8 September 2021

‘Young members can bring a wealth of knowledge’ – sign up for our seminar!

Young members are being urged to register for a one-day seminar on 23 October, on rebuilding the union’s national young members’ network. Two members tell us why they think it’s important to get involved.

Young members are being urged to register for a one-day national seminar to discuss rebuilding the union’s young members’ network.

The seminar, themed ‘Empower’, will be held via Zoom on Saturday 23 October from 10am–4pm. See below for online registration details.

A programme of speakers, workshops and discussion group sessions will focus on learning and empowerment, under the theme ‘empowering young workers’. The seminar will tackle campaigning and organising for young members in the workplace, working with other equality groups, and using our digital tools, including social media.

In advance of the event, nominations are also being sought for a new chair, vice-chair and equality officer of the National Young Members’ Committee (NYMC).

The DWP group has recently set up a new Young Members’ Advisory Committee, and from now on its members will be able to go along to their GEC as observers. Two young members from DWP Tyneside and Northumbria branch told Activate why they’ll be going to the October seminar and why they think it’s important for PCS that more young members join and get involved:

PCS advocate Gee Stokoe wants to become more active in the union and to network with other young members who feel the same:

“It’s important to get young members on board as I feel some of us can get confused about what the union is there for, what the union has done so far, and what the union can do for us in the future. Many of us won’t have had a job or career before the anti-union laws of 2016 were brought in, and many will have never worked in an area with a strong union presence like there is in the civil service. 

Young members can bring a wealth of knowledge and most will have quite different lived experiences than our slightly older counterparts. It can feel awkward or uncomfortable to join a union when you have had no experience with them before, even though younger people are likely to be the next future leaders. 

In my branch we have Fran (Heathcote) working hard to include young members and in DWP we have a newly-established Young Members’ Advisory Committee. We hope to be able to raise awareness of issues that might affect young people more, such as fixed-term appointments, and to be able to advise the GEC on these.”


Euan Stuart, who is the regional PCS DWP northeast young members’ officer, said the seminar was an important event for revitalising the union’s young members’ network:

“I think that at this point it deserves a bit of extra energy afforded on it. It’s comparable with student politics and activism in that it relies a lot more than other strands of trade unionism on momentum and socialising and that kind of thing.

And it’s a much more transient structure within PCS because, of course, people age out of it. It needs new people coming in every year, with a plan for who is going to take over. So when lockdown happened and nobody could meet up and keep up those links in the same way, to an extent it fell by the wayside in preference to the more pressing issues at the time, like health and safety. But it's important to have a young members’ network, and it's important that it’s active.

There's something to be said about just spending time with other young people. If you have an active young members’ network, you can let others know that they can come along and discuss things with other trade unionists and socialists of their own age.

We need to take active efforts to introduce new people to PCS rather than just relying on the people who are there.  I think it's useful for organising purposes for people to see that it is not only run by older people who say they understand young people, but that it's run by young people as well, who have a voice.

I've spoken to a lot of young activists from different branches and a few young members from ours who are really keen to get involved, so it's a great opportunity to make a difference.”




Source URL: https://www.pcs.org.uk/news-events/news/young-members-can-bring-wealth-knowledge-sign-our-seminar