Work-based learning (WBL) is an integral part of the Degree programmes we offer here at Highlands College. It doesn’t mean an easier option for learners, it doesn’t mean a cheaper option for organisations and it doesn’t mean that lecturers put most of the burden for generating and supporting learning in the workplace on the shoulders of overstretched practitioners.
WBL is an alternative way of engaging in meaningful, relevant learning experiences that enhance professional roles and confidence to practice. To engage in learning in the workplace the learner needs to have a level of determination to be self directed and engage in deep learning and they can do this through the support from both the WBL tutor (college) and a WBL mentor (organisation).
Developing our partnerships between work organisations, HE and learners is an ongoing activity and one which is at the centre of everything we will develop moving forward. It has to be because it is supporting learning in an environment that it constantly changing.
There is no doubt that it is difficult to gain a fine balance between the demands and opportunities provided by the workplace and the need to develop capable practice, support personal development and maintain academic validity; however, the evidence so far indicates that the work-based learning programme put in place for our students is both effective and robust.
If you are a new organisation looking to engage with the process then you too can also have positive implications for the organisation as a whole
Benefits to Organisation
- Widening of skills base and competencies in line with the organisations strategic goals
- Increased staff morale and job satisfaction
- Reduction in the service/education gap
- Alternative to external training, more cost effective personal development programme
- Develops habits of trust and confidentiality
- Gives senior management a more informed view of the organisation’s talent
- Improved teamwork and cooperation
Mentors have a varied role and at some time over the duration of the relationship a mentor will probably fulfil a wide range of functions. In WBL, the mentor’s primary role is one of a critical friend‟ who shares their own experience and examples of good practice, contacts, offers career advice and support and encourages and provides opportunities for reflection.
So if you are thinking about becoming a mentor then take a look at the ways in which you might benefit from the experience.
Benefits to mentor
- Improves awareness of own learning gaps
- Develops ability to give and take criticism
- Develops up to date organisational and professional knowledge
- Offers networking opportunities
- Improves leadership, organisational and communication skills
- Develops ability to challenge, stimulate and reflect
- Raises profile within organisation
- Increases job satisfaction
- Offers opportunity to pass on knowledge, experience
- Provides stimulation
- Prompts reassessment of own views and awareness of views of new staff
- Sense of satisfaction knowing you have helped someone
For further information on Work Based Learning and how you or your organisation can become a partner then please contact Glenda Rivoallan, Business Development & Work Based Learning Manager on 01534 608588.