development themselves.

The website is well worth visiting and is a great introduction to the role that UNISON plays in the workplace.

As the site states

UNISON is one of the UK’s largest trade unions, serving more than 1.3 million members.

We represent people who work in our vital public services like health, education and local council services, keeping our children safe and caring for the vulnerable in society.

A trade union is a group of working people who have joined together to achieve better pay and working conditions and a safer working environment. Trade unions negotiate with employers on behalf of union members to agree wages, work rules, complaint procedures, rules governing hiring, firing and promotion of workers, benefits, workplace safety and other policies.

Members benefit from the strength and security that comes from people working together to tackle problems.

UNISON represents more education staff than any other trade union in the UK. Our members work across the education sector in maintained and academy schools, free schools, nurseries, careers services, colleges and universities.

Our 350,000 members in education give us a powerful voice to campaign against inequalities, challenge unfair pay practices and speak out on issues that affect our working lives and the quality of public services. UNISON education works hard to improve members’ terms and conditions, ensure workplaces are safe and that our members’ voices are heard.

Visit the site by clicking here and pass on to your colleagues in the workplace!

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Unions support everyone – including footballers

Unions support everyone – including footballers

Joshua Grey at Watford FC

We are pleased to republish this article from the TUC’s Union Learn website.

If you are not a member of UNISON, then you should join today!

Starting an apprenticeship with Darlington at 15-years old and signing a professional contract just 2 years later, Joshua Gray was enjoying playing for the first team when he started thinking about what his next steps might be. And his union, the Professional Footballers Association (PFA), was there to help.

With aspirations to continue his education, Joshua was passionate about achieving a degree in a scientific subject, such as engineering or biology.

When his contract came to an end, Joshua made the choice to turn down short-spell offers from around the country and – looking for stability – embarked on a complete career change. Starting with an access course at Gateshead College, he followed up with a BSc in Biomedical Science from Northumbria University.

He is currently in the final stages of completing a PhD in Immunology at the University of Glasgow.

Joshua says what led him to build a career so far away from football.

I always wanted to do biology or something similar at school; it was just another interest I had completely parallel to football. It wasn’t a conscious decision to get away from football-related education, it just happened to work out that way.”

The PFA was there to support Joshus with his new career, as he explains:

As soon as I left the club I got in touch with the PFA. We had a regional officer for League Football Education called Paul Urwin and he suggested looking at universities in America. I looked into that initially and there were a few colleges interested, including Columbia, but I couldn’t afford the fees and they didn’t do full scholarships, so I looked closer to home. Paul put me in touch with Oshor Williams who told me what funding was available and I’ve been applying for that every year since.”

Joshua completes his thesis this month and wants to continue in academia as a research fellow, this allows him to design his own research chose which direction he wants to go in.

This would follow on from the work he is doing at the moment. Joshua said:

Right now I do arthritis research, working on vaccines that focus on reversing the disease and the damage it can cause. Some of my independent work has been working on flu vaccines and I’ve got some ideas in that area, so I’ll probably be putting those forward. I’m actually looking to go to America for my post-doc research and weirdly I have an interview at Columbia, the same place that showed interest in me all those years ago.”

His football background helped with his studies, as Joshua explains: 

I probably wouldn’t have done some of the things I have, in the way I’ve done them without having played football first.”

When you’re pushed into such a competitive and high-pressured environment as a 17-year-old, you have to grow up quite quickly, so I felt like I was more mature going into university. Without that environment I’d had as a footballer, I probably would’ve been like the other students messing about.  As soon as I went to university I knew what I wanted to do and where I needed to get to, whereas I don’t think a lot of people who go to university necessarily do.”

Joshua would recommend players who are looking to try something new should get in touch with the PFA, and feels they are very accessible.

I’ve got in touch many times over the years and they’ve always got back with a satisfactory answer. I was only a professional for 2-years, but I’m still receiving benefits from them, and they’ve always been bothered about what I’m doing. It’s nice to know that they’re not just there for when you’re successful playing football – they’re also there to help you when you’re not.”

I would also say, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something, or let anyone shoehorn you into a situation that’s convenient if you don’t want to do that. Don’t be afraid to say no, and don’t be afraid to do something a little different.”

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Get financial support for learning from your union

Get financial support for learning from your union

financial support from unison

Support from your union. Photo from UNISON website

Did you know about the financial support for learning and education that you can receive from your trade union, UNISON?

From grants to discounts, we may be able to help. Click here to find out more information!

To contact the branch learning reps – email office(at)unisoncoventry.co.uk – replacing (at) with the @symbol.

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Read our latest newsletter

Read our latest newsletter

unison ulr newsletter 4

Happy New Year from Coventry City UNISON! We wish you all best of luck for the year ahead. In these times of austerity, being part of a strong trade union is as important as ever. If you are not currently a member, please consider joining by clicking here.

You can read the latest issues of our learning and education newsletter by clicking here.

Please feel free to share this newsletter and pass it on to friends, family and work colleagues.

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Take the UNISON Skills Survey!

Take the UNISON Skills Survey!

join unison

UNISON are currently undertaking a survey of our members to find out more about their skills, experiences and feelings about the future. The responses will help the union influence Government policy on adult education and shape the development of learning for UNISON members.

The survey takes just a few minutes to complete and there is a chance to win some great prizes as a ‘thank you’ for taking part.

The prizes include an expenses paid weekend break to Croyde Bay, Devon or one of ten £200 vouchers or ten £100 vouchers.

Click here to take the survey. It is open to UNISON members only.

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Winter issue of Learning Rep magazine now available

Winter issue of Learning Rep magazine now available


The latest issue of Learning Rep magazine is out now. The Winter edition provides updates from across the trade union movement about learning, education and development. It can be accessed on the UnionLearn website by clicking here.

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New issue of Learning Rep magazine out now

New issue of Learning Rep magazine out now

Autumn union rep magazine

The new issue of Learning Rep magazine is out now, packed full of learning and education news and updates from unions around the country. You can access a copy by visiting here

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