About GFTU Education Courses

Many of our courses are usually residential and are held at our own hotel and training centre, the Quorn Grange Hotel which is near Loughborough in Leicestershire. Courses run in a variety of formats throughout the year.

The GFTU Educational Trust offers a range of services for affiliated unions;

  • these include a wide range of generic courses and customised courses
  • courses go from one day seminars through weekend courses to one-week courses
  • most courses are fully accredited
  • the Trust works closely with a number of partner organisations 
  • the Trust also has a series of grants and scholarships to assist on a number of specialised courses
  • there is a ladder of courses from basic introductory up to full-time degree level available through the Trust

The GFTU Educational Trust continues developing a radical new approach to the training offered to trade union reps via our programmes.

In addition to this we will also be offering a series of International Trade Union seminars around the country and other complimentary learning events which will be advertised separately. Please contact Georgia Wilkinson via georgiaw@gftu.org.uk if you'd like to be added to our mailing lists.


Unless stated all GFTU courses are accredited by NOCN. This means that all students regardless of educational ability will be able to gain credit for the work done on the course. Your tutors will explain these issues in more detail on the course.

Additionally learners going on the Mentoring courses or the Trade Union Management programme will be able to access Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) qualifications.

Length of courses

The duration of our courses varies and will be published in promotional material.  

Paid time off is normally available for Safety Reps, Shop Stewards and Union Learning Reps who are attending a union approved course. If you have any problems or questions about your rights to paid time off for training ring Ian Richards on 01509 410867, alternatively refer to the ACAS code of practice 3, time off for trade union duties and activities.

How to apply

To apply for a place a course, you should complete a course nomination form.

You can download an application form here.

Please note.
If nomination forms are not signed by your General Secretary or appropriate official, they will be returned to your union for completion. Applications for all GFTU courses and events must be endorsed by your union.

We do not operate a “first come, first served” approach to allocation of course places: all selections are done on merit. You will be advised if you have been successful or not in being awarded a place a few days after the closing date and not before.

Always remember to quote the course number and title.

You may be entitled to have paid release from work to attend a course. Recognised workplace representatives have a legal right to attend union approved courses. If you require any further information about this, please contact a member of staff at the GFTU or your local union officer.

Course fees and expenses

All of the GFTU core programme of courses and seminars are free to participants who are members of affiliated trade unions. If you are a member of a trade union not affiliated to the GFTU, a charge will be applied per student course for 2 day or weekend courses. See the GFTU website to see if your union is affiliated.

For members of affiliated trade unions, accommodation, travel, meals and all accreditation fees are paid for by the GFTU Educational Trust for all courses in this programme.

Travelling expenses

The GFTU Educational Trust in accordance with the current Trust policy pays travelling expenses for all residential courses unless the expenses are paid by the learners own union.

For students who are travelling by train, students are required to purchase their ticket in advance and claim back the rail fare on production of tickets or receipts. This can be done straight after purchase or at the course. Payments will be made as quickly as possible to avoid hardship. Please contact the Education Administrator via markr@gftu.org.uk if you are unable to do this.

Students where possible will be expected to use public transport. If a taxi is used between the railway station and the venue, fares will only be reimbursed on production of receipts.

We do not pay taxi fares between your home and the station.

For those students who choose to travel to the course by car, a cheque will be sent after the completion of the course for mileage (subject to verification by computer software). Please note the mileage rate is 20p per mile.

Whilst the GFTU endeavours to keep any costs to students to a minimum we are not responsible for any parking costs at an airport or station.

For those travelling from either Northern Ireland or Republic of Ireland, flights will be arranged by GFTU staff a minimum of 2 weeks prior to the course upon confirmation of acceptance.

Under a separate agreement, members from our International affiliate CCISUA are responsible for their own airfares and the GFTU will provide travel costs to cover from the UK airport to the venue and return.

For those students who are travelling long distances (excluding those covered by the above paragraphs) and who wish to fly to the course may do so, however they are responsible for making their own flight bookings and will only be reimbursed for standard class saver rail travel or the flight cost (whichever is less) on production of receipts.

Travel costs to and from airports are not normally payable.

The GFTU ET reserves the right to alter its policy on travel expenses and the method of payment of expenses at any time.

Procedure for non-attendance

On receipt of the acceptance on course pack all students must notify the GFTU office either by post, email or telephone within 7 working days whether or not they are able to attend the course. Any student who has not responded within this time will be removed from the student list. If you have been unable to respond you can contact the GFTU to be re-instated.

All students who have accepted a place on the course and whose circumstances change must notify the GFTU as soon as possible to ensure that the GFTU has time to notify the venue in advance of the cancellation.

GFTU fully accepts that on certain occasions it is necessary to cancel a course place at very short notice and will try to minimise any costs incurred, but if a student cancels within a week of the course more than 3 times without a valid reason, they will not be awarded places on future GFTU courses and/or they will be charged at full cost for the cancellation. Their unions will also be notified.

In the event of students failing to turn up for the course without notifying the GFTU they will be charged for the full cost of that failure to attend and their unions informed of this matter. Should the student fail to pay this sum the matter will be passed to their union and/or the GFTU executive for consideration.

Bringing a guest

If you wish, you can bring a guest or partner with you to the course but you are responsible for all additional costs including travel and any room supplement. This is usually only available in our hotel venue. The GFTU does its best to minimise the costs of bringing a guest but cannot, under any circumstances, be held responsible for any of the costs (including rooms) incurred by a delegate’s guest.

Please contact Quorn Grange Hotel for prices via mail@quorngrangehotel.co.uk.

All guest bookings should be made through the Education Administrator via markr@gftu.org.uk or 01509410978. 

Bringing your dog

Quorn Grange Hotel has now allocated some bedrooms for guests to stay with their dog. If you have a well behaved pooch that you would like to bring you can now do so. You will have to pay a small supplement at the hotel on departure. Please note dogs are not allowed in the training room (except guide dogs).

Help and Advice

If you need any advice or information on any aspect of the Trust’s activities, please contact the GFTU office:

General Federation of Trade Unions National Office 
86 Wood Lane
LE12 8DB

Telephone: 01509 410 978
E-mail: markr@gftu.org.uk