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Campaign skills sharpened at National AEU New Educator Conference
Common challenges and aims fostered new connections and bonds at the AEU National New Educators Conference in Adelaide on 28-29 October.
Ashleigh Saunders was among a group of new educators from NSW who travelled to the conference, and she valued the interstate connections as they highlighted common bonds and aims. “I had amazing chats with educators from contexts ranging from remote Northern Territory to inner city Melbourne. We operate in different systems and have different challenges but the shared passion we early career teachers have in delivering a high quality public education for all students caused an instant bond.”
The conference provided an excellent opportunity for collaboration with new educator activists in other state unions, as well as developing activism skills and knowledge about our common union campaigns.
Keynote speakers Correna Haythorpe (AEU Federal President) and Michele O’Neill (ACTU President) spoke to participants about the strong connection teachers have with their communities and how these ties are helpful to support campaigns. Parallels were drawn between the Change the Rules and Fair Funding Now! campaigns, as the aim of both is to fix broken systems to create a fairer go for all, especially the disadvantaged.
Delegates developed skills in relation to recruitment by considering the significant gains made by teacher unions and how to utilise these gains to motivate others to become members.
Participants also built further campaigning skills in workshops including how to reach, organise and strategise to influence decision makers. Various strategies and approaches were reinforced by guest speaker, Victorian Trades Hall Assistant Secretary Wil Stracke. Participants at the social media workshop considered how they can assist and promote campaigns online.Federation member Hope Atkins said: “I particularly like the focus on getting involved in grassroots campaigns in person and on social media. It left me inspired to do something and made me feel that others would be involved across the country as well.”
Mel Smith, Trade Union Training Officer