Since its inception in 1994, Organising Works has trained and educated more than 1,000 organisers. Over 60% of present union leaders have come through the program.

Trade unions are one of the greatest forces for positive changes our world has ever seen. Trade union members have stood shoulder to shoulder throughout history fighting to bring progressive change to workplaces and our communities.  

The 8-hour day, holidays, parental leave, safer workplaces, equal pay, Medicare, superannuation and even democracy itself – the trade union movement has been at the forefront of change.  

Identifying workplace leaders, connecting workers, building campaigns and changing the system. Union organisers are part of a mighty movement to improve union members’ working lives.  

“I was 22 when I started, and it was an incredible privilege to be taught and mentored by such experienced and deeply committed unionists. Organising Works injected new energy and ideas into our movement. The challenge then, is the same challenge now, growing our movement. Every generation needs to face these challenges and deal with it on their own terms.”

Sally McManus, ACTU Secretary

The Australian Organising Works program was established in 1994 to recruit and develop waves of union organisers – the original disruptors!  Since then, more than 1000 organisers have completed the program – playing their part in building an active strong and united movement of workers through both challenging and exciting times.  

Being at the cutting edge of new strategies to mobilise and build worker power, Organising Works participants don’t just change Australian workplaces, they have helped to change the Australian union movement. 

We are proud and excited to bring to the Australian trade union movement the new Organising Works program. Because organising does work!  

Organising Works in 2023

After 23 years the program went on hiatus in 2020 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. This break in delivery created the opportunity to reflect on the program, to explore every crevasse, and assess what the program of tomorrow needs to look like.  

During 2022, a review was initiated to evaluate the program and plan for future iterations of Organising Works. In carrying out this review we spoke with 54 practitioners, four academics, and representatives from across 30 different organisations and 10 countries.  

Download the report here.

The program

Trainees will be employed by an Australian Trade Union who will support them as a new entrant to the role of Organiser by facilitating their participation in the comprehensive 12-month training program.  

Trainees will receive a mix of face-to-face education, online webinars, and self-paced online learning.  Development of experience will come through their role at their employing unions, but also through a Campaign Clinic.  

Campaign Clinics will deploy trainees in live campaigns, where they will have opportunities to develop and implement all aspects of campaigns including planning, developing communications, recruitment, member decision making, mobilisation and engagement strategies. Campaign Clinics will provide opportunities for developing the trainees’ learning and experience while providing ACTU affiliated unions with a resource to draw on for intensive campaign situations. 

“I made my journey from electrician to organiser and now I’m the secretary of the CEPU. Organising Works was essential in developing my skills and knowledge, allowing me to lead my organisation today.”

Michael Anderson, CEPU

Organiser Pathway

Developing the capacities of union Organisers is essential in supporting workers to build power in their workplaces. The ATUI Organiser Pathway is a world-leading program aimed at delivering the latest skills, techniques and thinking over a sustained period of time.

 The ATUI Pathway consists of four levels. Each level has been designed to lift the skills and knowledge of a modern Organiser.