Guide for Branch Education Coordinators

Getting Started

UNISON issues a job description for the role of Branch Education Coordinator in a document known as the Code of Good Branch Practice. Your branch may also have a Branch Life Long Learning Coordinator with whom you should work closely.

Tasks relating to the post of branch education coordinator:

  1. Make sure all new stewards and safety representatives receive initial information and guidance about their duties eg. stewards handbook, rulebook, service conditions agreements, etc
  2. Publicise the range of educational and training opportunities available to members and activists
  3. Get untrained stewards, safety representatives and other branch officers onto appropriate training courses
  4. Co-ordinate and support the work of learning representatives (work with the Branch Life Long Learning Coordinator)
  5. 5.   Encourage branch members and activists to make use of the UNISON Open College courses, especially ‘Return to Learn’ and ‘Women’s Lives
  6. Maintain contact with the regional education officer/regional learning and organising committee
  7. Establish a plan of training for activists and to produce an annual budget to meet its costs
  8. Keep records of what training has been undertaken and by whom within the branch
  9. Make sure that activists get paid time off for training where appropriate.

 Key Documents

 You’ll need some key documents to get you started:

  1. A list of all the activists in your branch on RMS (replacement membership system) in A-Z order of surname
  2. A list of all the activists in your branch on RMS in order of RMS Activist Role Code
  3. A List of RMS Activist Role Code numbers and what they mean

 Most of the branches in the North West are ‘live’ on RMS. This means you should be able to get these lists locally.

 Once you have these lists contact the Learning and Organising Services in the Regional Centre and get a copy of the

 AMT (activist and member training system)Training History of the Branch

 Then you need to systematically contact every activist in the branch to check

  • which posts they hold,
  • how long they have been in the post
  • what Trade Union Education they have attended during the last 5 years

 To do this you may need the help of others in the branch, especially Branch Learning Reps. In large branches, you will need help from all the senior stewards and Branch Officers.

 As you make contact with activists you will need to record information to establish your training history records and up date the RMS records. To help you UNISON has a new guide –

Developing and Supporting Workplace Representative – go to our national web site  and put On Line catalogue in the search box – follow the link to order or down load a copy of the document or the separate Trained and Active Plan


Setting up your own Record Keeping Systems:  a model record sheet you may like to use

 Branch: Activist Education Record


Your Details




WORK Telephone

HOME Telephone






Course and dates  Date Authorised Time Off Check Attendance Check Feedback


THIS IS A SIMPLE SYSTEM – FILE IN NAME ORDER – A SHEET FOR EACH ACTIVIST. You may wish to copy this to a spreadsheet but remember you may not always be the Education Coordinator for the Branch. The person taking over from you will need to be able to use your system, so keep it simple and accessible for all. Use this form with the Trained and Active Forms in Key document 5 above



Money Matters

All the courses UNISON provides in its annual programme are listed at  . You will need to authorise each application and regularly report to the Branch Treasurer which of the branch activists have attended what courses – since the branch is charged a registration fee for each place – £20 for participant per course day. (The fee covers around half of the real costs of the course – participants will receive mid morning, lunch and mid afternoon food and refreshments)