The Federation has held the Skills Development Symposium since 1985 to bring elected student representatives, volunteers, and students’ union staff together to develop a broad range of skills required to effectively operate a students’ union.


The Symposium is a three-day conference, typically spanning a weekend. The weekend includes workshops and seminars from students’ union staff and professionals from organisations like CUPE BC and Earnscliffe Strategy Group. There are also plenty of opportunities for networking so students can exchange information, share successes and challenges, and build relationships with elected members from other students’ unions in an informal setting.

Past sessions offered include:

  • Introduction to how Post-Secondary Education in British Columbia operates

  • Navigating Institutional Governance

  • Public Speaking

  • Social Media

  • Effective Meeting Participation & Facilitation

  • Protecting the Right to Organise: Directors’ Responsibilities

  • Media Relations

  • Working Collectively: Directors, Volunteers and Staff

  • Understanding Students’ Union Finances

  • Membership Outreach

  • Negotiating Contracts

  • Strategic Planning


Last year’s Symposium marked the 36th year of hosting this skill-building event and it was such a joy to bring student leaders from across the province together after having to postpone the symposium in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students gathered in Vancouver where they were able to attend 10 informative sessions, network with other students’ union directors and staff from across the province and leave with the skills necessary to do their jobs to the best of their ability! 




Students were also given access to the materials from all sessions to take back to their students’ unions including a revised Students’ Union Directors’ Resource Guide to assist with director training. The Students' Union Director's Resource Guide is free for directors at BCFS member local students' unions.

Not a member? If you're interested in purchasing the resource guide for your students' union email [email protected] to learn more.