Work-based Learning Toolkit and Partnership Plans

Introduction to Work Based Learning

Work-based learning refers to all forms of learning that takes place in a real work environment. It provides individuals with the skills needed to successfully obtain and keep jobs and progress in their professional development.

Work-based learning yields many benefits:-

  • It enables agile workforces – “Agile” is more than a buzzword; it’s a movement taking hold as enterprises of all types around the world realign in order to respond rapidly to change and opportunity
  • It creates a culture of learning and a free-flowing exchange of knowledge and ideas
  • It is highly adaptable, it is everything from an informal micro-learning session to formal apprenticeships
  • It encourages the easy sharing and updating of employee knowledge for rapid training and retraining
  • It enables employees to show what they know, with the side benefit of making them feel more important and valuable to the SME.

SMEs are constantly pressured to be more innovative, efficient and productive. We contend that work-based learning can be a powerful response to that pressure.  For SMEs, increasing competencies of their employees through innovative Work Based Learning and immersion in the key areas of entrepreneurial, innovation and digital skills has a clear return on investment – it enables them to innovate new responsive products and services demanded by older people.

Today’s employees’ value professional development. More and more businesses are finding value in providing their employees with professional development and lifelong learning courses.

There are two types of work-based learning – that which happens on the job and that which occurs off the job.

Meaning On the job training refers to a form of training which is provided at the work place during the performance of the actual job. When the employees are given training outside the actual work location, such a type of training is termed as off the job training.
Approach Practical Theoretical
Active participation Yes No
Location At the workplace Away from the workplace
Principle Learning by performing Learning by acquiring knowledge
Work disruption No, because trainees produce the products during learning. Yes, because first training is provided which is followed by a performance.
Carried out by Experienced employees Professionals or experts.
Cost Inexpensive Usually Expensive


In the next sections, we will look at each of these in detail.

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