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TUC Northern Black Activist Development Programme
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Event details
Mon, 18 Sep 2023 - 09:00 to
Sat, 23 Mar 2024 - 17:00

TUC Northern Office
TUC, Unite Building
1st Floor, John Dobson Street
Newcastle Upon Tyne
United Kingdom

Free to participants (unions to provide sponsorship of £500)

Black workers are more likely to be trade union members, yet they remain underrepresented as union reps, activists, staff, officers, political leaders and change makers.

If we want the trade union movement to truly reflect the workers it represents and to bring about effective change for all, then we need to remove the barriers that prevent Black members from becoming active, developing and advancing within the movement.

TUC Northern is offering an exciting new development programme for the next generation of black activists from across the Northern region.

Aim of the programme

The aim of this programme is to identify, empower and enable Black members and activists interested in doing so, to step forward within the movement.

It will also help the TUC to continue to learn what the trade union movement should be doing better in order to ensure the movement reflects and represents its diverse membership.

What will participants gain from completing the programme?

The programme will enable participants to develop the knowledge, skills and networks they need to become active or progress within the movement.

The programme will cover the following:

  • Understanding union structures and how to navigate them.
  • Identify and breaking through barriers.
  • Organising for power – building and maintaining your unions strength and effectiveness.
  • Running successful campaigns.
  • Communicating as an effective trade unionist.
  • Becoming an effective leader.
  • Making change through politics.

The programme will also provide:

  • Networking opportunities with leading union officials and political figures.
  • A mentoring scheme.

Programme dates

The programme will take place over 10 months from September 2023, with sessions varying in length and location.

Session dates, times and locations will be set in consultation with participants but will be confirmed. 

Who is this course aimed at?

This programme will suit any trade unionist looking to step up into a new role or position of influence within their branch and/or union.

Who can apply?

We welcome applications from trade union members, activists, reps, and officers who work or live in the Northern region (Tees Valley, Country Durham, Darlington, Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and Cumbria) and self-identify as *Black.

We would like to see applications from trade unionists who are keen to broaden their skills, advance in their roles and union, and help us achieve the changes we need to make the working world fairer, more equal, and just.

*The term Black is used in a broad political and inclusive sense to describe people in the UK who have suffered from colonialism and enslavement in the past and continue to experience racism and diminished opportunities in today’s society.

Nominating someone to take part

If you know someone who would be perfect for this programme, we welcome referrals from trade union officials.

Simply email with their full name and email address and we will reach out to them with all the information and details on how to apply.

We have found that in previous programmes a formal nomination greatly boosts the confidence and potential of those being nominated, helps further recognise their role in the union and also means we can help support them during the application stage. 

If you do wish to nominate someone, please do so as soon as possible so that the individual has enough time to complete and send in their application to us. 

Cost/union sponsorship

Costs are involved when participating in this programme, but these should not be borne by the participants themselves.

To ensure this, we are asking participant's respective trade union and/or branch to sponsor the participant. As part of this sponsorship the union is agreeing to:

  • Cover the travel expenses to and from training dates (including to and from London), and
  • Agree to pay £500 to TUC Northern which will be used to fund accommodation and food costs during the in-person training days.  

Some unions may also wish to cover other individual costs if and as required by the student (e.g. IT provision for online sessions; lunch costs; child care, etc). This is at the discretion of the union or branch.

The TUC will cover all other remaining costs of the programme, including meeting room bookings, surplus accommodation costs, tutor salary and guest speakers.  

Participants must secure union/branch sponsorship prior to submitting their application form. The application form will also ask you to give the contact details of the individual union official who can administer and/or sign off on your sponsorship/financial support.

What if my union refuses to pay/ can’t afford it?

We do not wish for costs to be a barrier. So, if you are concerned your union has insufficient funds, please get in touch with the Northern TUC team so we can discuss options.


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