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Work-based Learning in Europe

As a driving force for an education that can react flexibly to social challenges, work-based learning has been gaining in importance for years. This is why the EPALE teams from Hungary and Germany are organizing the theme week "Work-based Learning - Driving Force for Lifelong Learning?" Click in and get new insights from Europe on this current topic every day from 24-28 February.

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Original language: German

In recent years in Europe, forms of work-based learning (WBL) have increasingly attracted public interest. In the aftermath of the European economic crisis, it became apparent that the countries in which work-based learning is a core component of the education system emerged from the crisis relatively unscathed. Against the current backdrop of social change, work-based learning has the potential to provide needs-based training to skilled workers and ensure the employability of everyone.

Work-based learning is a key driving force in contemporary education system, which is able to respond flexibly to contemporary challenges in society. For this reason, EPALE Germany and Hungary are jointly organising the Work-based Learning Week "Work-based learning - driving force for lifelong learning?".

From 24 to 28 February, as part of the focus week, we will publish one article each day from both Hungary and Germany which will provide insight into work-based learning in the context of European and international collaboration in education and training.

What does work-based learning mean?

The basic focus of work-based learning is on the acquisition of knowledge, skills and competencies which are gained while performing or reflecting upon professional tasks, either in the workplace (for example in dual vocational training) or in a vocational education and training (VET) institution. WBL features in various educational contexts: in adult learning, in VET, and also in school-based initial and continuing education and training and in higher education. WBL can thus be part of initial education and training in all education sectors or a component in continuing education and training.

Information on WBL by the National Agency at the BiBB.

Brochure “Work-based Learning in Vocational Education”

Discussion paper: “Tertiary Vocational Education in Europe”. [DE]

The aims of European educational policy

In recent years, as part of the fight against high youth unemployment, VET has become far more visible and important in terms of European educational policy. At an EU summit in 2013, key measures for tackling youth unemployment were approved in the form of the Youth Guarantee and the Youth Employment Initiative. However, in recent years the following question has also become more prominent in adult learning: how is education helping to ensure workers’ employability? Or to put it differently: what is the world of work doing to promote learning?

The question concerns both working conditions that promote learning and awareness of the potential for work-based learning. Let us take an example from the area of vocational education and training, where WBL is a long-standing tradition.

With respect to the long-term strengthening of work-based learning, international comparative studies in VET show that young people who have completed dual education and training or whose training has included a significant dual element are much less at risk of unemployment than young people with a general education or purely school-based training. Due to the high occupational relevance of the competencies acquired and put to use, this form of learning can react to specific needs and thus prepare employees for changes in their future areas of work brought about by changes in society. The following important EU strategies exist in the area of vocational education and training:

The aims of educational policy in Germany

The German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) supports strategies and measures for implementing the Alliance for Apprenticeships and seeks cooperation and consultation with the five-country group which emphasises dual education and training (Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Denmark and Germany). Developing excellent vocational education and training is also the guiding principle of the bilateral Berlin Memorandum from December 2012 with Spain, Greece, Portugal, Italy, Slovakia and Latvia.

The German Office for International Cooperation in Vocational Education and Training (GOVET) at BIBB is the main point of contact for VET cooperation and is responsible for implementing the cooperation and advisory policies of bilateral working groups and VET cooperation-based projects.

Work-based learning has long been a top priority in VET. With this Work-based Learning Week we would like to show that WBL is also practised, promoted and considered in European adult learning – and will become even more important in the future.

Themenwoche Arbeitsweltbasiertes Lernen auf EPALE- Key Visual mit Laptop, Werkzeug, Smartphone un...

Picture: ScanStock / Konstantin Kolosov

Look forward to the following articles in our Work-based learning focus:

Monday, 24 February 2020
European cooperation – in education programmes
Work-based learning is an important objective of the Erasmus+ education programme. The topic is a focal point in all three Key Actions which are implemented by the National Agency “Education for Europe”. But how exactly does it all work? Two good practice examples provide the answers!
Carry on Nurse

Part I: Interview with an employee of the Medical Centre of the Hungarian Armed Forces

It is indispensable for health professionals to have up-to-date knowledge, particularly if they work for an operational unit of the Hungarian Armed Forces. How does the institute provide for their individual development?

Tuesday, 25 February 2020
Does the digitalisation of the world of work hold new opportunities in store for adult learning?
Traditionally, learning in the workplace or within a company has not featured heavily in the world of adult learning. But what changes might the digitalisation of the world of work bring about? Are we on the cusp of a brave new world of work and learning?
Call me up!

Part II: Interview with an employee of United Call Centers Kft.

Persuasive communication techniques combined with credible presence? Find out what learning opportunities a company can offer to ensure the preparedness of its customer service colleagues.

Wednesday, 26 February 2020
Networks in Europe: Educational cooperation with respect to WBL
In Europe, the aim is to implement various forms of work-based learning (WBL). Good communication, the exchange of experiences and cooperation with relevant stakeholders are all essential for this. Networks are the ideal way to facilitate exchange and cooperation. In this blog post you can learn about the most important European networks with respect to WBL.
Learn & be motivated

Part III: Interview with an employee of a multinational corporation in Budapest

Achieving corporate goals through ensuring an individual career path? Easy as pie! Get acquainted with a multinational corporation that uses workplace learning to motivate its employees.

Thursday, 27 February 2020
Enterprise+ – Innovative Potential meets Experience
17 percent of young people in Europe are unemployed. The Erasmus+ project “Enterprise+ - Innovative Potential meets Experience” is driven by the motto “Strengthening the entrepreneurial spirit amongst young people: Become your own project!” Read all about the KA2 project here!
Get on the train!

Part IV: Interview with the head of the Baross Gábor Educational Centre

The Educational Centre is an institution with a dual role: it is involved in implementing the training programme of the company group as well as organizing the training of trainers. What resources are required for the organization to efficiently deal with both challenges?

Friday, 28 February 2020
Work-based Learning as a Pathway to Competence-based Education
Work-based learning has many aspects, ranging from informal and relatively casual learning to structured apprenticeships and training programmes. The Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB) and UNESCO’s International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training have jointly published an anthology that sheds lights on this broad field. Read more here!
Fly with us!

Part V: – Interview with the employees of Celebi Ground Holding

We all love soaring high in the sky. However, the appropriate level of preparedness of the ground staff is indispensable for this process to be as smooth and pleasant as possible. How many training sessions does it take to prepare a professional airport service staff member for their duties?

Was meinen Sie: Welche Ideen und Perspektiven aus unserer Themenwoche finden Sie gut? Welche fehlen Ihnen an dieser Stelle? Teilen Sie uns Ihre Meinung in den Kommentaren mit oder sprechen Sie uns an – wir freuen uns auf Ihre Rückmeldung!Let us know what you think: Which ideas and aspects of the WBL Week do you like particularly? Is there anything you think is missing?

Let us know your views in the comments section below or contact us directly – we welcome your feedback!

Further reading on work-based learning                                                                  

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