PCS Branch Learning Fund

Union learning events have the highest levels of membership participation, after industrial action.

Holding regular learning events and activities raise PCS's profile, reach 'hard-to-reach' members, increase participation of women, black and other under-represented members, contribute to a bargaining or equality objective, offer a pathway into activism, recruit non-members, and build the union.

How to request a session
  • Step 1 - Decide which session you want to run. All current sessions are listed below. Tip: Think about what your branch's current organising or bargaining priorities are. For example:
    • Is sexual harassment, bullying or stress a current workplace issue? Book sessions on those subjects.
    • Do you have low union density and/or member engagement? Run a survey to find out what members are interested in, then book it.
    • Are your members facing organisational change, office closures or redundancy? Book one or more of our 'employability' sessions to help members apply and be interviewed for a new job.
  • Step 2 - Complete the Request form.
  • Step 3 - You'll be contacted by PCS Learning, and put in touch with the tutor. You'll agree a date and time with the tutor, brief them on any relevant branch or workplace issues, and plan for a successful event.

Please send any queries to learningacademy@pcs.org.uk.

Current sessions

Each session lasts one hour except Applying for a job in the Civil Service ('success profiles') which is 90 minutes. They are delivered online, except where stated. 
After the event you'll be provided with PowerPoint slides or other resources to give to attendees. Where the session is a 'taster' session, we'll give you dates of upcoming one- and two-day PCS courses to signpost attendees to.

Black history  Black histories are a vital part of Britain’s story, reaching back many centuries. Each session uncovers a different leader or aspect of black history. Learn about William Cuffay and many other Black Britons.

Tutor: Ken Olende.

Green workplaces and climate justice  A short introduction to climate change, what 'climate justice' is, and why trade unions have a crucial role to play in fighting for it.

Trade union tutor.

Applying for a job in the civil service (understanding 'success profiles') An introduction to the civil service's 'success profile' recruitment and selection process. A packed session covers job adverts, Behaviours, Strengths, personal statements, evidence/STAR method. Examples are provided.

Review and value my skills  Participants are encouraged to identify their transferable skills - not just skills used at work, but in all aspects of our lives, as well as areas for development.

CV writing  How to create a CV for life, keeping it updated with lots of examples, making future applications easier and more effective, whether an employer asks for a CV or completion of an application form.

Assertiveness  We all have a right to express our thoughts, feelings, and needs, as long as we do so in a respectful way. Techniques and strategies to develop these skills, and to establish more effective personal boundaries.

All tutors are from the WEA (Workers Educational Association).

These are all taster sessions, designed to signpost members to PCS's longer one- and two-day courses on the same subject. All content is from a trade union perspective, and explores how these topics are workplace issues, and the union role in tackling them.

Racism and intolerance  The current threat by the far-right to our workplaces and communities, and constructive ways we can counter these threats as trade unionists.

Neurodiversity  An introduction to neurodiversity, whether it's autism, dyslexia, or another atypical condition. And the union role in improving workplace conditions for neurodiverse people.

Menopause  Understanding the symptoms of menopause, and workplace factors which may negatively impact on women workers experiencing the menopause, including potentially discriminatory practices.

Combatting domestic abuse  An insight into domestic abuse, and how you can support colleagues or family/friends experiencing domestic abuse and violence.

Sexual harassment  The law and sexual harassment, policies and practices, challenging workplace cultures which tolerate harassment, and organising around equality.

Women in PCS: pathways for women workers  To build the capacity of women members to progress in their careers and lives, and to overcome structural obstacles to making progress. To increase women's participation in PCS.

Trans equality  What do we mean by “trans”? Transitioning, the law, Gender Recognition Certificates, and more.

Bullying  Spot bullying behaviours, start to define the ways that bullying can manifest itself, understand why bullying is a trade union issue.

Stress  PCS reps spend a huge amount of time supporting individual members and collectively organising around workload and staffing. No to 'resilience' and yes to PCS members standing together to reduce harmful stress at work.

Cancer  Find out more about cancer in the workplace, its causes and effects. How to support members experiencing cancer-related ill-health, and PCS campaigns to improve employer support for employees from diagnosis to rehabilitation, as well as for carers.

Mental health in the workplace **Currently being updated - available shortly**

All presenters are leading trade union tutors who deliver the existing PCS Academy courses.

Helping PCS members to navigate our way through a cost-of-living crisis we didn't create. Presenters may be able to deliver your session in-person, depending on location.

Navigating the financial squeeze  Personal financial planning. A financial advisor helps members make the most of their money and improve their ability to secure their financial future. Presenter: Lighthouse financial advisor

Resolving problem debt  We all have debts. This session looks at how to avoid our debts become unmanageable. Budgeting, financial planning, and accessing confidential and non-judgemental debt advice. Presenter: PayPlan national debt advisor

Credit union: savings and loans  Savings have a huge impact on our wellbeing and yet almost one-third of us have no emergency savings. How to join the 1st Class credit union to access affordable loans whilst saving a small amount each month. Presenter: 1st Class Credit Union

Level 1 and Level 2 accredited courses 

If you're interested in putting on a Level 1 or 2 course for your members, contact PCS Learning at learningacademy@pcs.org.uk and you will be put in touch with your regional Further Education college.

Colleges can obtain government funding for learners, so these courses are offered free, subject to a minimum number of participants registering and other government funding rules.

FE College tutor

Pensions Explained  Presenter: Lighthouse financial advisor

Retirement and Pensions Explained  Helps members improve their chances of securing a comfortable retirement. How pensions work, when to retire, accessing additional savings, tax considerations and countering inflation. Presenter: Lighthouse financial advisor