Work Based Learning

Work based leaning is a strategy used in education that offers real life work experiences to students in which they can use their academic or technical skills and help to improve their employability. This is a very useful way to build on ones’ skillset and add to your curriculum vitae.

Usually it comprises of a series of University accredited courses which means the students or learners needs are met and also the employer’s requirements for job experience and qualifications can also be met.

WBL aka work-based learning is targeted to bridge the gap between learning and actually doing.


WBL as a Strategy

This strategy can provide career awareness and good career opportunities in addition to helping you with career planning. It also helps students gain other skills such as a positive work attitude, team work skills and just some general experience of working in the ‘work’ environment.

Normally, a work based learning arrangement involves a mixture of arrangements, including things like apprenticeships, work placement and informal learning on the job.


Types of Work Based Learning


There are a multitude of different sorts of work based learning


These include –




Apprenticeships are often organised by your college or secondary school, in conjunction with yourself. You need to have a good idea of the career you want to pursue to take this route, and it can be a great way to build a strong career foundation. But beware, the competition is hot and you will have to really WANT it to stick it out and beat the competition and land the apprenticeship. Moreso for competitive industries.

Business Field Trips


This is a short term but still useful way to gain experience, you can expect to see things on a day trip and network with people who may be able to give you tips and career advice on how to land your dream career.

Entrepreneurial mentoring experiences

This involves studying under an entrepreneur who runs an SME, generally it is a route into employment with this sort of company if you perform well. As with any work experience, do your due diligence on the company and its operating areas. Dress to impress. Be on time, be polite and try and gel with the company as soon as possible.

Job Shadowing

Similar to the above option, this involves working under a key staff member (or any staff member) at an organisation and seeing how they do things, what their role involves and how an organisation is run. All key skills for developing a solid career path.


Being mentored by someone is the tried and trusted method of getting up to speed with a job, profession or role as quickly as possible. They will be your guide, but you still have to perform and impress them. Again, if you perform well, you could well land a role with the company after the work experience is over.

College or Uni based enterprise

This involves your College or University actually launching their own enterprise (for example, a second hand book shop for academic texts on the campus) This can be fabulous experience and a great team building exercise as well. You will get out of something like this, what you put in to it, and it can be great on your CV if its a big success!