Learning brokers – who act as matchmakers between individuals and organisations providing education or training – play a vital role encouraging the ‘education-shy’ to get involved in learning, according to a report by the Learning and Skills Development Agency (LSDA).
Understanding learning brokerage states that learning brokers, such as union learning reps, personal advisers and Learndirect, can not only increase demand, participation and success among non-traditional adult learners, but also help training organisations to make courses more accessible and engaging.
According to the report, brokers can also persuade employers to take workforce skills seriously by "clearing a way through the thicket of the education system to the college or training provider that best suits their clients’ needs".
It calls for a strengthening of advice and guidance services within the workplace and the community. It also stresses that the impact of brokerage can be limited by organisational factors, workplace relations and conflicts of interest.
Darshan Sachdev, LSDA research manager, said: "Learning brokers can help to sell the benefits of education and training and change the way that it is provided. It is particularly effective at engaging the “hard to reach” – people with little contact with education or training since leaving school, both in the community and the workplace. But to be really effective, brokers must be totally impartial."