Digest 5

Digest of recent communications and publication received by NAEGA

Through membership of sister organisations and materials sent to us by members, NAEGA receives regular information from far and wide. This Digest is an attempt to make some of this information more widely available for members.

Margaret Hodge (Minister of Lifelong Learning and Higher Education)

Universities have to get better at providing the right advice and guidance before students embark on a course; they have to get better at providing the appropriate teaching and support to students while they are under their care'. (13 Jan 03)

Occupations online at www.connexions.gov.uk/occupations/

Jo Ward (NAEGA Chair and Open University) writes:

'We use this huge Occupations Directory and refer students to it. The Directory is now web enabled at no charge. I think it is a useful addition to the resources available to guidance workers'.

Northern Ireland website at www.ark.ac.uk/orb/

This Northern Ireland website is a joint initiative by the University of Ulster and Queens University Belfast. It contains a database of copies of NI research and conference speeches EGSA are planning to forward a number of research reports to be included within the database.

Building bridges between learners and learning providers: the 'Learning Brokers' project

The Institute for Access Studies at Staffordshire University is carrying out a research project funded by the Learning and Skills Research Centre (part of the Learning and Skills Development Agency) to investigate the role of learning brokers in building bridges between learners and all types of learning. The term 'learning broker' is used in this context to refer to individuals and organisations that act as intermediaries to motivate and support adults (post-16) to become involved in learning, and help them to succeed. The research, which will also include examples drawn from outside the education sector, seeks to involve brokers working in both formal and informal settings and will have a particular focus on hard to reach groups. The aim of the research is to develop understanding of the differing patterns of interaction between (potential) learners, brokers and learning providers in different contexts, identifying effective approaches to brokering in relation to specific groups and communities.

The project will examine brokerage in the workplace and within the community. Types of individual and organisations we are seeking to involve include, for example, trade union learning representatives, voluntary organisations, faith groups and arts, sports and leisure projects. The research will be divided into three phases, the first of which is based upon an open invitation to those with learning broker experience or knowledge to contribute to the research via a short questionnaire, and to nominate examples of learning brokerage within the UK. This consultation will then inform a further two research phases, the first of which will incorporate a number of case studies selected from the nominations received during phase 1 of the research. The selection will include examples of brokerage in the workplace, the community, rural and urban areas, and those working with specific hard to reach groups or neighbourhoods. The final phase will involve action research partnerships with learning brokers in which strategies for successful brokerages will be developed. Each phase will also include a participative conference to enable stakeholders to discuss the findings and inform the research process. The research will be completed by August 2004.

Visit the Insitute for Access Studies website at www.satffs.ac.uk/access-studies

There will be a Participative Conference here at Staffordshire University on Monday 17th February, where those present will be given the opportunity to guide and direct the research.

If you would like to attend this conference please complete the registration/booking form and e-mail it to Carmel Dennison at

Digest 5 prepared by Jonathan Brown.
February 2003