One-year course

The zap regularly organises a one-year course for work council and employee representatives in cooperation with the Academy of Training and Further Education of the University of Bremen (Akademie für Weiterbildung der Universität Bremen) and the Bremen branch of the Educational Association “Arbeit und Leben” (Bildungsvereinigung Arbeit und Leben (DGB/VHS) e.V. Bremen). 15 one-year courses have thus far been implemented, benefitting a variety of actors and individuals.

Employee representatives need to dispose of a range of knowledge and skills related to regulatory and political frameworks as well as economic conditions. Today, developing interpersonal and social competence is equally important to be able to reach group consensus along defined objectives and to engage in various forms of relations. Employee representatives interact with colleagues from different departments and company hierarchies, with management, human resources staff, union representatives and colleagues from other representative bodies. This requires social competence and self-reflection capacities, in particular as concerns own role reflexivity and the ability to understand and shape social processes.

The one-year course facilitates such reflective learning. It is jointly run by a psychologist and labour law expert and based on interactive learning methods. Concretely, the course facilitates:

  • Mutual learning and exchange of experience as employee representative;
  • The development of analytical competence to better understand the company-based and societal conditions of interest representation and how they interlink and develop over time;
  • Defining own targets and balancing different interests in the negotiation process;
  • Reflecting upon and further developing own role understanding, attitudes and role performance as employee representative.

In observation of company practices, main topics the course covers include:

  • Management policy and law;
  • Work organisation;
  • Team building, communication and conflict;
  • Work processes and health safety;
  • Work councils’ public relations,
  • Implementation of a company project.

Throughout the course, the method of “mutual coaching” is applied to deal with participants’ questions and concerns related to their representative role. All participants are also offered a team-building workshop for members of their work council (or respective representative body).

The one-year course is being organised in evening classes and occasional one-day seminars, for which employee representatives usually can be released from their work duties. The course plan (in German) is available under the download section.