Through hands on activities, we were forced to hone and articulate our own ideologies, values and actions.
PLEA allowed me to fully grasp the crucial nature of organising in workplaces and our community to shift, engage and activate people around issues, and to create opportunities for others to get involved and act on this.
PLEA assisted me in becoming a more active ALP member and to lobby and campaign around issues within and alongside our party and the Union movement, such as in the Rainbow Labor Marriage Equality campaign.
Now as Assistant Secretary of the Australian Services Union in SA and NT, I still recall and refer back to the education, experiences and skills developed through PLEA.
Joseph Scales, Assistant Secretary, ASU (PLEA Participant 2010)
In 2007, as a participant of the inaugural PLEA Programme, I had a light bulb moment. In a session on union and workplace organizing, I realised that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to work in the trade union movement to help build workers’ power and a better world. I was born in to a trade union family of political and social activists – I myself was a student union activist at the time.
What the programme did was give me the opportunity to broaden my knowledge, meet other young people who shared the same ideals I had and learn from inspirational leaders from across the progressive movement. Some of these leaders went on to become my mentors.
After completing the programme I became a Union Organiser at the Australian Services Union (SA+NT) and spent three and a half years organising workers in Local Government and campaigning for fairer wages in the community sector. I then went off to London for nearly three years working for most of that time at the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). At the ITF I had the privilege of organising workers across global transport corridors and supply chains, training women trade union leaders from across the globe and gaining an international perspective on trade union work.
I am now back in Adelaide working as an Official at United Voice (SA Branch), where years on I’m still doing my bit to build workers’ power and a better world.
Demi Pnevmatikos, Organiser, United Voice (SA Branch) (PLEA Participant 2007)
I participated in the PLEA program during my final year of a Law and Commerce Double Degree. I was on track to commence a career as a lawyer but knew that I wanted something else.
The PLEA program gave me an understanding of progressive unions and progressive politics in South Australia.
The experience has exposed me to opportunities which have allowed me to contribute to the Labour movement and Labor Party and more active around issues that I am passionate about. As a result of the program, my life has changed immeasurably.
I am now the co-convenor of Rainbow Labor, a group which works within the Labor Party in pursuit of issues affecting the LGBTIQ community, and I have worked for a number of progressive State Ministers.
Thomas Mooney, Policy Advisor - SA Government, Co-Convenor Rainbow Labor (PLEA Participant 2011)
Taking part in the PLEA program allowed me to build on my involvement in the labour movement from the Your Rights at Work Campaign, giving me for the first time an ‘inside view’ of the day-to-day activities of union officials.
The PLEA program showed me the different ways unions assist their members both industrially and politically.
There were interesting guest speakers and placements with political offices and organisations from a variety of backgrounds, which showed the importance of community groups, unions and the progressive forces within the ALP working together to create a fairer society.
Scott Cowen, Members' Rights Centre Official, United Voice (PLEA Participant 2009)
PLEA was a great way for me to learn about the connections between the political movement and trade unions and how important it is for them to work together.
I have always had an interest in progressive politics and this programme gave me a much better understanding of how the labour movement operates within the community.
Victoria Duff, Graduate Program, Australian Bureau of Statistics (PLEA Participant 2011)