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When I'm at work: Working on a committee - Trainer's guide

Chapters

Topic 4 - What roles are there on workplace committees?

What you will need

You will need:

It is vital that everyone's viewpoints are valued and comments are allowed to be made in an open discussion. You will need to focus on issues relating to the learning objectives of the topic.

Note: Text in boxes replicates the information in the learner's workbook.

What learners will need

Learners will need:

Learning objectives

After taking part in this topic, learners should be able to:

Delivering the topic

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What roles are there on workplace committees?

Discuss this question with learners and ask them to think about workplace committee meetings they have been to and the jobs or roles people held on these committees.

People on workplace committees usually have special roles or jobs that they do while they are on the committee. These roles can sometimes be shared, or people in those roles can get help with some parts of their roles if they need it. For example, a worker may be the secretary on a workplace committee and have help to write any letters that are required.

Remember that it is your right to have your say at work. Working on a committee is one way that you can have your say at work.

Learners may have held a committee role they can reflect on.

Learners may have shared a role on a committee with someone whose disability required them to be assisted. Discuss with learners what assistance may be necessary so that all workers are ensured they have an equal opportunity to be on a committee in their workplace.

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Discuss the following with the learners.

Chairperson

The chairperson runs the committee meetings. The chairperson also makes sure that people on the committee take turns to talk, and that everyone has their say.

Discuss the following with the learners.

Secretary

The secretary prepares the meeting agendas and takes notes of what happens at meetings, including the things that the committee votes on and agrees to do. The secretary also writes any letters or emails that the committee wants to send.

Explain to learners that what happens during a committee meeting will be discussed in greater depth during the next topic.

Discuss the following with the learners.

Treasurer

The treasurer manages the money and reports to the rest of the committee about the money that the committee is responsible for. A treasurer is not always needed on a committee. It will depend on whether or not money is needed for that committee.

Discuss the following with the learners.

Team representative

The team representative is the person who is on the committee to represent the views of everyone on their work team. People on the work team may elect their team representative. Managers may ask a particular worker to be the team representative.

Discuss the following with the learners.

Committee members

Committee members represent the views of all workers in the workplace. They put forward ideas about the things that the committee is discussing.

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Summarise the previous discussion by asking learners the following focus questions and discussing their responses.

Focus questions

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Listen to Brian's story.

Brian's story

Photo of committee meeting

Brian works at DB Services on the gardening team. He's also the chairperson of the DB Services social club committee.

Mario, a supervisor at DB Services, is the treasurer of the DB Services social club committee.

Chen is the gardening team's representative on the committee.

Lisa and Julia are also team representatives on the DB Services social club committee.

At the monthly committee meeting, Brian wants to discuss the Christmas party. He asks Mario how much money there is to spend but before Mario can answer, Lisa interrupts.

Mario and Brian are annoyed. Brian tells Lisa that she has to wait her turn. He continues his conversation with Mario.

Brian then asks Chen to talk about what the gardening team wants to do for the Christmas party. Chen is surprised. Brian works on the gardening team so he knows perfectly well what the team wants.

Brian tells Chen that it's her job to say what the gardening team wants because she's the team representative.

Brian sees that Julia's hand is up, so he asks her to speak after Chen has finished. Julia has just started talking when Lisa interrupts again.

Brian firmly asks Lisa to be quiet. He then asks Julia to continue with what she was saying.

In the meantime, Lisa has put her hand up. When Julia has finished talking, Brian asks Lisa to speak.

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Questions for discussion

Discuss these questions about Brian's story with learners. Encourage them to record their responses to the questions in their workbooks, in the spaces provided.

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Listen to Amir's story.

Amir's story

Photo of Amir

Amir has been on the safety committee at DB Services for three months. He represents the new printing service crew. He has been to every meeting. He comes on time and listens quietly to what is being said. If Lynne, the chairperson, asks him if he wants to ask anything he either shakes his head or says no. He pins the notes of the meeting up on the noticeboard in his work area after every meeting.

Before one meeting, Lillian, one of the other people at the printing service, asks him to raise at the meeting that there is a problem with fumes in the copier room. Lillian and other people are getting headaches that they think come from working in there.

Amir goes to the meeting, but he doesn't say anything about the fumes.

When she sees the notes of the meeting, Lillian is very angry and says Amir is not doing his job properly.

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Questions for discussion

Discuss these questions about Amir's story with learners. Encourage them to record their responses to the questions in their workbooks, in the spaces provided.

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Debrief the topic by leading learners through the following activities. Then highlight the issues that this topic has raised in relation to working on a committee and reinforce the focus questions.

After you have discussed the workbook activities with learners, ask learners to write their responses in their workbooks in the spaces provided. Responses can be made in any format, for example, in writing or in pictorial form. Learners are free to express themselves in whatever ways they want to.

Explain to learners that the workbooks are their own records of the information that they need in relation to working on a committee. There is no compulsion for learners to provide their own responses if it is not appropriate to do so.

Workbook activities

Role play

Divide learners into small groups, and using workplace committees as examples, ask them to name the people on a workplace committee and to describe their roles.

Remind learners that assistance may be necessary so that all workers are ensured they have an equal opportunity to be on a committee in their workplace. Speaking with supervisors is a good place to start, if such assistance is required.

It may also be appropriate at this stage to invite representatives from workplace committees to talk about their roles.

Discuss with learners the purpose of the meeting in Brian's story.

Listen to the story for a second time for clarification if you need to.

Using the information about role plays in the Training and Assessing resource to help you, assign learners to the roles of the various characters in Brian's story. Role-play Brian's story several times, with learners engaged in a number of different roles.

Ask learners to reflect on the experience of being in the various roles, and discuss this with the group.

Chinese whispers

Ask learners what they thought about Lisa's listening skills during the social club meeting.

Discuss with learners the importance of listening well during a committee meeting. Reiterate that all committee members need to know how to listen well, and that listening skills can be learned and practised.

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