UWS students get a head start

Once again the IEU’s stall at the University of Western Sydney’s EdFest was a huge hit, with more than 140 students flocking to become student members of the Union.

EdFest is Sydney’s biggest annual careers fair for preservice teachers. At UWS there are courses for early childhood, primary and secondary teachers, so it’s the perfect recruitment ground for the IEU.

Throughout history unions have been a way for workers to get their rights, so I fully support them.

IEU Organiser Dave Towson was given lecture time to talk to the students about non-government schools, while Lisa James discussed the early childhood sector. A team of organisers were on hand at the stall to give advice, including new Organiser Gaurav Singh, who has only just graduated from UWS himself.

Among students to sign up was Carl Celeski, who is studying to be a visual arts high school teacher. Carl said he signed up because “it’s good to be informed as a student on what to expect when going into the workforce”.

“The Union will definitely be good for advice.”

High school trainee teacher Nathan Fallon is a history student who said he has “always been a fan of unions”.

“Throughout history unions have been a way for workers to get their rights, so I fully support them. I work in retail right now and being in the union means I get better wages and entitlements.”

Siyuan Zen is looking forward to getting a job in an early childhood centre. He heard from a friend who attended EdFest last year that it was worth joining the IEU.

“As a new graduate I want to learn about my rights and obligations, and this is a good way of getting more information.”

Soha Khan is in the first year of a Masters in Primary Education. She said she wants help if she’s ever paid incorrectly or not treated as she would expect.

“As a new teacher I need to understand what is fair treatment,” Soha said.

Her friend Ayesha Ahan is on the same course and said she really likes the fact the IEU was able to help student teachers with lots of extra information relevant to the profession.

Sanja Hrncic signed up with the IEU at last year’s EdFest, when she began her Masters degree.

“It feels real now I’m about to graduate,” she said.

“I’ve been received emails and the newsletter and it’s been great to be able to read about what teachers already in the field are doing.

“It gives you a broader understanding of the education industry and the issues that are out there.”

English/History secondary trainee Gavin Daley thinks joining the Union will give him a “head start” in whatever job he attains.

“It’s always a good idea to have Union backing.”

Peter Kaplin, who wants to be a primary teacher, said he joined because workers rights’ were really important.

“Teaching is one of the professions were the union has a really big influence,” he said.

Sue Osborne