Strategic challenges in management of WBL

Following you will find a brief summary of the main strategic challenges identified in the consulted literature on the management of Work-Based Learning in Europe. These challenges are classified on the basis of the main areas that may hamper the proper provision of WBL in different European countries.

Cooperation and coordination

Due to specific characteristic of WBL, there is a strong need of cooperation and coordination between different organizations and institutions: ministries (mainly education and labour/employment), social organisations (business associations and trade unions), educational centers (schools and colleges), VET providers, NGOs as well as enterprises and SME.
Cooperation and coordination is needed at different levels: nationally, regionally and locally.
Those countries with a lower implementation of WBL have no tradition of schools and employers cooperating.

Financing and investment

Public funds available to support WBL are limited in those countries with a lower WBL implementation. In this cases, a higher priority is being given to other types of programmes.
There is a lack of knowledge on the areas in which employers should invest with respect to their personnel
Overall, there is a lack of strategies for investing in WBL, above all in C-VET.

Specific constraints of SME (Small and Medium Enterprises)

In most European countries there is a large number of small and micro enterprises, and these are less likely than larger enterprises to provide training
Employees from SME usually have high workloads and limited time available, and due to the small amount of staff, employees who are absent for training cannot easily be substituted by colleagues

Structural reasons varying among countries

There can be significant differences in employment and education opportunities between regions and social groups.
There is a large informal sector of the economy in some countries, which does not provide any training.
There is a high unemployment rate, particularly among young people, which reduce opportunities to participle in WBL programmes.
May be a wide gender differences in participation in the labour market between countries.
Membership in employer organisations and trade unions is relatively low.

Cultural factors varying among countries

There is a lack of awareness and understanding of what is WBL and which are the benefits that it has to offer.
There is a lack of understanding of the motivation and specific needs of the employees
The low status of blue-collar workers or attitudes towards women’s employment are limits to participation in WBL.
There is a lack of tradition of employers seeing training as part of their responsibilities.

Professional development and qualifications for trainers and learners

In some countries there is a lack of trainers who have been properly trained to implement WBL in VET.
Non-formal WBL in C-VET usually does not systematically lead to a recognised qualification, most often participants merely get a certificate of completion.

WBL models to be applied

There is not a common tool among countries in order to decide the best combination of work-based learning and classroom learning.
There is a lack of accurate approaches to decide which model of work-based learning is the best for a specific purpose.