Organising: recruiting and retaining student members

EPSU webinar recruitment and organizing network

EPSU held the third webinar of its recruitment and organizing network on 17 February discussing “Innovative approaches to union recruitment and retention of university students”. The seminar brought together more than 50 participants across Europe representing 40 unions.

Joe Lahoud, an Ombudsman (trade union officer) at the Vision white-collar trade union and the union’s representative on EPSU youth committee kicked off the discussion. He explained Vision’s student organization and its efforts on student organizing. He went on to describe the union’s strategy of offering both benefits and attractive entry conditions for students and recent graduates, as well as its on-campus outreach activities, modelled after business recruitment practices. Vision has successfully turned the curve in student organizing and welcomed a new generation into membership. Even during the pandemic Vision managed to recruit 17440 student members in 2020 which is a remarkable success.

The second contribution came from Leigh Murray and Rachel Wood of the RCN nursing union in the UK. They reported how their response to the pandemic has led to a highly successful virtual recruitment programme of nursing students. They outlined the unique trade union and professional benefits the RCN offers nursing students and the steps the union has undertaken to develop the role of the RCN student ambassador. There were several practical examples of the importance of the role of student ambassadors, particularly in relation to organising around the RCN’s position in response to a recent government initiative to offer paid clinical placements to nursing students.

Several participants took part in the discussion and have contributed with their experiences and strategies on student recruitment and organizing.

The presentations are attached, and the the next webinar is planned for April.

Don’t forget to sign up to EPSU’s R&O network by sending an email to:

The Royal College of Nursing presentation - Student membership 

Visions's Student Organisation - presentation