PCS course programme

Every PCS regional centre organises a programme of training courses for reps and members. These courses are non-residential and are usually held in PCS regional centres, in local colleges or at employers' premises.

If you're interested in signing up for a course contact your PCS regional centre.

The type of courses we offer include:

  • An introduction to PCS 

This is a two-day course aimed at new branch representatives - or members who wish to become representatives. All new representatives are encouraged to attend this course. The course aims to develop your understanding of how PCS works and your role in the union. 

  • New reps 

This course gives new reps an introduction to PCS, how we organise and recruit new members, how to deal with personal cases, communication skills and an introduction to equality.

  • Representing members

This course gives reps the basic skills to represent members in grievances, disciplinaries and begin to bargain with management.

  • Organising to win

This course develops your understanding of how to organise members effectively in our workplaces.

  • Handling personal cases


This three-day course aims to help you to develop the skills to represent members day-to-day, linking this to organising and bargaining skills.

  • Tackling discrimination in the workplace

This course focuses on dealing with discrimination and cases with a discrimination element, covering the law affecting discrimination on grounds of sex, race, disability religion or belief.

  • Negotiating skills

This three-day course is aimed at PCS representatives who are new to negotiations, developing your understanding of collective bargaining in a hostile environment. 

  • Union learning reps

This course aims to help union learning representatives to strengthen the presence of PCS in their workplaces, supporting members in planning and managing their learning and to work with colleges, learndirect and other organisations to bring learning into the workplace.

Get active in PCS 

This short course is aimed at PCS members who might be interested in becoming more active in the union.

It covers what PCS is and how it works, how members can play a role and what help and support is available. The course can be run either over one, two or three (day or evening) sessions.

Introductory women's course

A three-day course aimed at new women reps or women who are thinking about becoming more active in the union. It aims to build confidence and seeks to provide you with information about PCS and how the union is structured.

The introductory women's course aims to strengthen women's involvement in the union. The course covers a wide range of issues including:

  • dealing with personal cases
  • preparing for negotiations with management;
  • recruitment and increasing women's involvement in PCS;
  • public speaking and wider social and political issues that affect women.

Introductory black members course

A two-day course is aimed at black* representatives or members who are thinking about becoming more active in the union.
The course aims to examine issues of concern to black members and to explain PCS structures. You will develop a range of skills for:

  • identifying issues
  • drafting motions
  • public speaking

Proud courses (Stages 1 and 2)

These two courses are designed for PCS lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) reps or members who are interested in becoming more active within PCS and Proud. The aims are to help you to:

  • identify issues faced by LGBT PCS members in the workplace and any barriers to involvement in PCS and Proud
  • encourage the involvement of LGBT members in PCS and Proud
  • tackle discrimination
  • develop a basic understanding of current legislation
  • build skills and confidence.

Branch learning coordinators course

A two day course for branch learning coordinators. It aims to help learning coordinators to:

  • recruit, organise and support a network of learning representatives in their branch
  • negotiate on learning issues on behalf of their members
  • deal with personal cases related to learning
  • use the learning agenda to organise in their branch.

Branch treasurers course

This one day course, aimed at branch treasurers and auditors, is run in conjunction with the PCS finance department. The course covers

  • basic record keeping skills
  • expenditure
  • how the rebate system works.


This course is for reps and organisers who wish to initiate branch campaigns. The course will help you to:

  • develop campaigning practice
  • understand procedures, terms and agreements
  • build confidence
  • develop project management skills
  • develop an understanding of team building

Pay negotiations

This course is designed for PCS reps involved in negotiating and pay talks. The course aims to:

  • prepare lay members to participate in annual pay talks within their organisations
  • give them an understanding of the pay process and how it works
  • explore and expand on the practical skills used in conducting pay talks
  • practice applying those skills in role-playing exercises and workshops.

Lay tutor training

This course is for PCS representatives who want to develop their communication and facilitating skills. Lay tutors can facilitate training sessions and support TUC tutors on accredited courses.
The aims of the course are to:

  • understand the aims and objectives of PCS training
  • develop the skills needed to facilitate courses

Health and safety

This two day introductory course aims to help you: understand the role of the health and safety representative, gain confidence and develop skills to analyse problems.The course is accredited by the National Open College Network.

The course covers:

  • workplace surveys
  • health and safety legislation
  • risk assessment
  • health and safety inspections.

Dealing with gender and sexuality issues at work

This is a two day course designed for local PCS reps that wish to develop their skills in dealing with diversity issues - specifically in addressing issues faced by LGBT members. 
The course will help you to:

  • Understand the issues faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) PCS members
  • Develop a basic knowledge of the legislation that protects LGBT people
  • Improve your skills and confidence when dealing with issues around sexuality or transgender

Tackling disability discrimination

This course is designed for PCS representatives, to give a basic understanding of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) and how it benefits disabled members at work.
The aims of the course are to:

  • identify issues of concern for disabled members;
  • understand the scope and limitations of the DDA;
  • consider how the DDA might benefit members and applicants for employment

Work-life balance

This two-day course aims to equip union representatives to negotiate and organise for work-life balance. The course aims to help you:

  • understand the law on work-life balance
  • think through how you can support and represent your members on work-life balance
  • think about how you can campaign to improve members' work-life balance.

Advanced personal cases

This course is targeted at reps who deal with more complicated cases, including discipline and grievance cases, which could potentially lead to dismissal.

The course also covers misconduct, sick absence and capability issues, as well as giving guidance on legislative provisions.
Reps will learn how to use legal advice and assistance and will get an introduction to settlements and compromise agreements and the role of ACAS. Reps will also get an introduction to the processes for employment tribunal and civil service appeal board cases.

Employment tribunals and advocacy

This five day course is aimed at experienced representatives who have responsibility within branches, regions, groups or bargaining units for handling employment tribunals (ETs).

The course covers the whole process, including applications to ETs and CSABs, timescales, the preparation for hearings, and obtaining legal advice. It also looks at advocacy skills including presenting the case, cross examination and closing the case.

Reps will be made aware of the PCS employment law toolkit, and will get the chance to practice their skills on actual case studies.
The course includes a visit to an employment tribunal.

Advanced course for PCS reps

The advanced course for PCS reps has been especially developed for experienced reps who have been through the range of PCS or TUC courses and who wish to deepen their understanding of trade unions and the world in which they operate.

It will be particularly useful for those who have been out of formal education for some time or have few formal qualifications.

At the end of the course you will get an Access to Higher Education Certificate which you can use to go on to further or higher education or study for professional qualifications.

The course lasts for one year and consists of regular study groups and independent study. Areas of study include:

  • Public Service and Privatisation
  • Influencing Government
  • Industrial Relations and Trade Unionism
  • Changes in Work Organisation
  • The European Union
  • Research Methods
  • Globalisation.

There is no cost to PCS representatives selected for the course. This course is currently going through a second pilot in Yorkshire & Humberside. We hope to roll the course out throughout 2009.

Conference delegates course

This course is designed for trainee delegates to PCS annual conference. The aims of the course are to:

  • familiarise you with conference procedures
  • help you understand the democratic processes of PCS
  • develop your skills and confidence
  • enable you to raise any questions about conference and the issues discussed.

Branches are entitled to nominate one person to attend each year. A branch briefing is usually issued in the New Year requesting nominations.

*'Black' is used in the political context to apply to people who are Asian, Chinese, African, African/Caribbean, Arabic etc, ie, people from African and Asian Diaspora, including people of dual heritage.

Other courses are available as needs are identified.

Share PCS:

Visit PCS social sites: