Supporting work based learning - Work based learning - University of Derby

Supporting work based learning

A unique qualification for in-company tutors

“I found the blended learning really refreshing and engaging. It gave me lots of new ideas for my own programmes and definitely informed our level 4 programme currently running in-house.

This programme has given the academic edge to what I do every day. It has raised my consciousness of learning outcomes, quality assurance and assessment and enabled me to design and deliver a level 5 programme in-house, developing my skills as an academic and a work based learner.”

Kay Vessey, Senior Organisational Development Partner, Aurora Fashions

Through our work accrediting employers’ in-house learning programmes, we realised there was a need to better support in-company tutors. So we used our expertise and experience to devise a unique qualification for these people.

The background

While working with companies to accredit their in-house qualifications, we found we had to spend a lot of time supporting in-house tutors.

This was because, although these tutors were highly skilled and experienced, they weren’t always familiar with running work based learning programmes in a higher education context.

We therefore identified an opportunity to develop a higher education qualification in supporting and running in-company work based learning programmes.

This would provide tutors with important professional development, a recognised qualification, and ensure they met our quality standards for programmes.

Our solution

We developed a programme for tutors and trainers within companies, which helps them better understand work based learning at higher education level. This programme is unique to the sector.

We usually require in-house tutors to undertake this programme before their in-company training can be accredited.

This is so that we can ensure the material is designed and delivered in a way that meets university standards and that is fully ‘work based’, enabling people to apply their learning immediately to the business and their role within it.   Those who successfully complete the programme gain a University Certificate at Level 6.

And because it’s accredited by the Higher Education Academy (HEA) – an organisation that sets professional standards for academics – they can also apply to become an Associate Fellow of this body, bringing additional career benefits.

As you would expect, the learning material is all work based, firmly related to the individual learner and the job that they do.

Most of the studying is done using an online learning portal, which contains:

  • reading material
  • videos
  • podcasts
  • a learning log to help people reflect on their learning, especially after they have tried out a new technique or skill in the workplace.

The programme also includes some face-to-face workshops and tutor support is always available by phone and email.

This programme has been running successfully for three years and learners have included employees from Waterstones, Aurora Fashions and Showsec.