Empower workers

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to advance the collective interests of workers and the union in the workplace, and more generally within the community, through the identification and development of activists.No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of endorsement.


This unit applies to individuals who have knowledge of unionism and industrial relations, and a commitment to advancing social justice principles. They provide leadership and guidance to workers and union members.

The unit sees the development of activists and the creation of worker networks as an opportunity to empower members and to provide informal education to develop collective capacity.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Identify commonality of issues and needs

1.1. Canvass workplace issues with members and potential members

1.2. Undertake analysis of issue/s

1.3. Ensure key issues in the workplace are agreed and conform to union policies and regulations

2. Identify and develop activists

2.1. Identify potential workplace leaders or activists

2.2. Consult members to identify activities they can undertake

2.3. Obtain required resources and provide assistance to support members and activists

2.4. Identify activist development needs

2.5. Ensure appropriate activities are agreed, explained and reviewed

3. Develop networks

3.1. Identify and document aims of networks

3.2. Ensure networks are developed resourced, supported and maintained

3.3. Ensure positive relationships are developed and maintained with network members

3.4. Utilise networks to extend participants' understanding of union and social justice issues

3.5. Monitor effectiveness of networks and review against documented aims of network

Required Skills

Required skills

interpersonal and consultation skills to listen effectively and to ask questions

project planning skills.

Required knowledge

national, state/territory legislation and regulations relating to rights and responsibilities of representatives and union members, and anti-discrimination legislation especially as it pertains to employment

relevant employment agreements, including:


other industrial instruments

various forms of workplace agreements

union information, such as:

legal right of entry

history (general and workplace, location and industry-specific)

current policies, priorities and activities

recruitment policies and procedures

membership information (benefits, rates and process for applying)

representation processes.

Evidence Required

The Evidence Guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit

Evidence of the following is essential:

range of skills and techniques that have led to the empowerment of groups and individuals to advocate for social change

demonstrated evidence in developing members and potential activists to achieve defined aims and, where appropriate, how networks are built

demonstrated evidence of how workplace issues were identified including surveys, questionnaires and interview notes

knowledge of national, state/territory legislation and regulations relating to rights and responsibilities of representatives and union members, and anti-discrimination legislation especially as it pertains to employment.

Context of and specific resources for assessment

Assessment must ensure:

access to workplace and union documents

examples from work with union members

support from union officials.

Method of assessment

A range of assessment methods should be used to assess practical skills and knowledge. The following examples are appropriate for this unit:

analysis of responses to case studies and scenarios

demonstration of techniques

direct questioning combined with review of portfolios of evidence and third party workplace reports of on-the-job performance by the candidate

observation of demonstrated techniques in resourcing and supporting the empowerment of union members

observation of performance in role plays

observation of presentations

oral or written questioning to assess knowledge of union information

review of analysis of issues

review of documentation about the aims of networks

evaluation of identified activist development needs.

Guidance information for assessment

Holistic assessment with other units relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role is recommended, for example:

other workplace relations units.

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Canvassing views of members and potential members may include:

conducting a survey or questionnaire

facilitating a meeting


Workplace issues may include:

action or proposed action taken by management

development of a collective bargaining claim

individual or collective grievance or dispute

occupational health and safety (OHS) issue/s

proposed legislative change

union issue, e.g. freedom of association or access to union support

Analysis of issue/s may include:

how it affects other workers

whether it is a real issue

whether it is deeply or widely felt

whether it is winnable

whether it will motivate workers

Development needs might include:

communication skills

industrial relations processes

information about terms and conditions

public speaking skills

Activities might include:

arranging a meeting

attending a meeting

becoming a delegate

collecting and distributing information

member recruitment activities

organising a petition

talking to workers

Aims of networks might include:

action on community issues

action on work issues

development and learning

discussion and analysis of work or industry-specific issues

mentoring, coaching and leadership development

provision of support to other members, workers, equity groups and community organisations

recruitment of members

Networks might include:

community groups, peak bodies and other unions

other individuals

potential union members in own or other workplaces

union members/activists in own or other workplaces

workplace organising committee

Reviews might include:

allocation of next task

analysis of outcomes


identified further support requirements

recognition of achievement

workplace organising committee agenda


Unit sector

Competency Field

Workforce Development - Workplace Relations

Employability Skills

This unit contains employability skills.

Licensing Information

Not applicable.