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Learning Representatives

From August 2013, funding for apprenticeships for people aged 24 and over will change.  The Government will no longer pay half of the individual’s tuition (college) costs and they will be the responsibility of the individual (employers must still pay a minimum of 50%). Individuals can support their study via the new 24+ Advanced Learning Loans, which they repay incrementally once they earn over £21,000.

For further information about apprenticeships, the RCM has produced a guidebook and toolkit (covers all four UK nations),
which can be downloaded here. Further details on the funding of apprenticeships is available from the Skills Funding Agency at skillsfundingagency.bis.gov.uk. Unionlearn has also produced detailed information regarding the 24+ Advanced Learning Loan, which is available on its website: www.unionlearn.org.uk.

The RCM has successfully won funding from the Scottish Union Learning Development Fund and the Wales Union Learning Fund to deliver learning opportunities through the LR project in both Wales and Scotland.

The Wales Union Learning Fund will instigate a 3 year project for members in Wales, starting in April 2013. The project aims to support Midwives and MSWs to access lifelong learning opportunities, support essential skills in the workplace and promote access to Welsh language courses. The project will work with partners, local health boards and the National Leadership and Innovation Agency for Health (NLIAH) to promote, engage and deliver over 300 learning opportunities. The project will allow the RCM to continue to build its network of learning representatives (LRs) and provide dedicated support to LRs  in Wales.

The LR Project in Scotland, has also successfully secured funding for 2013-2014. The funding will support the RCM in our drive to promote and improve access to lifelong learning opportunities for members in Scotland. The learning opportunities provided to date range include the holding of a Bereavement Conference, a CV writing workshop and courses on time and stress management. Both sets of funding will compliment the learning offer already provided through the England Union Learning project.

Learning Representatives (LRs) are workplace representatives who assist and advise other members on their training and development needs and promote opportunities to access learning.

Like stewards and health & safety representatives, LRs are elected by fellow members in a Branch or workplace and accredited by the RCM. They have the same rights under the Employment Act 2002 to have reasonable time off for carrying out their duties and to undertake training. LRs have been part of the RCM workplace reps family for the last 4 years. The RCM has been granted funding from the Union Learning Fund to recruit and train RCM Learning Representatives to increase learning opportunities for RCM members.
Our objective is to recruit a LR in every maternity workplace. Could it be you?’
What do LRs do?

The role of LRs will vary from workplace to workplace, but could cover the following:

  • Explaining and promoting the benefits of learning to colleagues and employers

  • Signposting colleagues to learning opportunities both professional and personal

  • Being involved in conducting a learning needs questionnaire

  • Organising learning and development events

  • Raising awareness on functional skills and assisting members to address these

  • Raising awareness of lifelong learning issues

  • Working with members on the Knowledge and Skills Framework (KSF)

  • Promoting the value of informal learning

  • Liaising with management on furthering the learning agenda for Midwives and MSWs/MCAs by identifying and articulating the workplace learning needs of members

  • Identifying opportunities for joint working with other NHS trade unions for example around the development of a local collective learning agreement or sharing examples of good practice

  • Raising awareness of learning or training opportunities provided by the employer and external providers

  • Being a resource for members by providing information, advice and guidance

  • Encouraging members to become more active at local Branch level through learning

LR Training

As a LR you are entitled to paid time off to undertake training to fulfil your role. All LRs will need to complete the RCM LR introductory training course so that they gain the skills and knowledge they will need to carry out their role. These are offered through flexible formats, in order to accommodate learning style preference and personal commitments.

The training will assist you to:

  • Develop your skills and knowledge about the role of LRs

  • Build contacts within the RCM and with outside organisations

  • Find out what the RCM policies are around learning & development

  • Integrate learning and skills in wider RCM activities and structures  

  • Promote the value of learning and skills within the workplace

  • Identify RCM members learning needs

  • Support RCM members in managing their own learning

  • Represent the interests of RCM members

  • Use a systematic approach to problem solving

  • Develop a learning strategy incorporating equality for all

  • Work with other reps on learning issues

  • Work with your employer to develop learning opportunities

  • Collect and record information

  • Find out about Government policies and programmes for learning and skills

For more information about becoming a LR or the LR Project please contact one of the Learning Organiser  on 0300 303 0444 or via email at


Find out more

The RCM's learning rep learning organiser Imogen Fleury talks about the RCM's LR project and the role of the LR.


ULR Poster

  • Become a LR - Find out what you need to become a LR, the benefits and how to apply

  • Contact the LR team - find out who covers your area and speak to one of the team for further information

  • Further information - Download Lifelearn, the quarterly newsletter and view other useful links

  • LR training - see up & coming training days

  • LR Toolkit - find helpful documents and resources