Trade union officials work to maintain and improve the wages, conditions and employment opportunities of workers in particular occupations or industries. In some unions, trade union officials are elected from the union's membership, but in others they are appointed to paid positions.
There are no specific educational requirements to become a trade union official. Unions provide on-the-job and formal training. People often enter this occupation after experience in industry. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have qualifications. You may like to consider a VET qualification in human resources management, management or work health and safety. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You can also become a trade union official by studying industrial relations, human resource management or occupational health and safety at university. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English and mathematics are normally required. A number of universities in Australia offer degrees in these areas. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.
Trade union officials may perform the following tasks:
Although there is no formal career structure within trade unions, opportunities exist to move from base-level trade union official positions up to president. Skills and experience gained are transferable to other areas of work, such as industrial relations or politics. The demand for trade union officials is affected by membership numbers, union involvement in enterprise bargaining agreements and amalgamations. The rules of each union determine the number of paid positions available.