Role of the company in work-based learning
The role of the company in the process of introducing and implementing work-based learning is crucial and an essential component. The workplace environment is where learners experience real life scenarios, improve their skills and implement all the knowledge acquired during the theoretical part of the learning process.
Therefore, it is very important, that companies engage and create a welcoming and safe environment offering efficient support to their learners. Considering the often negative perception of WBL by different stakeholders, it is crucial to highlight that companies get all the mutual benefits of work-based learning, and we need to promote a positive narrative of WBL through the development of sector-specific case studies and success stories and market these to the wider public encouraging engagement and uptake of WBL opportunities.
The first step on the journey towards introducing WBL within your company is to become conscious of the reasons why work-based learning is a win-win situation for everyone involved in the process and become familiar with the national regulations and process of implementing work-based learning. This stage of the planning phase requires and involves also a certain level of autonomy and innovation by planning and creating customised training programmes, suited to specific needs of the stakeholders and the company itself. Ensuring the success of WBL companies should consider a whole range of needs and expectations of the stakeholders while planning their training programmes, accompanied by a good marketing strategy.
Corporate Social Responsibility
“Corporate Social Responsibility is a management concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and interactions with their stakeholders.”
Carroll's CSR Pyramid is a simple framework that helps argue how and why companies should meet their social responsibilities. Socially responsible companies should consider all of these responsibilities and implement measures and introduce activities that will contribute the creation of socially responsible societies.
The overall reputation and perception of WBL could be rapidly improved by involving a larger number of CSR initiatives in companies, that are currently applied more by large corporations, while small and medium-sized companies still need to be encouraged and supported to offer WBL. Following the good examples and good practices of larger companies others may be encourage to partner in the WBL process.
WBL as a CSR initiative offers companies the opportunity to educate and train their employees to become more familiar with the WBL process, to improve the overall perceptions of the WBL, creating models and good practices that introduces WBL students as valued members of the team and also increases the attractiveness of WBL for learners.
Looking at the perspectives of WBL in the future, CSR really matters.