Learning with PCS - Sessions and workshops

Workplace learning

Would you like to:

• Develop your existing skills and knowledge?

• Learn new skills?

• Build your confidence and understanding?

Then speak to your workplace PCS union learning rep (ULR), or contact your regional learning organiser, to find out more about the wide range of free learning activities, workshops/taster sessions, or courses we can run in your workplace.

Below is a list of sessions or courses we can arrange. There is some variation by region.

Check your skill level

Our trained ULRs can show you how to assess your skill level in English, maths and ICT, using our user-friendly form, or online tool.

English and maths

Short sessions/workshops:

  • Personal finances: explore personal finance and improve your budgeting skills.

  • Singapore Maths: used in UK primary schools, it can help you with your maths, or help you support your children, or grandchildren, with homework.

  • Sugar Mountain: understanding sugar levels in the food and drink you consume through this fun quiz.

  • Everyday English - Grammar: this introductory session explains how grammar works and why you should not be afraid of it.

  • Writing reports: tips and guidance on how to write an effective report.

Online courses:

Courses at Level 2:

  • We can arrange for a local college tutor to run Level 2 courses in English and maths, either at your workplace or at the regional PCS office.

English for speakers of other languages (ESOL)

Many PCS members have a first language other than English.

ESOL courses are a good way to support members and potential members in these areas, and provide the tools to develop self-confidence, leaders, and build strong union organisation in the workplace.

PCS Learning in England is able to identify where government or local funding exists to fund tutors, and run ESOL courses, and can 'broker' the provision of free courses.

ICT and digital

Courses at Level 2:
  • We can arrange for a local college tutor to run Level 2 courses, either at your workplace or at the regional PCS office.

  • Courses cover a range of subjects including: Office 365, Excel, Powerpoint, OneNote and OneDrive.

    Continuous professional and personal development (CPD)

    We run a growing number of workshops aimed at developing your professional (and personal) skills:
    • Mid-life career review: many older workers have been in the same job for many years with little recent experience of ‘valuing your skills’ or applying for jobs. This popular workshop has a proven track record in increasing effectiveness and confidence.

    • Transferable skills: similar to the mid-life career review, these workshops help staff identify your transferable skills and broaden the range of jobs you can apply for.

    • Birkbeck University of London: an evening university offering tuition fee discounts for PCS members, and free events to help you prepare for university study.

    • Success Profiles recruitment and selection training: the civil service recruitment and selection process has moved to a success profiles framework. Launching in autumn This workshop will be for members who want to apply for promotion or for a new role.

    Equality, Health and Wellbeing

    • Mental health awareness: poor mental health is a huge issue. Attending this course will help you understand common symptoms of mental health issues and equip you with the tools to promote mental health awareness.

    • Neurodiversity awareness: many workers have an identifiable neuro-atypical condition, or will have friends or family who are neuro-atypical. This workshop focuses on identifying barriers in the workplace and how to remove them.

    • Menopause in the workplace: a look at the types of issues faced by menopausal women at work.

    • Mindfulness: learn techniques to tune your thoughts into the present moment. Helps relieve stress, reduces blood pressure and improves sleep.

    • Relieving stress through laughter: poor mental health is a huge issue in workplaces. Relieving stress through laughter is an effective technique to help improve one’s mental health and reduce stress.

    • Assertiveness: enhance your communication skills by improving your ability to assert your own opinion confidently, whilst respecting different or opposing views.

    Pensions and Pre-retirement

    We offer talks, workshop sessions, individual 121s and in some regions we offer courses:

    • Civil service pensions - understanding your civil service pension: a short talk on the civil service pension scheme (we are developing a more general version for non-civil service members).

    • Free 121 with financial advisor: PCS is partners with financial advisors, Lighthouse, who offer free 30-minute individual advice and guidance sessions. 


    See our apprentices pages for all the support, including learning support, offered by PCS to apprentices.

    PCS represents and advises apprentices on your rights at work.
    We provide information and guidance including how to:
    • Get your minimum 20% off the job training
    • Ensure you receive quality training, pay and job security.

    For those who need to pass your maths and/or English GCSE/Level 2 we can signpost you to the relevant learning.

    Creative writing workshops

    Creative writing is a great way to develop confidence, self-expression and clarity of thinking.

    It also helps you understand the mechanics of reading and writing, empathy and communication skills.

    Short sessions:

    Short sessions of 1-2 hours, run by a TUC unionlearn tutor or PCS regional learning organiser.

    Workshops run by published authors:

    We are also starting to run creative writing workshops led by published authors. Our first two were delivered by Vaseem Khan, author of the Baby Ganesh Agency series of books.

    Unheard voices

    We are looking to develop a particular focus on unheard voices - many of our members are black, female, disabled, and other learners who through structural discrimination and/or barriers to learning have not had the opportunity to develop their writing voice. 

    In 2020, PCS will be running short story and life writing competitions.

    Informal Adult Community Learning (IACL)

    Informal Adult & Community Learning (IACL) is an umbrella term describing a broad range of learning that brings together adults to pursue an interest, address a need, acquire a new skill, become healthier or learn how to support their children.

    This kind of learning, usually unaccredited, is an important part of the wider learning continuum. It can be undertaken for its own sake or as a step towards other learning/training.

    We are developing a range of different informal learning activities in this area. If you have a particular interest, then contact your regional learning organiser to discuss. 


    Online and long-distance learning

    Overview of free online learning

    We can run a tutor-led session in your workplace looking at various free online learning providers.

    Long-distance vocational learning

    Through our partnerships with further education colleges and other learning providers, we offer free long-distance courses in a range of vocational subjects at Level 2 including:

    • Business administration

    • Care and management

    • Customer service

    • Equality and diversity

    • Advice and guidance

    • Mental health awareness

    • Nutrition and health

    • Team leading.

    Online courses

    We have six free e-learning courses with leading provider Wranx: Maths GCSE, English GCSE, English punctuation, Introduction to Online Security, Raising Awareness: Mental Health in the workplace, and Raising Awareness: Menopause in the workplace.

    10% discount

    We have teamed up with another online provider, e-Careers, and PCS members receive a 10% discount on hundreds of online courses, ranging from Office 365, project planning and financial accounts.

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