Work-based learning is made up of classroom study (or long distance) and hands-on experience in the workplace.

More and more colleges and universities are now offering vocational work based learning courses in partnership with employers all over the country. In this article, we will provide information about the various different types of work based learning courses, as well as how they can benefit both individuals and employers.

Benefits for employers

Contrary to what many might think it is not just individuals that benefit from work-based learning, but employers too. Did you know that businesses that support learning actually benefit from a more skilled, motivated and loyal workforce? Work-based learning is the way of the future for businesses, no matter what industry they are part of.

Staff retention

Many work based learning courses can be completed via long distance learning.

Work-based learning courses can go a long way in helping businesses retain their staff. This is due to the fact that offering work-based learning enables employees to progress and achieve job satisfaction. The happier employees are in their jobs, the more likely they are to stay with their employer. Knowing that there is room for progression is also beneficial and will encourage staff to remain loyal.

Increased productivity

As we previously mentioned, work-based learning can increase employees’ morale and we all know that happier staff work harder, leading to increased productivity. The fact that they will also have the knowledge on how to do their jobs in the most efficient way possible, will also help them to increase their levels of productivity. The more productive your staff are, the better chance you stand at achieving bigger profit margins.

Enhanced competitiveness

Offering work-based learning programmes in partnership with top colleges and universities can also enhance your competitiveness as a company. This is certainly true when it comes to attracting new employees to your business. It is likely that candidates will favour your business that offers a work-based learning programme over a similar business that does not, as it shows that you are willing to invest in your employees.

Work-based learning courses equip employees with relevant skills and knowledge that they can use to do their jobs to a higher standard. Having qualified staff will obviously give you a competitive advantage over businesses that do not, by helping you to win customers and increase your prices, based on the quality of the staff employed at your business.

Types of work based learning courses

Today there are many different types of work based learning courses, some of which include apprenticeships, foundation degrees, professional body qualifications and NVQs. The type of work based learning courses and qualifications available will depend on what industry you are looking to join.


Apprenticeships are vocational training programmes which enable individuals to gain a set of skills to prepare themselves for their desired trade or the career they wish to pursue. Although anyone over school-leaving age can do an apprenticeship, they tend to be aimed at those looking for an alternative to college and sixth form studies.

Foundation degrees

Foundation degrees are vocational qualifications offered by higher education institutions. The idea behind them is that they enable individuals to learn the basic knowledge of a particular subject that allows them to go on to progress in employment or study in that field. Professional body qualifications Professional body qualifications are awarded to individuals in specific industries working towards charters. Sometimes individuals will already have university degrees in particular fields, however, professional body qualifications are considered part of continuous work based learning.

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