What is work based learning

Learn about work based learning and how they can benefit your future.

There are many ways for you to get a taste of day-to-day working life, and engaging in a variety of work based learning experiences throughout your time at University is like a taking your future for a test drive.

Internships are one way of getting industry experience, but there are plenty of others. These come under the definition of 'workplace experiences' and range from one-day site visits to job shadowing and externships. 

The insights you gain from these experiences can help you make informed decisions about the courses you take and the type of work you look for after your graduate.

Benefits of taking part in these kinds of placements:

  • You may discover roles available to you that you hadn’t associated with your degree.
  • You’ll get a clearer picture for what is important to you in a workplace culture.
  • You could find a new passion or skill set that you choose to pursue academically.

Here at Career Development and Employability Services (CDES) we can organise a range of work based learning experiences - but you can seek out your own, too. With so many different work based learning experiences available, our best advice is to start early! Our 'how to find work opportunities' workshop is a great place to begin. To find the workshop and book your place, login to MyCDES.

CDES recommends that you participate in at least one type of workplace experience during your study to help you make career planning decisions.

These experiences can build on each other: you might first attend a site visit to an organisation, then participate in work experience in another area or industry, then get back in touch with someone you met on the site visit and do an internship with their organisation. 

Work based learning experiences look great on your CV, and learning from the feedback you receive from employers will make you more employable when you graduate.

Work based learning experiences will:

  • Offer you the chance to explore a variety of careers, including those outside of your direct study path.
  • Help you understand the reality and the responsibilities of an employee.
  • Help you develop confidence and skills needed in the workplace, and will also highlight skills you need to develop.
  • Give you great networking opportunities – you never know who you might meet that could help you in your future.

Check out our health and safety information to make sure you're staying safe in the workplace.