University and College Union (UCU) | Education Support
Coronavirus update: We continue to be here to provide mental health and wellbeing support to all education staff.

University and College Union (UCU)

The University and College Union (UCU) represents over 110,000 academics, lecturers, trainers, instructors, researchers, managers, administrators, computer staff, librarians and postgraduates in universities, colleges, prisons, adult education and training organisations across the UK. UCU Reps work with us to ensure their members receive the best possible support and advice available.  

Complementing the trade union support UCU gives to its members, Education Support Partnership offers a free 24/7 telephone helpline and online support to all staff working in adult, further, higher and prison education. All services are free and completely confidential. When Recourse merged with Teacher Support Partnership and Worklife Support just over a year ago, we became the only charity supporting anyone working in education.

Being a UCU Union Rep

As a UCU Union Rep, you may find that people seek advice and support with which you could do with some back-up. Perhaps this is information about benefit entitlements, perhaps it is advice on how to approach a difficult conversation with a manager or colleague, or maybe it’s a shoulder to cry on for a member in distress.

While you may not mind going above and beyond every once and awhile, it may be helpful to know that there is other support out there. By referring people to Education Support Partnership, you can ensure that your members get the best possible support when they are most in need.

There are many ways that UCU members can access our services. Please see our Helping You page to find more information about our telephone support and counselling, online support and live chat, financial grants and the Training and Development fund.

The top issues we are contacted about are:

  • Working conditions: workload, redundancy, allegations and returning to work
  • Money: budgeting, making the most of your money, and dealing with debt
  • Personal issues: bereavement, relationship problems and communication
  • Careers: finding a job, part-time working and retirement


You can refer your members to our helpline on 08000 562 561 where they will reach our trained coaches and counsellors. The helpline is free, confidential and available 24/7.

In addition, we have a dedicated service for UCU members - a Sexual Harassment Helpline which any UCU member can reach on 0800 138 8724.  The helpline is also free, confidential and available 24/7.  Our trained counsellors are on hand to talk through any concerns you are having around sexual harassment in the workplace and provide details of further support services should you require them.

Promotional materials

You can also order our free materials including our popular guides and helpline posters, to go to your branch office or staffroom. You can download materials through our website.

Latest news

UCU Congress
We loved meeting many of you at Congress back in May. Our guides and famous stress apples were very popular! Chris, an engineering lecturer, kindly shared his story with us. 

We were delighted to be chosen as the charity partner for this year’s Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards! It was an amazing night celebrating the hard work of higher education teams and our film highlighting the challenges faced by HE staff was a huge success. Please watch and share with your colleagues.

Education Supporter Magazine
Our new supporter magazine includes an interview with Dr Steve Sangwine, UCU treasurer and Senior Lecturer at the University of Essex.

Life as a prison educator
Prison educator, Stephen Boyce, talks about the specific and unique pressures experienced by education staff working in prisons.

UCU staff wellbeing
We greatly value our partnership with UCU and recently spoke to Charles Elford, Head of Personnel, about the wellbeing initiatives the union has been putting in place for their own staff.