Mentoring in UNISON – what went on at the workshop on Saturday?

The Mentoring in UNISON workshop 7th March 2015 – What Went On?

Around twenty five people squeezed into the Woods room at the Mechanics Centre in Manchester (11 – 11.45) – the workshop was very tight for time, but we did attempt to follow the programme as outlined below. The group completed two tasks – sharing their experiences of mentoring as part of an introductory session and then in a new group applying their minds to one of the five scenarios – their three top ideas are reproduced below. Participants took away with them copies of UNISON’s documents Supporting Activists in the Workplace and the Trained and Active Plan.

Scenario One – New Workplace Reps and Stewards

  1. Contact face to face asap
  2. Welcome to the branch pack
  3. Mentorship with Relevant activists eg Branch Health and safety officer mentors new Health and safety reps




Scenario Two – New Workplace Contacts

  1. Someone must be responsible for keeping lists of contacts and contacts must have a named individual who they turn to for help
  2. Contacts need the branch to devise a short info sheet on their role
  3. Branches should encourage contacts to ‘buddy’ each other
Scenario Three – Stewards who have completed formal initial basic training

  1. Make contact asap – discover common interests
  2. Provide protected space and time for stewards to meet together
  3. Case conferences using ‘classic’ situations
Scenario Four – New Branch Officers

  1. Mentors need to tap into officer’s needs straight away
  2. Regional training opportunities and contacts should be more widely available
  3. Both Mentor and Mentee need a checklist approach to evaluate what works best

Scenario Five – Out of date ERA certified stewards

  1. the Branch needs to oversee ERA/mentoring and retraining process
  2. There should be a formal process on a regular basic – every 6 or 12months
  3. There should be a register of mentors and named contacts

MENTORING – 45 minute work shop

  • Minutes 1-5  Introductions and workshop overview –  splits activity Gender/mentors and mentees/Big or Small Branch/ Q’s and concerns – what do you want to know – posits or notes to self.
  • 5-10 What is mentoring?  Mentor/ buddy/coach ideas in UNISON
  • 10-20 Who should be mentored? and who should be the mentors? in UNISON – the TAP materials
  • 20-30 what needs to be in place – intro from workshop leader – what would mentors do in these scenarios – discussion groups stood at flip chart on wall write /draw key discussions points.
  • 30-40 Feedback about key tasks and processes at branch level
  • 40-45 Review and next steps – Take sample TAP materials / desk-pad – complete expressions of interest -
    • Run this work shop at your branch development day or indeed inside a branch committee or
    • Get a  Mentoring One day course off the ground- in programme and at branch level –
    • Scenario 1 – los and activists from the branch have recruited 10 new stewards
    • Scenario 2 – local organisers and branch activists have recruited 10 new workplace contacts
    • Scenario 3 -  10 new stewards have just completed their initial basic training
    • Scenario 4 – 10 experienced reps have outdated ERA status
    • Scenario 5 – 5 new branch officers have recently been elected (they’ve come up through being recruited by the organising team and are stewards too in their work place)

UNISON NORTH WEST – Expression of interest



My Name is ———————————————————————————————–



My Branch is ———————————————————————————————-



My mobile number is ———————————————————————————–





I’m interested


  1. A similar workshop being run in my branch



  1. A one day course to help us set up a mentoring scheme in the branch




  1. A two day – Mentoring Skills course for those who want to become mentors in the branch



  1. Something else – please specify








Return to Helen Titherington, the Regional Education Officer,

UNISON North West Regional Centre,

Arena Point,

1 Hunts Bank,

 Manchester M3 1UN


Telephone 07904342203



Email [email protected]

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