AUSTRALIA'S ONLY peak body for
ALL co-ops + mutuals
Education is a strategic priority of the BCCM. We educate people and policy makers about the advantages of mutual ownership and advocate for member-owned business structures to be included in legal, accounting and commerce degree programs, like any other business model.
Our polls show although 8 in 10 Australians are members of a co-operative or mutual, only 2 in 10 of us know it!
Public awareness of co-ops and mutuals is not the only gap. Co-operatives and mutuals are largely ignored by the secondary, tertiary and private industry education systems. A 2016 audit of 40 universities found only two which mentioned co-ops or mutuals in a core subject.
This means co-operative and mutual businesses aren’t well understood by key professions such as accounting and law. Professional advice, therefore, costs more for co-operatives and mutuals than it does for other forms of business.
Co-operative and mutual education courses available in Australia
Education is one of the global co-operative principles and one of the BCCM’s strategic priorities is to increase the number of courses about the co-operative and mutual business model.
The Co-operative Management and Organisation program is extended education for co-operative professionals to enhance their career opportunities. The program teaches fundamental management skills and knowledge from traditional disciplines, as well as how such skill and knowledge can be adapted to suit co-operative, mutual, club and registered association business models. Graduates will have a comprehensive understanding of the history and roles of co-operative type organisations and sector specific management issues.
The Co-operatives Research Group is a forum for research into and teaching about all forms of mutual organisations. These include consumer, social, worker, finance, producer co-operatives and other membership-based democratic organisations. The group aims to shape and inform public policy debate on the co-operative sector, its contribution to Australia and future social and economic development potential. Throughout the year, the group hosts seminars and events.
The Executive Leadership Program for Co-operatives and Mutuals (ELP-CM) is specifically designed to meet the unique challenges faced by managers in co-operative and mutual enterprises. Many aspects of co-operative and mutual enterprise management are similar to those of other business models. This course covers important points of difference, including governance, accounting procedures, distribution of share capital and voting rights, human resources, communications, marketing and strategic purpose. The ELP-CM is designed by recognised experts Winthrop Professor Tim Mazzarol and Dr Elena Limnios.
The Co-operative College has partnered with Upskill People to develop eLearning programs for many different co-operatives and mutuals, from convenience stores and community shops, pubs and cafes, to football clubs, care co-operatives and worker co-operatives.
What would happen if workers ran their own businesses? Would worker-managed firms make the same decisions as their capitalist counterparts? Could such an economy be efficient? What policies could be deployed to promote a cooperative sector? This course covers the internal impact of employee ownership; productivity, governance and management; as well as the external impact of employee ownership; spillovers for health, democracy, and the local economy.
Farming Together’s online courses aim to develop collaborative understanding in Australian agriculture. Their first course aims to help people understand the variety of collaborative models, particularly co-operatives, prior to formation. It is designed for farming groups and consultants and is currently open for free to the public.