Women make up over two thirds of workers delivering public services and make up 76% of UNISON membership, yet a disproportionate number of women across the public sector are in low-paid, part-time, often insecure (zero hours contracts) and undervalued work. Like many organisations UNISON reflects the society we live in which sadly is still one where women face discrimination in society and at work which can then lead to exclusion from employment and education opportunities.
One way that UNISON helps is by providing access to quality training for members and activists. In addition to UNISON South East Education Programme is the Women’s Officer Passport which offers a full training suite of courses for women who are just starting out in UNISON to advanced courses that will assist the most experienced women activists in their union roles. You can find out more information about the regional education programme and the women’s officer passport on the South East website – here
UNISON’s low-paid or part-time women members across the South East wishing to take up study at their own expense can now access a new ‘education bursary’ which is a scheme designed to help with the financial cost of studying. Launched now in time for new autumn term, information about the bursary can be found on the regional website and/or you can request to be sent information and an application form. There are two grants available, 1) a grant of £150.00 per year for a maximum of three years for a shorter courses for example, skills based courses, GCSE’s, A Levels undertaken at further education colleges and 2) a grant £1,000.00 per year for a maximum of three years to support women undertaking Trade Union or Labour Movement studies which could include a degree, diploma or MA level studies at a recognised university (including Open University).
This opportunity is provided by the former Regional Secretary Phil Wood who retired in 2015. He was adamant that the funding bequeathed by him for the bursary should be used exclusively for low-paid women members and the South East is proud to be able to offer low-paid women members this opportunity. Many of our women members have benefited from the excellent training opportunities that UNISON offers but this new learning bursary goes one step further and provides exclusive opportunities for low-paid women members. To find our more please you can download a copy of the bursary application form or contact Fiona Roberts, Regional Women’s Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01273 544039