Work-based Learning

Work-based Learning (WBL) means a continuum of awareness, exploration, preparation, and training activities that combine structured learning and authentic work experiences implemented through industry and education partnerships. The primary purpose of WBL is to provide learners with learning experiences that integrate knowledge and theory with practical real-life work activities. Work-based learning is playing an important role in improving learners’ professional development and learning. As the nature of work and careers changes, work-based learning can prepare students to engage in active learning both at work and in the classroom and develop new skills throughout their careers.

This report “ESSA Work-Based Learning” presents the set of educational activities designed and organized to achieve the ESSA learning objectives and accomplish a specific set of tasks. Work-based learning has been designed and adopted into the ESSA learning programmes to ensure the acquisition of knowledge and skills through carrying out – and reflecting on – tasks in a vocational context, either at the workplace or in a learning institution.


Main results

  • Work-based Learning is an indispensable component of ESSA Software Strategy and of each learning programme defined and described. As such an irreplaceable tool, WBL is recognised and acknowledged by all ESSA partners.
  • A comprehensive amount (26) of best-practice WBL examples from ESSA learning programmes are described, analysed, and systemised for use by learning providers in developing the WBL components for their learning programme descriptions.
  • Out of the 26 selected WBL examples, 5 are presented in detail in the Annexes 1-5 of this report. These can be used by learning providers to support them in developing WBLs for their learning profile, needed learning outcomes, and type of WBL needed. Descriptions of all the 26 WBL examples are available in the full documentation of ESSA Work Package 4.
  • Analysis of what are the criteria of WBL components delivering the best learning outcomes (see Chapter 5.1).
  • Recommendations on how to develop, implement and use WBL components in software skills learning programmes (see Chapter 5.2).


The defined ESSA work-based learning components, recommendations and examples serve as a foundation for the design and use of WBL components of curricula, and effective learning programmes for skilling, upskilling, and reskilling people into in-demand software roles.

The described WBL components have been used and tested in ESSA pilots. The overviews of example WBL materials serve to support learning providers in developing comprehensive WBL components for any software skills curriculum and learning programme.

Use of this report

This document can be adopted by trainers, teachers, education providers and the key actors of the sector to obtain content and information on the practices of employing work-based learning in different learning programmes for software roles at different EQF levels (4-7).

This document gives learning providers tools to identify and develop WBL components best suitable for their needs and objectives.