UNISON Northern Ireland

Education and Training


CLICK HERE to access the padlet website with prerecorded training courses, the latest member learning programme and apply for education grants.

Our Activist and Member Learning Programme continues to be identified by members as one of our most important areas of work. Both programmes give support to members and activists especially at a time when employers are cutting back on their training and development programmes.

We offer over 180 workshops for all members across 90 topics such as autism, dementia, palliative care, mindfulness, supporting staff, resilience, bereavement, communicating effectively, interview skills, drugs and alcohol, epilepsy, Parkinsons, suicide awareness, dealing with stress and bullying.   Check out our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)?

All of our courses are now hosted at  https://unisoncollegeni.org.uk  If you open it on your phone, you can save the page on your homepage as an app style icon.     Just set up an account and once approved - you can book, track and cancel courses  from the convenience of your phone, tablet or computer. 

We also offer education grants up to £300 for Open University modules, work related and non work related modules with specific bursaries for Open University modules, school support staff and care assistants.  Find out more at https://learning.unison.org.uk/financial-support    

The Open University K102 Introduction to Health & Social Care & Pre-Reg Nursing Programme (Adult, Mental Health, Learning Disability & Children's)

UNISON offers the The Open University K102 Introduction to Health & Social Care module in partnership with Trusts.  This is a level 4 60 credit course and is a module on the Open Uni Pre-Reg Nursing programme and also a module on the BSc in Health & Social Care, BSc in Healthcare and Health Sciences and the BA in Social Work.  It is open to any member of Trust staff to apply.  We recruit in April/May each year.  Course information is at http://www.open.ac.uk/courses/modules/k102   

The fee for K102  is £1008 (19/20).  UNISON and the Trusts directly fund a limited number of places.  There is also a grant available through Student Finance NI www.studentfinanceni.co.uk  The criteria for a full grant is a household income below £17k (threshold increases if you have children under 18) and not hold a qualification above level 3.  Household income is defined as income as per your P60 or March payslip of you and a partner (if applicable) - it doesn't include other people living in the house such as parents, friends etc.  


The OU Nursing programme will be advertised in January and will offer four routes - adult, mental health, learning disability and children's.   To receive an application in January please email Ireland-Nursing-Applications@open.ac.uk with your name and Trust

The OU Nursing programme takes 4 years approximately, you continue to get paid in your current role and are seconded onto the programme.  So you are in your own job, then you could be out on placement or study leave for a block of time.  The time out training equates to 4600 hours over the duration of the course.  While the Trust receives £4000 towards backfill, it is estimated that it costs around £25k to train each person in terms of covering your post when you are studying or on placement.  So there is not an automatic entitlement to apply.  

Places are limited and applicants are shortlisted based on their application form and then selected by interview.  UNISON offers interview prep workshops in each Trust for those members shortlisted.  We also recommend attending our free member workshops on clinical and non clinical topics and workshops such as Dignity in Health & Social Care can support the application and interview process.  

Sign up for our UNISON College Education App/Website at https://unisoncollegeni.org.uk/ 

You don't need K101 or K102 to apply but you do need to meet the criteria below.  

To be eligible to apply you must have and supply original certificates or replacement certificates for
•    Level 2 English (eg GCSE A-C, NVQ, QCF/QCR, HNC, HND, Access course, Essential Skills, K101, Leaving Cert)
•    Level 2 Maths/Numeracy (eg GCSE A-C, Access course with a maths component, Essential Skills Numeracy, Leaving Cert)
•    Plus have 
•    At least a 26 hour substantive contract – you cannot include bank hours, or additional hours even if they are regular.
•    Permission from your line manager and the budget holder to apply

You must have completed your Maths and English courses and provide original certificates at interview, so if you have lost them, apply for replacements well in advance.  

If you have less than a 26 hour contract, you can talk to your manager about the option of increasing your contracted hours if you get a place on the programme.  Your manager would have to agree to this in writing at the time of application.   


K102 Application Packs