What Is Work-Based Learning (WBL) And How Can We Accelerate It?

Background of the project

Work-based Learning (WBL) is a crucial component of vocational education and training (VET) in Europe, but educational institutions and businesses use very different concepts and languages in their approaches. In order to foster cooperation between education and businesses, a bridge is necessary that builds effective links between VET schools and companies. The project team aims to mediate this process by helping the different actors “to speak a common language” by translating the educational languages of ECVET, EQF and Co. into a more practical language that is relevant for daily WBL processes in companies.

The partnership has begun this quest in a previous project that has been awarded with a best practice award in Austria in 2018: www.ecvet-goes-business.eu

Who benefits from this project?

Now, our target group includes anyone who is responsible for WBL processes in companies who we unite under the term "MENTOR". In detail, our target group includes also HR managers, line managers, shop stewards, foremen, company owners and more. These persons act as mentors for apprentices and interns, they are the link between the company and the learning person. Hence they carry a big responsibility. The problem is that the training a person like this receives in preparation for this crucial role is very different in depth and scope on national and international level. In some countries there are mandatory trainings, in others not. How can we guarantee a similar WBL experience for VET learners in Europe? The European Commission offers many transparency tools that enhance the transferability and recognition of competences and skills - but they are mostly used by educational institutions and have not proofed their practical benefit in most companies yet.

What will be the results of the project?

Therefore, the main aim of the WBL Accelerator project team is the improvement of the quality of WBL in VET systems in Europe through a business value and perspective based programme for WBL responsibles in companies. To achieve this, the partnership will develop the following products:

Explorative Research Study

The partnership has implemented national focus groups in Austria, Germany, Ireland, Malta, Slovenia, and Spain to learn more about the needs and demands of our target group. By involving 144 HR managers, business managers, foreworkes, shop stewards and other persons who are responsible for the organisation and implementation of work-based learning in their companies, the WBL processes in each country have been surveyed and analysed. The results are summarised in an transnational report in English and executive summaries available in all partner languages.

Mentor Training for WBL Responsibles

We know that time is of the essence for our target group as they mostly have their WBL related responsibilities in addition to their regular job. To face this, we will develop a training programme that combines face-2-face sessions and online content for self-directed learning.
The first has the convenient side-effect of a networking event that allows participants to find others who face similar challenges, while the latter has the benefit that it is accessible anytime and anywhere for anyone who wants to learn more about work-based learning.
Our main aim is to be practical, down-to-earth and relevant for our target group, therefore all our contents are modeled in this way and structured in tiny learning chunks that can be completed individually and as a whole. Overall, there will be 80-100 learning hours covered by the WBL Accelerator Training Programme and it will be credited with 3 ECVET points. The training course will be tested in a transnational learning, teaching and training activity and in 6 national pilot phases with the direct target group.

Handbook for WBL Responsibles

In addition to the training course, a stand-alone handbook will be published. While it will cover similar topics as the training course, the handbook will be published as paperback magazine with ISSN number and will be available as an online magazine as well for free on this website. It will include interesting articles, case studies, and practical materials.


20 Key Messages of WBL

The following key messages were deducted from the explorative research study implemented among WBL and HR personnel in all partner countries in 2019.