Work-Based Learning in Ireland

Work-Based Learning in Ireland

Irene Sheridan
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6977-0.ch009
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The chapter reviews the development of work-based learning (WBL) in Ireland. As in other nations, WBL has been created following a combination of internal and external pressures. Tutors and students have recognized the need for change, but there has also been external pressure from government and employers to make education more relevant to the workplace. The change in practice has resulted in amendments to the traditional curriculum in higher education so that WBL is seen as a mechanism for preparing students for employment rather than as something for those already working. An important development has been increased recognition of prior learning, an often-essential element in WBL. Practice has been facilitated by time-limited projects, such as “Education for Employment” and the Roadmap for “Employment-Academic Partnership.”
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This chapter addresses the current understanding of work based learning in Ireland incorporating formal, non-formal, and informal learning acquired in the practice domain whether planned, or unplanned, and the integration of periods of situated learning within higher education programs as placements or internships. The chapter will provide background in terms of the history and structure of the Irish education system and will examine current higher education policy priorities. The elements that support work based learning including capacity and capability for recognition, assessment and accreditation of prior learning and the relationships between the higher education institution, the employer and the learner and the associated quality assurance considerations will be addressed. Details of a new national apprenticeship model, which provides a structure to incorporate work based learning into programs up to doctoral level through employer-led consortia, will also be introduced. The chapter will draw on reports on the state of recognition of prior learning in higher education in Ireland and work based learning initiatives in which the authors were involved. It will draw conclusions with implications for practice and policy in Ireland and elsewhere.

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