Croatia: New system of trade union training

Between July 2015 and July 2016, a new system of training for union representatives and shop stewards was introduced to modernise union training and enhance social dialogue. The EDUCA project was promoted by the Union of Autonomous Trade Unions of Croatia (SSSH) with the support of unions from the metalwork, construction, energy and commercial sectors. 


The project, EDUCA – New system of trade union training, was promoted by the Union of Autonomous Trade Unions of Croatia (SSSH), in partnership with the Metalworkers’ Trade Union of Croatia – Industrial Trade Union (SMH-IS), the Trade Union of the Construction Industry of Croatia (SGH), the Trade Union of Tourism and Services of Croatia (STUH), the Autonomous Trade Union of Energy, Chemistry and Non-metal Workers of Croatia (EKN) and the Commercial Trade Union of Croatia (STH).

The project, which began in July 2015 and ended in July 2016, received funding of just under €240,000 from the European Social Fund.

Modernised union training – target groups and aims

The main aim of the training was to enhance the social dialogue capacity of trade unions. The target groups for the EDUCA project groups were:

  • experts from trade unions affiliated to SSSH involved in training trade union and workers’ representatives;
  • shop stewards, members of shop stewards’ committees, members of works councils and activists of affiliated trade unions.

The beneficiaries were all members of trade unions affiliated to SSSH.

The project’s main objective was to set up a new uniform system of education for trade union and workers’ representatives administered by SSSH and based on modern methods of adult education and training. It was not limited to a one-way transfer of knowledge but incorporated a significant element of skills development needed for trade union and workers’ representatives’ positions. All the project activities were necessary steps towards setting up a quality trade union education system which has long-term sustainability.

The first phase of the project was an assessment of current learning and training in trade unions, and involved representatives of all unions affiliated to the SSSH. The findings were the basis for planning the structure of a new system of trade union education and a starting point for the preparation of a catalogue of training programmes which covers all areas where a need for learning was identified.

In the second phase, 10 training courses were drawn up covering topics such as the production of education manuals for trainers and participants. A group of 20 trainers (mostly from the SSSH or affiliated unions) were selected to train the trainers in three two-day workshops.

In the final phase, pairing of the 20 trainers delivered each of the 10 courses for the first time.

Project outputs

The project structured a new system of education and prepared the curriculum for the 10 educational courses. A new section of the SSSH website has been dedicated to education. A database has been set up to monitor aspects of trade union education activities such as participants, training activities and evaluations. Finally, a user-friendly booklet, EDUCA@SSSH – Your place for trade union education, has been made available on the website. The booklet gives basic information about the new system of trade union training and includes a detailed overview of the contents of the 10 courses making up the programme of basic training.

Positive results

An internal evaluation confirmed the positive impact of the project, particularly its potential to improve the capacity and knowledge of trade unions as social partners. Particularly praiseworthy is that the education programme can benefit various groups of participants and that the training can be provided by trade union staff. Future education programmes will require participants to pay a small fee.

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