The GMB union, North West & Irish Region, have a dedicated education department who design and run courses throughout the region. These courses are trade union specific, developing our GMB union reps/Health & Safety representatives, so they can make a positive impact on the working conditions of their workplaces. Tutor Paul Holleran is supported by Julie Dowling who has vast experience in the training field, based in the regional office, Bill Smith House in Liverpool.

Did you know? The Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 section 168 and the Safety Representatives & Safety Committee Regulations 1977 give accredited union and safety representatives a legal right to reasonable time off with pay to attend courses approved. 


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The GMB union induction course has been designed to help new reps hit the ground running. It is run for five days over one week and targets the needs of the new rep, identifying specific problems and exploring ways of coming up with solutions.

Learning about the role of the GMB union rep is an essential introduction to our unique ways of training. It will forge your attitude and provide you with a wide range of knowledge and resources enabling you to carry out your responsibilities with confidence.

It is also essential for new reps to understand the importance and legal protection provided for someone in the dual role as a shop steward and health and safety rep.

Health and safety make up a large proportion of the demands on our reps and we try and cover as many relevant areas as possible within the induction course. The content looks at the legal duty and need for employers to carry out risk assessments on the physical and mental health hazards in the workplace.

We also explore the legal issues of your rights to inspect the workplace, show how risk assessments should be carried out, provide you with guidance on how to demand relevant information, provide support in setting up formal health and safety committees that are genuine conduits for trade union activity.

All of these activities are great tools for our reps going forward.

Our course also engages in role playing in negotiating scenarios, improving your ability to communicate and represent members. It is a practical introduction to employment and health and safety laws but specifically looks to help you find solutions to your problems at work.


These two day courses are designed around issues and subjects covered on the induction but take the debate and tactics to a higher level.

Bullying and Harassment – provides legal studies and practical strategies for tackling a major problem in many workplaces. This two day course explores tactics and policies to remove what can be a constant source of stress and mental health problems in the workplace.

Tackling Stress and Mental Health in the Workplace - is a two day non-stop awareness course where we go through a practical workbook of activities and powerpoint exploration of the causes and implications of not tackling stress at work. This is not a mental health first aid course but a real approach towards preventing stress and mental health, through tackling issues like bullying, poor staffing levels, punitive absence management and capability policies as well as just plain old bad management.

We have merged the Employment Law course and the Grievance & Disciplinary two day session. There is a clear cross over and we look at case law in relation to the problems facing our reps around grievance and disciplinary procedures.

Health and Safety and Risk Assessment is a three day course which goes into more detail of how risk assessments should work and the different methods used. We also highlight the need for employers to carry out risk assessments for physical and mental risks and hazards. The use of surveys and specific workplace inspections is part of the course which will take reps onto a higher level of activity.

Half of the GMB union membership is female and our unique Gender Sensitive Health and Safety course is designed to show how little the legislation is directed towards anyone who isn’t an average man. The issues facing our members and the reps that have to represent women, who maybe being discriminated against are many. Whether it is PMT or the Menopause and the physical and mental implications of these conditions it is essential our reps are aware of the conditions and a strategy of how to tackle this at work.

Politics—This one-day workshop is for trade union activists who wish to become actively involved in politics and the Labour party, and also looks at the National and Regional structures.

Confidence for Negotiation this 2-day course will enhance the skills of reps who are likely to have responsibilities for negotiations and putting agreements in place. This will also enhance their confidence when dealing with management. Improving communication skills, utilising different means and methods that are available.

Following the Induction course, we offer all reps the opportunity to improve or update their skills and knowledge on a series of advanced courses. These include: Employment Law; Grievance and Disciplinary; Health & Safety Risk Assessments; Gender Sensitive H&S; Tackling Mental Health and Stress at Work; Bullying & Harassment; Hidden Disabilities. These subjects can be merged into specific courses depending on the needs of the reps attending.

The courses are supported and backed up with health & safety advice and practical representation by the regional health and safety officer when required.

See the dates below and book as soon as possible as demands are growing with the popularity of the courses expanding dramatically.

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