Improvements in employer professional development needed

The Union’s enews for support staff, Gaining Ground, is certainly living up to its name. The article Building Employees Skills Capacity was particularly informative.

Our constant cry has been for greater professional development for learning support, particularly for classroom support and the multiplicity of complexities within clerical roles.

This article reflects a national employer need for improved professional development for school support staff. The IEUA NSW/ACT Branch and education unions, through member development programs, are successfully raising the profile and confidence of support staff. Australian trade unions are taking a stand internationally in offering professional development opportunities exclusively to support staff.

To expand on this, our President Chris Wilkinson, attended the Education International World Women’s Conference in February of this year, where this and other issues affecting school support staff were discussed. The most significant issue was the lack of stability in these roles. A majority of these positions were not full time – most were part time.

There is a growing trend of outsourcing some roles. Hope it doesn’t catch on here! This action ignores the fact that support staff are the life blood of schools and often the most stable group of workers – if given the opportunity of regular employment. Student success is reflective of a successful teaching team and quality education is enabled by quality support.

Some major challenges identified at the conference were:

lack of recognition of qualifications support staff have

lack of support to gain qualifications

just keeping a job, and

relevant professional development.

Sound familiar? We are not alone!

Support Staff Advisory Committee

Ever thought of joining the IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Support Staff Advisory Committee? We are calling for nominations. It is not an arduous team to belong to. Central to our meetings are discussions around ongoing professional development and improved strategies for school support staff, along with celebrating our successes.

The team is inclusive and all are treated equitably, irrespective of age, gender, cultural background and differing abilities.

I would sincerely like to thank Dot Trevaskis, a founding member of the committee, for her contribution over the years. Dot is happily transitioning into retirement and will start a new life. I personally would like to thank her for her friendship, input and great humour she has given us over the years. Enjoy!

Support Staff Day is 13 June

Time to celebrate us as contributors to the highest standards of professional service in the promotion of learning. Kick those heels up and celebrate. Take photos and send them in.

Stay strong.

Stand up.

Have a voice.

You should contact the IEU when your personal information details change. It is important that we keep our membership details up to date.

Membership can be contacted at the following address:

Carolyn Collins
Vice President Support Staff