Work Related Learning


What is work-related learning?

The formal definition of work –related learning is: Planned activity that uses the context of work to develop knowledge, skills and understanding useful in work, including learning through the experience of work, learning about work and working practices, and learning the skill for work. A simpler way of putting it is “FAT”: Work-related learning is For work, About work, Through work. In the context of the simple definition:

  • For work is about developing skills for enterprise and employability (for example, through problem-solving activities, work simulations, and mock interviews).
  • About work is about providing opportunities for students to develop knowledge and understanding of work and enterprise (for example, through vocational courses and careers education).
  • Through work is about providing opportunities for students to learn from direct experiences of work including developing the employability skills and “can-do” attitude that employers value. For example, through work experience or part-time jobs, enterprise activities in schools and learning through vocational contexts in subjects.

The underlying aims of work-related learning are:

  • To provide employability skills;
  • To provide young people with the opportunity to “learn by doing” and to learn from experts;
  • To raise standard of achievement;
  • To increase the commitment to learning, motivation and self confidence of students;
  • To improve the retention of young people in learning after the age of compulsory schooling; • To develop career awareness and the ability to benefit from impartial and informed information and guidance;
  • To support active citizenship;
  •  To develop the ability to apply knowledge, understanding and skills;
  • To improve understanding of the economy, enterprise, personal finance and the structure of business organisations and how they work; and
  • To encourage positive attitudes to lifelong learning.


Why is work-related learning important?

Increasingly, young people want to see that their education is relevant to their future working lives. They want to be sure that what they are learning is going to help them become more employable work-related learning “connects learning with earning” and, for many, this is a strong motivator.

What does work-related learning look like?

All students experience work-related learning at some point in their education – although sometimes they might not know it! They will certainly take part in it during the last two years or their compulsory education [key stage 4] because it is a statutory part of the curriculum at that stage.