Work-based Learning Toolkit and Partnership Plans

The Work-based Learning Toolkit comprises a series of knowledge resources which education providers, business support organizations and wider stakeholders can use to help SME’s to innovate with work-based learning. This Guide is designed to have a tangible impact on equipping SME owners to increase the acquisition of new skills of their staff through the adoption of Work Based Learning approaches. SME staff will benefit from our far-reaching research into:

  • Different models of work-based learning with a focus on those suited to fostering innovation and intrapreneurship in SME’s.
  • The most pioneering pedagogies (the theory and practice of teaching) for innovation that are most applicable to the realm of age friendly product development

The Guide seeks to encourage SME’s to:

  • change the perception of the potential of work-based learning to increase innovation
  • commit to incorporating work-based learning within their SME
  • commit to the acquisition of innovative digital skills and new product development leading to greater productivity and competitiveness and resilience

This Guide, in tangent with our Age Friendly Economy Partnerships, will lead to a more enabling environment for businesses operating in the Silver Economy. At a regional level, the ambition for a greater level of social capital, informal learning and feedback loops which will contribute to the ongoing improvement of VET and the development of further initiatives.

VET-Business Partnership Strategic Plans have been prepared using the methodology set out in the Age Friendly Economy Work-Based Learning Guide.  This toolkit (Link) is a resource to increase the adoption of innovative Work Based Learning approaches to increase innovation and intrapreneurship.  Across 4 partnerships (Lisburn- Castlereagh, Northern Ireland, UK,  County Louth, Ireland, Szczecin, Poland and  Andalucía, Spain), each region sets out:-

  • the context and justification for WBL in the region
  • the specific learning objective for SMEs with regard to new products and services for Seniors in the region
  • policy recommendations regarding the introduction of innovative WBL models
  • the role and time frame of each actor in implementing the policy recommendations
  • milestones which actors can compare progress to.


Our VET-Business Regional Partnership approach provides an important platform to create and deepen ongoing relationships between diverse institutions working in vocational education and training and enterprise stimulation in innovation and entrepreneurship. It nurtures a shared commitment to support the growth of the age friendly communities and economies. In particular Regional Partnerships work to support and disseminate the project’s presence and reach within our region and fulfills the EU Commission thinking on regional partnership structures: –

“Any public intervention aiming to further develop a sector calls for cross-sectoral fertilisation. This requires the development and testing of better business support instruments and policies that aim to facilitate cross-sectoral linkages and spill-overs. It implies fostering change amongst the sectors themselves while adding new skills and competencies.”  – EU Commission


Each VET-Business Regional Partnership has benefitted from the involvement of 10- 12 high-level policy makers or executive staff from organizations such as:

• VET providers from the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, such as regional colleges, technical schools, etc.

• Schools

• Community or non-profit groups working with various disadvantaged groups

• Local government authorities

• Social services branch of local government

• Tourism Business and Small Firms’ representatives (Chambers of Commerce, Small Business Federation, etc.)

• Statutory organizations responsible for education and economic development

• Regional Development Agencies (e.g. Local Enterprise Partnerships).

Each VET-Business Regional Partnership Strategic Plan can be utilized by academic actors, policy makers as well as by business actors, organizations and chambers. It facilitates the creation of the conditions and organizational connections that are essential for the processes promoting age-friendly economy activation.


Lisburn Castlereagh – contact for a full copy of the Plan

Click here to download: AFE-Regional-Partnership-Plan-NI-Summary (156 downloads)


Andalucía – contact  for a full copy of the Plan

Click here to download: AFE summary of the Spanish strategic plan (155 downloads)


Louth – contact for a full copy of the Plan

Click here to download: AFE Regional Partnership Plan Ireland Summary (124 downloads)


Szezecin – contact for a full copy of the Plan

Click here to download: AFE Regional Partnership Plan Poland Summary (127 downloads)

This post is also available in: Spanish Polish