Unit 17 Work-based Experience

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This Unit 17 Work-based Experience aims to enable learners to experience the scope and depth of learning which may take place in a work-based context by planning, monitoring and evaluating the work experience.

Unit abstract

A significant amount of learning can be achieved by carrying out practical activities in a workplace. Learning may be enhanced by taking a more formal approach to work-based activities – by planning, carrying out the activities and reflecting on the benefits of the activities to the business and to the learner. This unit is designed to allow flexibility of study for part-time and full-time students. It is expected that learners will be supervised in the workplace in addition to their academic supervisor. Learners will have the opportunity, supported by their supervisors, to negotiate and perform activities which will allow them to fulfil the assessment criteria for this unit. They will recognize the scope of what they have achieved by recording evidence from carrying out the activities. They will also gain maximum benefit by reflection on and evaluation of the work they undertake.

Learning outcomes

1 Be able to negotiate industry experience

  • Suitable organisation and location: types of establishments for placement eg industry-related work for a client brief at college, existing work environment, different department within current employer’s business
  • Negotiation: methods of contacting organisations; methods of undertaking negotiations
  • Nature of duties: type of undertaking eg routine duties and tasks, project work, development of new procedures/protocol
  • Supervisors: roles and responsibilities of academic and industrial mentors
  • Expectations of learning: aims eg proficiency in new tasks and procedures, time management and problem-solving skills, reflection, discuss progress with others, teamwork
  • Business constraints: consideration of possible limitations eg need to be fully trained, adherence to quality systems, health and safety considerations, supervision time, workload, customer satisfaction, limited staffing, cost of materials

2 Understand the specific requirements of the placement

  • Tasks: details of activities eg specific hourly, daily, weekly routine and non-routine tasks; breakdown of a project into stages; new procedures/protocol
  • Prioritise: reasons for rationalisation of the order of tasks; methods of prioritising work Plan for the work experience: methods used to develop detailed plan with schedule of tasks, proposed dates for reviews, expected input from supervisors
  • Benefits to organisation and learner: advantages to business eg allowing more routine tasks to be carried out, allowing procedures/techniques to be developed, increasing responsiveness, identifying cost saving measures; advantages to learner eg understanding how a business operates, understanding importance of teamwork, learning new techniques, development of problem-solving and time-management skills

3 Be able to undertake work experience as identified

  • Carry out the planned activities: realisation eg carrying out tasks and project work according to relevant legislation, training and codes of practice; developing new procedures or protocol
  • Record activities in the appropriate manner: systematic and appropriate recording of relevant activities eg logbook, diary, portfolio, spreadsheets, databases; list of resources
  • Revise the initial plan as required: methods used to review activities at the appropriate time to see if they meet requirements, make alterations as needed

4 Be able to monitor and evaluate own performance and learning

  • Evaluation of the quality of the work undertaken: meeting industry standards and evaluating own performance against original proposal; comments/testimony from supervisors
  • Account of learning during the work experience: details of experience gained eg new procedures, interpersonal skills, time management, problem solving, teamwork; details of evidence eg portfolio of evidence, scientific report, management report
  • Recommendations on how the learning experience could have been enhanced: alternative ideas eg different location, different brief, different time period, more/less support, better time management, better preparation


Essential requirements

Given the work-based nature of this unit, the majority of resources will be those available to learners in the workplace. The work will normally be planned to be achievable within the resource constraints of the employer. Therefore, knowledge of company structures and daily routines and expectations is essential. Learners should also have access to a wide range of research facilities including careers library and/or careers services. Tutor support and guidance are essential. Learners should remain in touch with tutors during the work experience – email is often the best way but some colleges may have access to a virtual learning environment where learners can share information and experiences with each other and the tutor.

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