One of the EU’s headline targets is increasing the number of tertiary graduates, focusing mainly on academic studies. The project Work-based learning programmes in the tertiary training sector - an international comparative analysis of models and functions published its results at the end of 2017, pointing out that this approach is too narrow. The growing importance of work-based learning programmes in tertiary education and training needs to be taken more into consideration.
Boundaries between learning and working are increasingly blurring nowadays. Learning/training does not only prepare for work, it is also a substantial part of work, and work forms a substantial part of learning. Countries are increasingly introducing or expanding tertiary level programmes with vocational elements alongside academic parts, which, in some cases, leads to the acquisition of double qualifications.
For this reason, the study examines different types of work-based learning and their function in the education and training systems of Austria, France, Ireland, Norway, Poland and UK-England. Their formats vary and they are assigned to a range of training sectors. Overall, vocational programmes at tertiary level combine to create a more differentiated higher education system and link it more closely with the needs of the economy. To some extent, however, they are also expected to ease progression from secondary vocational education and training to higher education and acquisition of a higher-level technical qualification. Case studies are used to analyse governance and organisational structure. Emphasis is on the role of companies in designing education and training content, and the organisation and relevance of learning.
The project contributes to improving the visibility of work-based learning offered at tertiary level and to increasing the value attributed to it. The extent to which the higher education sector has addressed the core characteristics of the dual system and integrated it is also being analysed. The study also aids deeper understanding of EQF levels 5 and 6 and of the international education and training data provided by OECD and Eurostat.
Source: Work-based learning programmes in the tertiary education and training sector - an international comparative analysis of models and functions (H-VET) - revised by ReferNet Germany