According to Unions WA, union numbers are in a decline so it is vital for our organisation to engage various strategies to recruit and retain members.
The Growth Team Project is one such initiative that is being trialed.
It is a two year recruitment project.
The Growth Team consists of a manager and two project officers. Their focus has been on new educators and students engaged in pre-service education courses.
The Growth Team, after reaching full complement at the commencement of Term 2, 2011, have taken responsibility for the union presence and presentation at the graduate modules and have worked in universities with pre-service education students.
Both of these activities have freed up organisers, allowing them to focus their energies in other areas.
In addition, the Growth Team has participated in a number of other union activities such as blitzes, campaigning and school visits just to name a few.
So how is this project going you may ask?
According to Member Assist, recruitment figures that are directly attributed to the Growth Team are just over 200 new educators and over 770 student members.
Although this team set themselves a target of 300 new educators over the course of 2011, to have achieved just over 200 new members until November, is very pleasing indeed.
They have also worked continuously on locating graduating students from 2010.
This has happened through a variety of different methods such as a direct mail out, phone calls and school visits.
Recruitment numbers are just one area of focus. The ability to recruit is another area to consider.
With this in mind, the NEN group (New Educator Network) was established and has been growing in numbers throughout this year.
This initiative has been adopted and modelled on the NSW system.
Each NEN is a new educator in their first 5 years of teaching.
These NEN members have been identified through a variety of different activities. This group of new leaders will be looked upon to grow our union into the future.
This NEN group has been involved in a number of different activities such as a re-write of support materials for new educators, participating in on-line chat sessions which take place every Monday afternoon, recruitment of other new educators through the newly established facebook site and working on establishing their own new educator networks through their districts, after having been set challenges for recruitment.
The NEN group meets formally once per term.
The NEN group is certainly gathering traction with such a highly energised and focused group of beginning teachers. It is amazing to witness this group in action as they create new initiatives and ideas..
As the 2011 year is drawing to a close, the Growth Project Team members will be moving on. Thanks must go to Project Manager, Mr David Kelly and the two Project Officers, Sally Dennis and Robyn Newman for all their hard work and dedication to this trial program.
Membership growth is fundamental to any union so I add one final thought. If our union is to grow and survive into the future, we cannot afford to do what we have always done.
We find ourselves in a challenging and changing environment and it is vital for us to move with the times.
We are in the midst of a generational shift and it is this new generation of teachers that will lead our organisation into the future.
There are currently approximately 3500 new educators who are union members.
It is so important that we foster this next generation and get them engaged.
The Growth Project Team is certainly working hard to do this.