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Trade Union Education

Trade Union Education

Transforming the World

This collection of essays challenges us to move trade union education forward through new theory and examples of best practice.


Trade union education is in the doldrums. It generally lacks modern ways of teaching and is full of outdated content and avoids history, economics and politics.

This book demonstrates clearly that what is delivered in trade union education, and how it is delivered, have to be reformed and modernised. It successfully shows also how all trade unionists are educators in one way or another.

Chapters cover the history, context and challenges in trade union education, the power of popular education techniques, trade union activism, community and social movements, practical examples of transformative new work and learning tips, learning materials and all those areas relevant to delivering impactful education.

Introduction – Doug Nicholls
Notes from the editor – Mike Seal
Section One: Key concepts and historical development
Introduction to Section One – Doug Nicholls
1 What do we mean by 'trade union education'? – John Fisher
2 Key concepts in popular education – Mike Seal
3 History and context of UK trade union education – John Fisher
4 The development of popular informal and community education, and youth and community work in the UK – Alan Smith, Christine Smith and Jo Trelfa
Section Two: Contexts and challenges

Introduction to Section Two – Doug Nicholls
5 Social movement unionism in New Zealand and the UK: the need for contextualized engagement – Jane Parker and Ozan Alakavuklar
6 Backstory: a Unite approach to political education – M.J. McGrath
7 The future of community education: what role for trade unions in promoting the co-production of knowledge and culture and supporting democratic institutionalization? – Joel Lazarus
8 Reconnecting trade union education, politics and selfreliance – Dave Spooner
Section Three: Implementing critical education in the classroom and beyond

Introduction to Section Three – Doug Nicholls
9 Seeing education in everything we do – Nadine Rae
10 Getting it right and mixing it up: practical ideas for helping learners to get the best out of the education we provide – Carl Parker and Martin Smith
11 Responding to social-movement trade unionism within education – Gawain Little and Lindsey McDowell
12 General Federation of Trade Unions youth festivals: critical education in action – Mike Seal (with Sarah Woolley)
13 Popular education in practice: a case study of radical educational praxis in a contemporary UK university – Naomi Canham, Kyna Dixon, Becca Golby, Shannon Gorman, Sophie Imeson, Tom Muskett and Jack Scranage
14 The Northern College: social-purpose mission and pedagogy – Jill Westerman

Section Four: Learning from the world
Introduction to Section Four – Doug Nicholls
15 A comet in the night: Julio Antonio Mella and the genesis of popular education in Cuba – John Callow
16 Learning from Latin America: experiences of training in ESNA – Julio Gambina

About the authors
Reading and resources

Page Count: 
5.31 x 8.50in
UK Publication Date: 
Wednesday, 11 October, 2017
Publication Date:
Monday, 10 June 2019

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