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Learning representatives

Learning representatives

We have three types of workplace representatives with specific duties – learning representatives, stewards and health and safety representatives. We also have MSW advocates.

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

What do learning representatives 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 Role Definition

What do I need?

  • RCM full or MSW membership.
  • An interest in learning and development in the maternity workplace.
  • Motivation to assist your colleagues and the profession.
  • LR nomination form.

How do I become a learning representative?

Members at a branch or workplace meeting elect you, and you are then accredited by the RCM. Advice on the election process can be sought from the branch secretary, LR learning organiser or your regional/national officer.

Learning Representative Accreditation Form

Watch Aine Alam explain what she likes about being a learning representative

How will the RCM help me?

The RCM will do the following.

  • Give you access to a dedicated RCM learning organiser or Organiser (England, Wales and Scotland national office).
  • Provide dedicated training on an ongoing basis.
  • Assist in your professional development.
  • Provide support when required.
  • Offer specialist advice on learning.
  • Put you in contact with other RCM members who also act as LRs.
  • Give you access to regional/national officers for advice and support.

Learning representative training

LRs have the same rights under the Employment Act 2002 to have reasonable time off for carrying out their duties and to undertake training. As an 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
  • 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 on learning
  • 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
  • .Organise around learning

What would I be expected to do?

  • Support members to identify their learning and development needs.
  • Provide advice, information and guidance to members on learning.
  • Work with the employer and education providers to increase learning and development opportunities.
  • Support and promote lifelong learning in your workplace.
  • Organise local learning events.
  • Negotiate on learning issues.

The Learner form must be submitted to an LR learning organiser every time a LR engages with a member on learning issues whether it is providing information to them or capturing the details of individuals attending a learning event. Collecting this data will help LRs keep track of members' needs and learning and development issues. Details of individuals are not required.

What's in it for me?

  • Acquisition of easily transferable skills that will assist in your career development.
  • Gaining greater knowledge of the learning agenda within the NHS (Skills for Health).
  • Increased confidence and self-esteem.
  • The satisfaction of making a difference to members' working lives and helping others through learning.
  • Reasonable time off to carry out your LR duties and undertake training.
  • Supporting your RCM branch.
  • Helping to increase the knowledge and competence of the workforce, which can contribute to an improvement in maternity services.
  • Career development. 


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