Available Courses

All Usdaw reps are given first-class training to help them perform their role to the best of their ability.

The first introductory courses are held locally and soon after the rep is elected or appointed. These three and two-day courses give reps a solid understanding of their rights and responsibilities. They are also held in an informal and supportive environment with other reps.
All would-be reps are encouraged to complete the Union’s Home Study Course.
As reps become more experienced other courses become available including Summer Schools 1 and 2 and the Branch Officers’ Course – these are residential courses and cover every aspect of being a rep, how the Union works and its connections with other organisations.
Divisions and federations may also run weekend get-togethers and schools for training purposes.
Reps who want to become Health and Safety and/or Union Learning Reps can also access tailor-made courses. 

Available Courses

Shop Stewards Introductory Course

The overall aim of this three day course is to develop the Shop Steward's ability to play an active and informed role in increasing trade union organisation and involvement in the workplace. This involves helping reps to:
  • Develop key skills with the emphasis on recording, listening and presentational skills (one-to-one meetings).
  • Develop strategies for better working relationships with members, Union officials and employers/managers.
  • Develop key knowledge and understanding, with the emphasis on grievance and disciplinary procedures, recruitment, Union services and benefits, and contacts and sources of information.
  • Develop an understanding of trade union aims, objectives and policies.
View available dates >>

Apply to attend >>

Shop Stewards Advanced Course

The course will normally be restricted to one employer or industry. A typical course will:
  • Cover a recap of grievance and disciplinary procedures.
  • Develop representation and meetings skills.
  • Build knowledge of key issues within the Union, company and/or industry.
  • Develop presentation skills.
  • Develop an understanding of equal opportunities issues.
  • Further promote the benefits of good industrial relations in the workplace.
  • Build on organising skills to ensure maximum levels of Usdaw membership.
View available dates >>

Apply to attend >>

Health and Safety Reps Introductory Course

The overall aims of this three day course are to develop the Safety Representative/Steward's ability to improve and protect the health and safety of staff in the workplace and to look at how this can be achieved through effective trade union organisation. More specifically, the aims of the course are to:
  • To establish a trade union approach to health and safety in the workplace.
  • To understand the role and responsibilities of the Safety Representative, including how to tackle problems and ensure that the staff's voice is heard on safety issues.
  • To understand the legal framework around health, safety and welfare at work and its benefits and limitations.
View available dates >>

Apply to attend >>

Health and Safety Reps Advanced Course

There is a greater emphasis on developing knowledge of health and safety legislation and its application in the workplace. A typical course will cover:
  • A review of topics covered on the introductory course and its usefulness back in the workplace.
  • A more in-depth look at legislation such as the Safety Reps and Safety Committees Regulations, Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations, etc.
  • Effective Union organisation for health and safety.
  • Making Health and Safety Committees work more effectively.
  • An in-depth look at risk assessment.
  • Effective safety inspections.
  • Accidents - how to avoid them and investigate them.
  • The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations.
  • European legislation such as the Working Time Directive, Manual Handling Regulations, plus others as appropriate.
  • Other current issues such as body mapping, stress at work, etc.
View available dates >>

Apply to attend >>

Workers' Rights Course

A two or three-day course aimed at more experienced reps who wish to build their understanding of the law at work. It covers Maternity/Paternity Rights, Family Rights, Disability Discrimination and Contracts of Employment.

Apply to attend >>

Union Learning Reps Introductory Course

This course usually lasts five days (normally one day a week for five days) and covers:
  • Bargaining for Training.
  • How to provide advice and guidance to potential learners.
  • Assessing learning needs.
  • Understanding qualification levels and methods of assessment.
  • Understanding Basic Skills.
  • Introduction to the role of trade unions in workforce development.
View available dates >>

Apply to attend >>

Branch Officers Course

The course is designed to help Branch Officers play an active role in the running of their branch. A number of topics will be covered during the course including how to run an effective meeting, motions, amendments, minutes and branch development as well as finding out how their branch can play an active part in the Union’s democratic structures. 

The course provides an opportunity to find out about the work of the main Departments at Central Office and also to share and discuss experiences with other Branch Officers.
Courses are held at our National Conference and Training Centre in Warrington.

Dates for the Branch Officers Course will be available soon.

Apply to attend >>

Collective Bargaining Course

The course is designed to equip reps with the knowledge and skills needed to actively participate in all stages of pay negotiations from building membership support and preparing the claim through to negotiations and balloting.

Apply to attend the Collective Bargaining Course >>

Summer School First Series Course

To find out more visit our Summer School page.

Summer School Second Series Course

To find out more visit our Summer School page.

Federation Events

Often, Federations will arrange for a guest speaker to talk on a specialist topic or to run a short course.

Find out more about Federations >>

Divisional Workshops 

For example, a number of courses have been held to help reps recruit new starters at induction sessions.

More details will be published here shortly.

Get Online with Usdaw

Get Online with Usdaw is a free course for Usdaw members who want to feel confident about using the internet safely at work or at home. The course develops the skills you need to use the internet to find information, keep in touch with people and use digital services like shopping or entertainment.

You complete the course on your computer or tablet using Usdaw’s website. If you don’t want to read the course on the screen, you can use a printed copy to follow the instructions.

Find out more >>

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The official website of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers