Educate, Agitate, Organise!
Unite National Education Department
Community membership education programme
Since its inception, Unite Community has had education at its core and as a key driving force for growth and activism.
It was seen from the outset that education would enable and empower community members to develop their activism in relation to all areas of community action which were to be tackled. In relation to advocacy, street activism, campaigning, public speaking, design of materials and ability to use online methods of activism, education has assisted our members to strengthen their ability to undertake the issues faced in our communities and organise around those issues.
A range of specific customised education courses were built in order to accommodate the needs of community activists and that range of courses is always changing, growing and developing to meet new challenges. The education provision for Unite Community members has been sculpted with the aid of community coordinators working closely with the Unite National Education Department, with learning organisers and key tutors in our regions and nations and with our key activists.
The full range of specific Unite Community courses are listed below, followed by short descriptions of each event.
Community Activist training
Introduction to Unite in the community, looking at the concept of community membership, how it fits into the core values and principles of Unite and links to Industrial activism. The course examines why we launched community membership to provide a voice for those who felt voiceless. We also look at some of the successes of community activism and examine how those wins were achieved. We look at campaigning and organising and examine the key three pillar vision of Unite around organising, politics and internationalism, embedded in the cement of equality. Attendees should acquire a detailed understanding of Unite in the community and broad knowledge of Unite as the largest trade union in Britain and Ireland.
Our community initiative has been successful in recruiting almost 8700 members over the last two years however we need to look at growth in a more strategic manner and therefore this one day organising course has been designed to specifically look at community organising and how to recruit, activate and retain members.
Campaigning in workplace and community
This is a campaigning course which concentrates on how to build effective campaigns, identifying issues, testing those issues, and building wider support. The course looks at existing campaigns analyses a strategic approach to campaigning, considers campaign tactics and is largely skills based. Attendees should develop confidence in their ability to organise and run campaigns within their community.
This course is delivered over two days which would normally be a few days apart. Day one will concentrate on the theory of public speaking and address some of the anxieties people encounter when attempting to speak in public. The course uses video footage to illustrate the tips and techniques which are covered. Day two concentrates on the practice of speaking in public and the days in between are used to aid construction of a speech which is delivered on day two with positive critique from peers and the tutor. There is an opportunity if attendees wish, for the final speeches to be filmed. Attendees should feel more confident in the art of construction and delivery of speeches in public by the end of this course.
This course was inspired by community activists who wanted to hone in on their skills in debating. The course looks at debating skills and how to influence through argument. The course looks at a range of techniques in debate and has cross over skills to negotiation and public speaking. Attendees should probably have already attended the public speaking course or at least be confident public speakers. Attendees should feel more confident in engaging in debate.
Social media campaigning
This course is developed to equip people with new skills to develop social media profiles for their campaigns, in order to augment and amplify those campaigns. The emphasis is on building alliances through social media and widening their reach. The course will also examine setting up simple blogsites for branch organisation and exploring the positive aspects of social media for linking our industrial, political and community strands.
This course is designed to look at the quality of our communications in particular focussing on posters, leaflets and electronic communications used in a community setting. It examines drip feed campaigns and looks at techniques which can be used to highlight events and boost attendance.
This course is designed to tackle the issue of street campaigning, whether door to door, street stalls or surveys. The course looks at and develops the skills of engaging with people in their own environment and encouraging them to share issues with a view to recruiting them into campaigns and membership of Unite Community. The first day is focussed on the theoretical side of street campaigning, the second day, a few weeks later focusses on the practicalities and gets activists out on the streets actually campaigning and engaging with the public, the intervening weeks concentrate on building for day two with activists working in teams to build for day two.
Speak up speak out
This course looks at the art of advocacy by phone, in person, informally and in formal situations. The course is based around a series of case studies which test and debate these skills using housing, social security, disability, education, energy and fuel poverty as examples. The course is skills based and very practical
Community branch officials course
This is a condensed version of the standards branch officials/branch secretary course run over two to three days and concentrating upon the nature of community branches and how to structure and build these effectively
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to book you class!