Preparing for Conference

Conference HallI remember putting my name forward to attend my first General Conference a few years ago. I have to admit that I wasn’t really sure what I was letting myself in for. But what I came to realise by the end of the week was that Conference is, as well as being where policy decisions are made, a place where you meet some great people who become friends as well as contacts within the Union.

So, as I prepare for this year’s Conference I think back to my first experience and think how things have changed in that time. This year’s Conference will, I imagine, have a different feel to those I have attended before. There’s obviously the fact that this will be my first Conference as the Chair of the Youth Advisory Committee, but it will also be the first Conference I have attended where the full extent of the Government’s destructive programme of cuts is fully understood.

Speaking at Conference isn’t for everyone, but I do recommend taking the step up to the rostrum and contributing to the debate. As members of the Union, Conference is the time to have your views heard. One thing that everyone should remember is that Conference is a safe environment. Sometimes people will disagree with what you’re saying, but without this debate and different viewpoints we’d be unable to move forward as a Union.

For anyone who is attending Conference for the first time, here are a few tips from me.

  • Read through the Agenda (I know that they’re large documents, but it’s always helpful to understand the motion being debated!)
  • Highlight any motions that you think you might want to speak on, and make a note of the time that they’ll be debated.
  • Try not to have preconceived ideas about what Conference will be like. Whatever you thnk it will be like, it probably won’t.
  • Contact someone who’s been before and ask them what their experiences are.
  • Enjoy the experience.
  • Visit the CWU Youth stand (that’s a given).

I hope to see many of you at Conference this year.