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Who we are

About the WLA initiative

Workbase Training and The Johnston Partnership led the development of Workplace Learning Advocates (WLAs), an approach that has been successfully improving workplace learning since 2004.  The role has proved its efficacy and now to maximise its success there is an opportunity to continue working with a large national organisation.

From January 2016 Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) began to take over the role of leading the WLAs initiative.

The WLA approach is all about helping individual organisations or groups of businesses to set up learning.  This is achieved by having WLAs who can provide information and advice on learning, set up learning clubs, social clubs and other informal learning activities.  This is an initiative for employees, led by employees, offering learning opportunities at times decided by and to suit employees.

WLAs has used/will continue to use the experiences of unionlearn (the TUC’s learning and skills organisation) ULRs and Community Learning Champions (CLCs) to help develop an offer that meets the needs of employers in non-unionised settings.

WLAs are operating in several English regions including Lincolnshire, Oxford, London and the Northern regions.  Find out more about the benefits for employers and employees.

The WLAs approach is flexible and fits in with your business requirements

  • Offering resources and support to WLAs at a national level and facilitating local WLA networks where WLAs share ideas and support each other
  • Delivering training in information and advice skills to enable WLAs to support their colleagues into learning through two day courses, short courses and on-line courses
  • Helping individual organisations or groups of organisations to identify Workplace Learning Advocates and deliver relevant learning opportunities

Background Information

The Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) is a charity that was founded in 1903 and is the UK’s largest voluntary sector provider of adult education.  In 2013/14 nationally WEA delivered 9,700 part-time courses for over 70,000 students in England and Scotland with classes in almost every local authority area.  Their work in England was assessed in 2014 as ‘Good’ by Ofsted.

The WEA has a strong sense of social purpose and differs from further education colleges and local authorities due to the high level of involvement of their members and volunteers who take part at all levels in the organisation from branches to governance.

Many courses and activities are run in partnership with local community groups, charities and other organisations, often for members, users or clients of those organisations.  WEA also run many courses through local branches, which are run by volunteers.

WEA currently has four key course themes:  Employability, Health & wellbeing, Community engagement and Culture.  The WLAs initiative will help to support these four themes within workplaces and local communities.