What is a Union Learning Representative?

A Union Learning Representative (ULR) is a trade union rep who promotes learning and training in the workplace on behalf of the entire staff base, regardless of union membership.


Napo has a long tradition of promoting learning both in the provision of good standard trade union skills training opportunities and relevant training for paid staff in the Community Justice Sector. The main focus of Napo's learning and skills strategy is to negotiate access to quality learning opportunities for all workers in the National Probation Service (NPS) and CAFCASS regardless of grade, age, race, gender, sexual orientation and educational background. Napo's objective is to ensure that there is fairness and equality of opportunity in the way that workers access learning and other development opportunities, and ensure that workers are given the time, support and encouragement to learn and develop.

The work of ULR's is crucial to Napo's vision of giving all staff the opportunity to learn and develop the skills they need in a modern and changing workplace. ULRs are still a relatively new type of union activist (established for 10 years), but they are seen as the driving force of union-led learning. ULRs are trained to advise staff about educational opportunities that match their needs and aspirations, and to work with employers and training providers to provide such opportunties.

OFSTED have stated that "ULRs provide outstanding peer support as mentors, advocates, negotiators, role models and advisors". They have also commented that "employers benefit from these partnerships, with improved staff morale, reduced sick leave and staff turnover, fewer complaints and grievances, and higher rates of internal promotion".


Napo has trained 142 ULRs since the commencement of the ULF project. To see a list of current active ULRs, please click on the ULR tab above and look for your area. If there is not a ULR listed for your area, then please consider whether or not YOU would be able to undertake the role. If you are interested in becoming a ULR, please read through the material contained in these pages and contact a member of the ULF team if you still have unanswered questions. We look forward to hearing from you!