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GMB Birmingham & West Midlands Region

Training Courses for Workplace Reps

The Education Department is based at the Regional Office in Halesowen. You can contact us by phone on 0121 550 4888 or fax on 0121 550 4272.


Welcome to the GMB Education program and the beginning of your learning journey with us.

The GMB regional education department organises a programme of training for workplace representatives and these courses are run in the GMB offices, Halesowen (regional office), Tamworth and Stoke.  We also organise courses in local colleges and on some occasions in other union’s premises and on employer premises.

The GMB education pathway has been designed to give you the skills and tools needed to represent your members to the best of your abilities.  It has also been designed to encourage you to undertake further learning and development for your own personal and professional interest.  Every 4 months we issue a course program on the GMB West Midlands website as well as by email to all our reps and to all branches advertising what courses are available and at what level (qualification).  These are our core courses and in addition to these also run smaller bespoke short courses.   We also advertise the TUC/GFTU & WEA courses on our website.

This guide will give you a breakdown of the courses you need to undertake to fulfil your role. However, as a new representative you will only need to concentrate on the compulsory element of your training for the first twelve months after that you can undertake the majority of the courses advertised (this is subject to role and experience).  The amount of courses on offer are immense and we do suggest you only look at an average of 10 – 20 days training a year and that you build gradually over time so that you have an opportunity to embed the learning you have undertaken as well as develop further skills to complete follow on courses.

We try to ensure that everyone attending our courses does so in an atmosphere of support and inclusion, we would like you to be able to tell us if you have any personal needs we need to take into account when booking you on courses.  If you have specific requirements for childcare, access, language problems etc. please talk to us confidentially so we so we can try to overcome them for you.

After you have completed your 8 day induction course you will be given the opportunity to look at your future training needs with the Education officer, please discuss this with your full time officer/organiser on your review meeting.

n.b. All courses applied for (INCLUDING EXTERNAL ONES) must be sent via the education department for authorisation or expenses will not be paid.

What are Union Learning Reps?

Union Learning Reps (ULRs) are trade union approved Reps, who negotiate with the employer on issues concerning education and training. They also discuss education and training with members and training providers.

The GMB in the Birmingham and West Midlands Region wants to ensure that our members make the most of this wonderful opportunity that exists for lifelong learning. In doing so our Learner Representatives need support and guidance for them to achieve the best for their members in the workplace.

Union learning: an opportunity for all

Interested in helping others and developing yourself. If yes, then the role of a learning rep is for you.

What do learning reps do?

A union learning rep is a trained union member who promotes learning in her/his workplace.Union learning reps are involved in three main areas of activity:

  • promoting learning among union members in the workplace
  • working with the union
  • raising learning issues with your employer

As union learning rep you have an important role to play in finding out what learning opportunities are available in your workplace and locally and helping members to develop new skills.

Getting nominated as a learning rep

If you like the sound of becoming a GMB learning rep, please contact 0121 550 4888 and ask for the Education department for an application form.

Can I get financial help for further education?

There are a number of ways you can obtain funding.

If you are working AND studying in the evening or are attending a full-time course at college or university, you may be able to receive some financial support.

If you are pursuing your own course of study on either a part-time or full-time basis, or, if you have been accepted on a one-year full-time course e.g. at Ruskin, you may be eligible to apply for contributory funding to assist you. Members who are pursuing a variety of courses, both trade union related or otherwise e.g. NEBOSH, Counselling Skills or even a Phd have benefited.

To apply you will have to be enrolled and be attending your chosen course. You will need to complete a Scholarship application form and provide receipts for any expenditure that you have incurred towards your course and proof of your membership. Forms and further information are available from the Education Department.

We have received comments and letters from members expressing their appreciation and letting us know how they have progressed since receiving financial support from us. Here are some of them:

" with the financial support, I was able to complete my course and pass it with flying colours. The money was useful as it reimbursed me for the costs of my books."

" as a result of finishing my NEBOSH course, I have now been offered a full-time position in my company in a health and safety role."

" because I had to pay for the course myself at the beginning, by spring the following year, I was greatly surprised to receive a cheque which helped cover part of my course fees."

Don't delay - apply today!

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Additional Resources

Your Learning Journey

download pdf113Kb (pdf) -

Breakdown of your compulsory training and what you are to expect

GMB Course Application Form

download pdf102Kb (pdf) - 17 March 2015

In order to reduce course cancellations; please give this form to your employer to obtain permission prior to sending your course application form.


download pdf80Kb (pdf) - 18 May 2015

Expenses Information and Guidance Sheet.

GMB Expenses Form

download pdf82Kb (pdf) -

To claim for any expenses this form needs to be filled in

TUC Courses

download pdf1135Kb (pdf) -

Sept 2016 - July 2017

Learning Rep Role

download pdf229Kb (pdf) -

Training and your role as a union representative