Work-based learning, apprenticeships and recognition of prior learning

Increasingly, countries around the world, at all levels of development are putting work-based learning, particularly apprenticeships high on their policy agenda, recognizing its potential for reducing skills mismatch, meeting skills demand of a fast changing labour market, providing cost-effective training, promoting private sector development and smoothing transitions to the world of work.

Work-based learning refers to all forms of learning that takes place in a real work environment. Apprenticeships (formal and informal), internships/traineeships and on-the-job training are the most common types of work-based learning. These types usually – but not always – combine elements of learning in the workplace with classroom-based learning. It demands close collaboration between social partners, enterprises, public authorities and TVET institutions. Recent ILO research has included enterprise case studies on the return on investment to employers from hiring apprentices, cross-country comparisons of apprenticeship systems and analysis of the impact of work-based learning schemes.

The Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process can help those individuals, who do not have qualifications, to acquire a qualification that matches their knowledge and skills, and thereby contribute to improving their employability, mobility, lifelong learning, social inclusion and self-esteem.

The Branch's research and technical assistance on Work-based learning, apprenticeships and RPL includes work on:
  • Quality Apprenticeships
  • Upgrading Informal Apprenticeships
  • Traineeships and other forms of on-the- job training
  • Pre-apprenticeships
  • Social dialogue and Public -Private Partnerships in WBL
  • Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)