Matching training needs and opportunities: The case for training brokers in the Australian agricultural sector
Kilpatrick, SI and Fulton, A and Johns, SM, Matching training needs and opportunities: The case for training brokers in the Australian agricultural sector, International Journal of Lifelong Education, 26, (2) pp. 209-224. ISSN 0260-1370 (2007) [Refereed Article]
Lifelong learning has been linked by policymakers to economic and social wellbeing. This paper introduces the concept of training brokerage as an efficient way of meeting the needs of learners, industry and education and training providers. It presents findings from a study of the features, processes and outcomes of training brokerage arrangements within the Australian agricultural and natural resource management sectors. The purpose of the study was to identify and promote effective brokerage arrangements and models. The study used multi-method, multi-site techniques, comprising a telephone survey, case studies of good broking practice and stakeholder participation through workshops and a reference group. Training brokers act as facilitators or intermediaries in identifying and matching training needs and opportunities. They have close links with industry, and extensive networks that include reputable training providers. Brokers work with others to identify training needs and engage participants, and to identify, negotiate and plan appropriate training. Evaluation and further training are a key part of the process. Effective broking activity is underpinned by a series of ten generic principles. Brokerage has implications for the agricultural sector in developed and developing countries, in terms of improving the match of training provision to training needs, communication, coordination and collaboration across regions and industries. It also has broader implications for facilitating participation in client-driven lifelong learning, particularly for disenfranchised learners.