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A Hectic Month for Teaching Union Recruitment


As my fellow teaching union colleagues will agree, September is possibly the most hectic month of the year. It is great to see that each year the three main teaching unions, ATL, NASUWT and NUT, are invited to universities and teacher training providers across the country to recruit new student teachers into our unions. Importantly, all three of the unions offer membership to these new teachers for completely nothingĀ - in my opinion this gives a strong sense that we are not interested in giving the ‘hard sell’ to get cash and that the most important thing is that they join a trade union.

In my experience this September, the three teaching unions collaborate during this time to ensure all are represented at each training provider and whoever talks about why the new teachers need to be a member of a trade union emphasises the importance of joining all three of the unions whilst they are free.

Thinking as an Academy Organiser, I find this opens up fantastic opportunities – it basically sets a challenge for us to ensure we do enough work to encourage those students that when it comes to upgrading membership to paying for it they will choose us over other unions. I relish this challenge and am really looking forward to running training and networking events for these members.

Probably the best part of this recruitment period is having the opportunity to talk to (generally) young professionals about trade unionism… in my experience, the majority of new student teachers have never heard of a union and don’t have a clue what we do – those who do sometimes have a blurred vision of “unions, aren’t they just groups of people whinging and going on strike?” The opportunities to start the ‘Organising Talk’ are great and you can even start identifying potential activists and future leaders from the start.

Although it feels like I haven’t stopped this month and that my garage has never seen so many boxes (full of “goody bags” for students), I wouldn’t have changed the experience at all.

© Trades Union Congress 2007