Trade unions are one of the greatest forces for positive changes our world has ever seen

Trade union members have stood shoulder to shoulder throughout history fighting to bring progressive change to workplaces and our communities. The 8-hour day, holidays, parental leave, safer workplaces, equal pay, Medicare, superannuation and even democracy itself – the trade union movement has been at the forefront of change.


You can be part of building the grass roots movement that has a proven record of fighting inequality and injustice and winning for working people. Be part of the change – become a union organiser. Identifying workplace leaders, connecting workers, building campaigns and changing the system. As a union organiser you will be part of a mighty movement to improve union members’ working lives.

“I have been teaching at a school where I’m surrounded by a lot of women of colour staff, and working together with women to achieve local wins. It’s really given me a lot of encouragement and is kind of what got me into this job.”

About Organising Works

The Australian Organising Works program was established in 1994 to recruit and develop waves of union organisers – the original disruptors! Since then, more than 1,000 organisers have completed the program – playing their part in building an active strong and united movement of workers through both challenging and exciting times.


Being at the cutting edge of new strategies to mobilise and build worker power, Organising Works participants don’t just change Australian workplaces, they have helped to change the Australian union movement.


If you are passionate about building workers’ collective power to gain safer and more just workplaces and communities and are active in your community or workplace, we encourage you to apply.


Applications are particularly encouraged from women, people of colour, people with physical and intellectual disabilities and the LGBTQIA+ community.


The ACTU has teamed up with Democracy in Colour to ensure our recruitment process and traineeship supports everyone in our community take steps to be active in the union movement.

“I would love to see the union movement grow to a point where all workers, no matter what industry they’re in, can experience the highest standard of fair and equitable treatment and and safe working conditions. And I’d love to see the union grow to a point where the workers are the decision-makers and they have the highest say and the highest power on what’s gonna change in their industry.”

About the program

Trainees will be employed by an Australian Trade Union who will support them as a new entrant to the role of Organiser by facilitating their participation in the comprehensive 12-month training program.


Trainees will receive a mix of face-to-face education, online webinars, and self-paced online learning. Development of experience will come through their role at their employing unions, but also through a Campaign Clinic.


Campaign Clinics will deploy trainees in live campaigns, where they will have opportunities to develop and implement all aspects of campaigns including planning, developing communications, recruitment, member decision making, mobilisation and engagement strategies.


Campaign Clinics will provide opportunities for developing the trainees’ learning and experience while providing ACTU affiliated unions with a resource to draw on for intensive campaign situations.

Democracy in Colour is working in partnership with the ACTU to recruit and support People of Colour (POC) into the re-designed Organising Works program. The ACTU and Democracy in Colour Organising Works partnership is intentionally recruiting and supporting POC to successfully begin a career in the Union movement and better reflect and represent our diverse communities. We are supporting the ACTU  to build structures and working and learning spaces of safety, equity and racial justice in the Organising Works program and wider union movement.
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Key Dates 2023

June – July 2023

Applications open for Organising Works trainees.

August 2023

Engagement of Organising Works trainees with unions.

September 2023

Commencement of Program.


You can change the world brochure

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A new generation poster

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You can change the world brochure

Print this out and share with any coworkers or friends you think would be interested.

Download the poster
“I was 22 when I started, and it was an incredible privilege to be taught and mentored by such experienced and deeply committed unionists. Organising Works injected new energy and ideas into our movement. The challenge then, is the same challenge now: growing our movement. Every generation needs to face these challenges and deal with it on their own terms.”
Sally McManus, ACTU Secretary
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