Training & Education

Union Education Mission Statement

The CWU is committed to the training and education of representatives and members at all levels in the organisation to a high standard. In this context we will provide a high quality training/education service that equips CWU representatives with the relevant knowledge and skills to enhance their effectiveness as Union Representatives while reinforcing the values of the Union.

The Union also commits, where possible, to remove literacy barriers which may prevent members accessing and participating in the Union. The CWU advocates the promotion and improvement of adult literacy.

The CWU will commit the resources at its disposal to meeting these training and development needs.

The Committee

The CWU Education Committee is elected for a 4 year term from members of the National Executive Council. The current committee is as follows:

Committee Members:

  • Carol Scheffer, Education Officer
  • Pat Kenny, An Post Staff Side Secretary
  • Pascal Connolly, eir Sligo District Branch
  • Ray Lawlor, eir Dublin No.3 Branch
  • Willie Mooney, An Post Dublin Postal Clerks Branch
  • Martina O’Connell, An Post Cork Outdoor Branch
  • Ellen Moore, Portlaoise Postal Branch
  • Ivor Reynolds, eir Dublin No.1 Branch
  • John Dunleavy, eir Dublin No.2 Branch

Aim of the Committee

The CWU Education Committee will provide comprehensive quality training courses for our Union Activists. This training will enable Activists to represent members to the best of their abilities and to enhance their effectiveness as Union Representatives.

The Committee will continue to develop other training networks through ICTU, the VECs, through partnerships with other unions, through Skillnets projects and through other training providers.

The CWU will continue to offer training participants a pathway to learning and to assist in the development of key skills so as to ensure that our Representatives are well equipped to meet the growing needs of the membership.

Internal courses

Our internal training provision consists of the following training courses:

  • Branch Secretary Training Stages 1 & 2
  • Advanced Branch Officer
  • Committee Training
  • Branch Officer
  • Treasurer
  • Chairperson
  • Equality Representative Module
  • Youth Training

Email us at with suggestions or ideas.

The National Executive Council of the CWU believes that education and training among its lay officials and activists is the single most important thing when it comes to providing representation to members. The Union prides itself on having a network of branches throughout the country whose activists are trained to a standard which is among the highest within the Irish Trade Union Movement.

Following recent Branch AGMs and elections there will have been some changes at Branch Officer and Committee level within Branches and the Union is therefore seeking nominations for the forthcoming education courses:

Branch Secretary Stage 1

Download Form

May 22nd,23rd,24th,29th & 30th (5 days)
Venue: Union Head Office, Dublin
All newly elected Branch Secretaries are required to attend the Stage 1 course, as well as any currently elected Branch Secretary who may not have had the opportunity to attend in the past. This is a five-day course spread over two weeks and will cover the duties of the Branch Secretary, Negotiation Skills and other modules relevant to the role.


Download Form

June 6th, 7th & 8th (3 days)
Venue: Union Head Office, Dublin
All newly elected Chairpersons are required to attend this course, as well as any currently elected Chairperson who may not have had the opportunity to attend in the past. The purpose of the course is to explain the role of the Chairperson within their Branch Structure and to cover other relevant modules.

Branch Officer

Download Form

September 18th (1 day)
Venue: Union Head Office, Dublin
The course is open to Assistant Secretaries and Vice Chairpersons. The aim of this course is to provide Branch Officers with the necessary skills to carry out the role of a Branch Officer given that they will be required, from time to time, to stand in for either the Branch Secretary or Branch Chairperson.

Those who have been previously trained as a Branch Secretary, Chairperson or Branch Officer are not required to attend.

Treasurer Course

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September 19th (1 day)
Venue: Union Head Office, Dublin
This course is open to all newly elected Treasurers who will receive training on how to carry out the duties of Treasurer. Treasurers in addition to their own role will be required to represent members on occasion and will need the skills to do this which will be part of the training.

Equality Representatives

Download Form

September 25th & 26th (2 days)
Venue: Union Head Office, Dublin
The Equality Representative is a support role to the Branch Secretary who can assist with equality related matters. This course is based primarily on the nine grounds of discrimination under employment equality legislation and also deals with such matters as work life balance, statutory and non-statutory leave, disability in the workplace etc. Equality Representatives make reports to their committee as required. This course is open to all Branches, however, please note due to the high demand for this training we can only accept one nomination per Branch.

Branch Secretary Stage 2

Download Form

October 9th, 10th & 11th (3 days)
Venue: Union Head Office. Dublin
This course should be attended by Branch Secretaries who have completed Stage 1 and are in their second or consecutive term as Branch Secretary. This course is offered subject to numbers requiring the training. Further details on the course requirements will be issued to participants closer to the date of training.

Advanced Branch Officer

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October 16th, 17th & 18th
Venue: Union Head Office, Dublin
This course is open to Branch Secretaries who have completed the stage 2 course prior to 2018 and have been re-elected to their role. It is also open to Branch Chairpersons who completed the Chairperson training course prior to 2018 and have been re-elected. The course will cover topics such as political economy, communications and other relevant issues.

Committee Member

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This course is normally 2 half days in duration, namely a half day on a Friday afternoon and a half day on a Saturday morning, the dates of which will be set with Branches as required.

Venue: To be agreed with the local committees.

The Education committee will make committee courses available at regional venues to facilitate Branches who have their own individual requirements for committee training. Courses offered will be subject to numbers requiring the training and workplace release. The Branch Secretary will be responsible for attendance and for organising release, as required, with local management. All newly elected Committee members are required to attend training as well as any Committee members who may not have had the opportunity to attend in the past. Branch Secretaries are asked to contact Carol Scheffer directly to discuss Branch training requirements.

Please note that it is mandatory for all those who are elected onto their Branch roles to be trained by the Education Committee.

I would ask that participants fill in the relevant nomination form for the courses they wish to attend so that we have the details recorded. Please also note that all the forms can be downloaded from our website (under Union Training & Education). It is essential that members who applied for training in previous years and did not have the opportunity to attend to send in a new nomination form, as participants for all the above courses will be placed only on receipt of the current nomination forms. Further joining instructions will be issued to participants closer to the date of the relevant course.

Forms must also be signed by the Branch Secretary as relevant.  Please return the completed forms to Union Head Office.

The return date for the forms is Friday 16th March 2018. While we try to accommodate as many as possible on our training, please note that due to high demand for our courses, any nomination forms received after the closing date will be initially placed on a cancellation list.


In addition to our training offering, and on receipt of the nomination forms, we will be contacting all training participants to sign up for our online learning course “Your Union and You”. Unionlink is an innovative way for our members to engage in trade union learning and provides flexibility so that members take control of their own learning in their own time.

As previously reported the first course that has been developed is called “Your Union and You” and covers the relevance of trade unions in the workplace and in society. It has three modules:

1.    Understanding Trade Unions
2.    My Union – The CWU
3.    Call to Action

All participants will be requested to complete the course in advance of attending their scheduled training as it is an opportunity to get to know more about the union, the important role of the trade union movement in general as well as guidance on how to participate more in Union activities.

National Adult Literacy Agency