Summer School

Usdaw runs two Summer Schools every year. These eight-day residential courses are held at Wortley Hall near Barnsley in Yorkshire during September.

First Series Summer School

First Series Summer School is open to all members – though it is predominantly aimed at reps - and provides the opportunity for activists to learn more about their role, how the Union operates on a local, divisional and national level and meet other like-minded reps from different companies and from across the UK.

Watch more of our Summer School videos.
Delegates work in small groups, liaise closely with their tutor, and the week is run in a supportive, friendly and informal manner. Those who have been to Summer School always say it deepened their knowledge, boosted their confidence and improved their communication skills.

The course has a broad agenda that, amongst other things, looks at:

  • The role and function of trade unions
  • Organising the workplace
  • Presentation skills
  • Equality

Second Series Summer School

Second Series Summer School is open to more experienced reps who have been to First Series Summer School or completed the Academy1 and/or Academy 2 programme.  Previous Health & Safety training is required to be eligible for the Health & Safety Seminar Group.

Watch more of our Summer School videos.

Reps choose one of four subjects to study during the week, these are: Politics and Organising, Women and Organising, Trade Unions and Organising, and Health & Safety and Organising.

Politics and Organising
This is primarily concerned with the links between the Union's industrial objectives and political activity. It aims to help Union activists consider how workplace campaigning activity can be extended into the political arena and how Usdaw can exert an influence on the Labour Party and its policies. It is primarily aimed at members developing an interest in political activity.
Women and Organising This aims to equip activists with the knowledge and skills needed to build women's involvement in Union activity in the workplace. It will give an opportunity to share experience on the problems women face at work such as part-time working, fair pay, maternity rights, sexual harassment and domestic violence. It aims to look at how tackling these problems can assist recruiting and organising women workers. It also aims to help Union activists understand the role of the Divisional and National Equality Forums in Usdaw.
Trade Unions and Organising This course aims to develop activists' campaigning skills and understanding of Usdaw's organising strategy.  Starting from our understanding of what Usdaw means by Organising, it will explore different models from the USA and from other unions. It will examine important events and disputes in trade union history and look at what lessons can be learned from these about organising. The course will look at how and why trade unions organise internationally, and discuss some international projects that Usdaw is involved in. The course aims to help activists improve their campaigning skills and to build Union organisation in their own workplaces.
Health & Safety and Organising This aims to equip activists with the knowledge and skills needed to make their workplaces safer for their members. It will give an opportunity to share experience on the problems members face at work. The course will look at issues such as risk assessments, workplace inspections, health and safety legislation and excessive working hours. It aims to look at how health and safety can be used to organise and recruit workers.

Reps also run a campaign day in a nearby town.

For both schools the Union provides accommodation, food, and transport costs.

Branches receive information and application forms in January regarding the Schools, and applications must be submitted to the Divisional Officer by approximately mid April (full details on the letter to branches). Nominations go before the Executive Council at their June meeting.

For further information complete our form.



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