Meet the future of the union movement

I’ve really liked this opportunity to get a look at education at a granular level

Young people with a passion for the trade union movement can get a taste of a career in the field through the Unions NSW Union Summer program.

IEUA NSW/ACT Branch is an enthusiastic participant in the program and this summer welcomed James Connolly and Bella Forti for a three week experience.

Bella is a student of Health Science at UTS, where she is also the student union Women’s Officer.

Bella has used her time with the IEU to liaise with the IEU Women’s Convenor Pam Smith and members of the Women and Equity Committee. She has also learnt about BOLD, the IEUA’s national Building Our Leadership Development organisation designed to encourage women into leadership roles.

“I have learnt about some ‘train the trainer’ programs and other resources about how to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace and how to counter the resistance to change, that will be great to take back to my collective,” Bella said.

Bella plans to be a freelance sex educator when she graduates, speaking to groups in schools and workplaces.

“Sex education at school is so lacking. I feel that better sex education could prevent sexual harassment, because people don’t understand issues around consent.”

James Connolly is a recent graduate of ANU, where he did a double degree in Law and Asia Pacific Studies.

Also involved in student politics, James would like to develop a career in industrial and employment law.

“I’ve really liked this opportunity to get a look at education at a granular level, '' James said. '' I was previously oblivious to the challenges teachers face associated with the accreditation process. It’s interesting to see how the union helps them with those challenges.

“It was also instructive to work with the industrial officers and see how they work within the union as a whole.”

James has achieved a graduate position with a law firm where he will specialise in industrial law and get a taste of the employer’s perspective on industrial relations.

Ultimately, he feels the trade union movement will provide the “meaning” he seeks in a career.

The IEU wishes both interns good luck with their career aspirations.