Equity has revealed plans to overhaul its student membership scheme, bringing in a graduate membership bracket and a student deputies committee for the first time.
The union has about 5,200 student members, but said conversion rates from student to full membership “could be higher”.
As a result, a new graduate membership band will be created, to help the transition for members who have recently left education and started work.
A student membership costs £18.25 per year, with the price of full membership starting at £125. The new graduate band will cost half the price of full membership, in an attempt to bridge the gap.
During the two-year graduate membership period, individuals will be entitled to the same contract advice as full members, as well as being able to vote in union elections and to stand for election to committees – none of which are available to student members. After two years, they will be transferred on to full membership if criteria is met.
Equity is also introducing a student deputies network for a trial period.
The union has deputies networks for areas such as the West End and opera, however it will be the first time a specific network for students has been formulated.
The group will meet twice a year, with one meeting open to all student members. Two individuals will also be elected to attend the annual representative conference as observers.
Assistant general secretary Matt Hood told The Stage that the network had been created to engage student members with the union at an earlier stage and also connect students from different drama schools and colleges.
“We want to find out what the issues are in drama schools among our student members, that we can then look to address. It’s also to allow them to share between each other, and find out common issues,” Hood said.
In addition, the closure of Drama UK  has prompted Equity to consider reviewing the courses whose graduates qualify for full membership.
The list of courses Equity recognises are Drama UK-accredited, however Hood said Equity hoped to work with other bodies and the wider industry to ensure the list was up to date.
He added, however, that plans were in their early stages and would be brought back to council for further consideration.