Wonkhe SUs training and induction Summer 2024

Jim is an Associate Editor at Wonkhe

Livia Scott is Wonkhe's Community and Policy Officer

Working with SUs to develop understanding of key policy and knowledge areas is a core function of our work at Wonkhe SUs – because when SUs know what’s going on, and can understand what’s going on, they can influence what’s going on – in the student interest.

We’re committed to delivering useful, helpful and essential knowledge briefing and policy content, so that SUs can focus resources on local issues.

In-house training

We are now scheduling full day in-house, in-person training into the diary for subscriber SUs.

Here’s our updated menu for 2024 – please get in touch now, ideally with a few options for dates so we can schedule our summer touring appropriately.

Essential reading

Every day over the summer we select a Wonkhe blog and a Wonkhe briefing for officers to read – so that by the end of the summer they’re up to speed on all the key contemporary issues facing students, higher education and SUs.

We highlight these via WhatsApp – so we’d encourage early officer sign up to the system. See links at the bottom of every Friday’s email.

SU Essentials 2024: Friday 14th June

This is a one day, online event (10am to 5pm) that covers lots of the things that new sabbs need to know – essentials on the way the sector works, charity law and how to be a successful officer.

It’s timed to precede when most officers start handovers and take office – many SUs encourage new officers to take part and then “buy back” a day of leave once contracts begin.

We cover how student representation “works”, including some of the major theories and models surrounding student representation, advocacy and influence and consider how they might be used by officers and SUs to improve things for students. We also give new officers (and staff) a grounding in the main legal frameworks that surround students’ unions and examine grey areas and the regulation that enforces (or, more often, doesn’t enforce) those frameworks.

Plus we review the year just gone (so that new sabbs understand all that’s been happening in higher education policy and politics that universities and SUs have been talking about), and we explore some of the models that surround SU officer influence and power, and reflect with some ex-officers on how to make the most of the summer and the year in general.

Daily calls

This is our flagship summer online briefing calls programme where you’ll learn something new every day – a new online session to take part in at 9.30am every weekday for the first part of the summer (Monday 17th June to Monday 22nd July).

Crafted to provide the knowledge and context that will help officers (and staff that support them) hit the ground running with manifesto commitments and university committees, we draw in experts from the SU, higher education and wider sectors and cover everything from harassment and sexual misconduct to quality assurance, and from how parliament works to all that officers need to know about international and postgraduate students.

We record them – and send follow up resources out too – but it’s great if officers and staff can take part time, as we can answer questions and get a conversation going there and then.

This year’s programme will include the following. If you think something’s missing, let us know – dates and booking links will appear in the next week or so.

  • The governance and democracy of SUs
  • Getting students registered to vote and the coming General Election
  • Cost of living, hidden costs and student finance work
  • Race, racism and closing awarding gaps in HE
  • Widely felt and deeply felt – winning for students through university regulation and policies
  • Righting the wrongs for Disabled students
  • Harassment and sexual misconduct
  • Quality and standards – and why they matter to students
  • Understanding student loneliness and belonging
  • Democratic models and democracy reviews
  • Data day concerns (with our friends LEO, TEF and NSS)
  • Understanding your university’s finances
  • What SU officers need to know about access and participation
  • How to make things better for students on health courses
  • The free speech agenda and the free speech act
  • What you need to know about mental health in HE
  • The Robots are coming – Understanding AI in education
  • Improving the experience for international students
  • Making a difference on student housing
  • Won’t somebody think about the PGTs and PGRs?
  • Handling budget cuts and course closures
  • Social capital, community and the value of student opportunities and activities
  • Students at work
  • Building a robust and assertive partnership with the university
  • What SUs need to know about parliament and political advocacy
  • Getting the message across – Powerful officer comms

The Box Set

Online, on demand: available early July. In our box set will be video briefings for new officers and staff from a variety of organisations, including the Office for Students (England), the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (England and Wales), the Quality Assurance Agency (UK-Wide) and a briefing on the Tertiary Education and Research (Wales) Act for SUs in Wales. There will also be sessions on the secret history of SUs, and powerful officer comms.

Other summer dates to note

There are plenty of other dates to note, especially if your SU is a member of NUS. These include:

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