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Federation’s mantra that recruitment of members is everybody’s responsibility falls a little more heavily on the shoulders of the union’s Project Officers. Federation has been growing strongly over the past few years, reaching 60,000 members in 2017.
Semester 1 Project Officer Hope Atkins has found the work they do on the ground is definitely paying off as new members are signed up daily.
“New graduates and teachers in schools alike have been really receptive,” she said. “We have a lot of conversations about how great our beginning teacher courses are, Federation's structure and the benefits of membership.”
One of her three colleagues, Phil Baker, said he was loving every moment of the challenge. “Many of the teachers we are talking to are in their first few years of teaching,” he said. “They are wanting to know what Federation does, what it stands for and the benefits of joining our cause.”
With Paul Simmons and Kate Harland, the Project Officers have been busy visiting schools across the Sydney basin and beyond, spreading the word and listening to staffroom concerns.
Kate said the main issue raised was workload. "Although our role is primarily member recruitment we still have lots of conversations around workload.”
Phil said every day in the job is unique. “Over the past few years, I have really enjoyed becoming more active in Federation and I have seen how much other people have developed their understanding of our union by being immersed in the role; I wanted to take up the challenge too.”
For those considering applying to be a Project Officer, Hope said the rewards are tangible. “Be prepared for some big days, but some big rewards,” she said. “It is definitely a great immersion into union officer life, and a chance to work as a team in a really unique way.”