Branches, through their officers, have responsibilities to… provide opportunities for the education of members and the development of activists
UNISON Code of Good Branch Practice
The role of the branch education co-ordinator is a crucial one in ensuring that activists are trained and confident to respond to challenges.
A branch education co-ordinator will work closely with the lifelong learning co-ordinator and the other branch officers, and will help to support and develop reps by:
keeping track of the training needs of workplace representatives (including stewards, contacts, health and safety, learning, and equality reps). It’s important so that reps can be encouraged to attend necessary training, and to ensure that stewards have the necessary Employment Rights Act (ERA) accreditation. The branch education co-ordinator will also keep confidential records of completed Trained and Active plan forms, and might also work through the form with new reps.
supporting new reps by making sure that each new rep has a ‘named contact’ – a buddy or mentor who will have a chat with them regularly to find out what training and support they might need, to ensure that they have opportunities to practise their new skills, and to catch up on how their role is progressing.
having regular catch-ups with existing reps. Branch education co-ordinators arrange for regular catch-ups with existing workplace reps over a period of time, especially where they have not been active in the past, or have recently completed training courses. The aim is for all reps to have the opportunity for a twice yearly catch up with a named contact, who could be the branch education co-ordinator or a trained mentor.
contributing to the joint branch assessment. The education co-ordinator is one of the branch officers who will work with the regional organiser to complete the branch’s annual assessment and branch plans. Together, they will put steps in place to carry out the follow up activity, which will address some of the key steps in supporting and developing activists.
promoting member learning. The branch education co-ordinator will work with the lifelong learning co-ordinator and keep the branch up to date on learning opportunities for members.
addressing local learning needs by liaising with their regional organiser or regional education officer about flexible branch-based learning to help with particular issues.
Photograph © Jess Hurd/reportdigital.co.uk