One evening earlier this fall, more than 40 members crowded into our Lower Mainland Area Office. This meeting wasn’t a typical union gathering, however. Instead, these members – many coming to their union office for the very first time – were attending a workshop on how to make paper flowers.
Organized by local 1703 executive member Megan Washington and sponsored by the cross component committee, the evening brought members together and gave them a new way of connecting with each other and our union. Appealing to our diverse members’ many interests – including personal development and general topics – is one of the ways your union plans to deepen its engagement with you.
One new opportunity I am particularly excited about is for members with diverse talents and skills to share their expertise with others by leading workshops. Maybe you’re talented and passionate about something like Indian cooking or repairing bicycles. You could share your skills with others.
Work-supporting and career-building training is also an area that will be explored. As employers cut back on professional development, you can count on your union to step in and support members in their careers. We’ve started by offering FoodSafe and first aid courses and are currently surveying components to determine their priorities for professional development.
Our leadership training – everything from steward to senior leaders – is undergoing a rethink. With a focus on enriching soft and intuitive skills, we’re aiming to enhance leadership development in workplaces, our communities and in the union. Using a model of a ladder of engagement, we will offer our activists a pathway from foundation courses to intermediate and advanced offerings.
We are embarking on this exciting renewal of our education programme at a critical time. Stepping up activists’ training while also cultivating commitment among all members will lay a strong foundation. This foundation is critical as we head toward a provincial election next year and to major sectoral bargaining in 2019.
I can promise you that your union plans to roll out the very best in learning for your everyday lives, for work, and for leadership. I am looking forward to growing and learning together.