Advanced Fed Rep training refreshes skills and knowledge

Mel Smith
Trade Union Training Officer

Mel Smith works with teachers undertaking the Communicating and Negotiating course run by Trade Union Training

While many members are aware that Federation conducts courses for new Federation Representatives and Women’s Contacts, not as many are aware that Trade Union Training (TUT) also conducts a course to further develop communication skills for these office bearers.

Recently, more experienced Fed Reps and Women’s Contacts attended the Communicating and Negotiating course to develop skills relevant to their workplace roles, including public speaking, defining issues and negotiating solutions, communicating assertively and managing conflict, and using web-based and media technologies for research and communication.

Women’s Contact Jo Sheppard said she would highly recommend the three-day course to others.

“I will definitely be using and sharing the stages of negotiation amongst staff when I return to school, and role-playing scenarios enabled us the opportunity to put into practice skills to deal with difficult problems brought to us by members,” she said.

During the course, participants apply their local context to learn how they can effectively communicate Federation campaigns and practice negotiating a resolution of workplace issues. Some practical application of scenarios are conducted through role plays, and participants further develop their knowledge of the resolution of individual issues.

Hearing first-hand from a Senior Officer also made an impression on participants. Ms Sheppard said: “President Maurie Mulheron included campaign updates on Gonski and the School Resource Standard. The shocking reality is only 20 per cent of funding goes to public schools and 80 per cent to Catholic, private and independent schools. Maurie also detailed ACARA’s push to have NAPLAN online and noted the concerns of automated marking.

"I will be going back to school and my local association to encourage teacher colleagues to make a submission via Federation’s NAPLAN Hotline, including any computer issues.”

The Communicating and Negotiating for Fed Reps and Women’s Contacts course is conducted once a term, and participants must have successfully completed Fundamentals for Fed Reps and Women’s Contacts or the Women’s Fundamentals course prior to registration.

The support and skill development that members report from engaging in Trade Union Training can be a significant factor in developing confidence and competence as an effective office bearer locally, either at association or in the workplace.

Visit Federation’s website ( to discover the range of courses and seminars available to members, and to register.