Students on placement in a school

Work-based Learning (WBL) gives students the opportunity to experience the world of work, completing assessments that reflect on this experience as part of their award. As long as they are assessed, and have detailed programme module specifications, WBL can include placements, client briefs, internships and paid work. Any form of WBL can be paid or unpaid.

Optional placement years are available to all joint honours students and these are always paid. This is also open to International students on Tier 4 visas. The University of Northampton will be their sponsor for this year and the student will be allowed a full time salary as part of their visa regulations.

Some programmes are accredited by professional, statutory and regulatory bodies (PSRB) – in these cases the curriculum is required to link theory with practice in the workplace.

Out of 99 undergraduate programmes, 47% include WBL, not including the optional placement year. 3,500 students engaged in WBL during 2015/16, with 90% satisfaction with the placements (through module evaluation, BIMI 2016/17). 93% of students passed their WBL modules (BIMI 2015/16).

It is in our Operational Plan that by 2019/20 70% of undergraduate programmes will include WBL.

Developing Workbased learning

When developing, organising, and reviewing WBL you will need to ask yourself some questions:

  • What are the objectives of the WBL activity?
  • Are there PSRB considerations?
  • How will the suitable organisation or contact be identified?
  • What types of academic assessment may be relevant?
  • How will you assess other skills students may gain?
  • How you will help students to link theory to practice?
  • How would ChANGE (Changemaker Attributes at Northampton for Graduate Employability (ChANGE)) be reflected within this activity?
  • What types of pre- or post- workshops and support might be required?
  • What support mechanisms will you put in place for students?
  • How will you exercise quality control for WBL?
  • What other departments within the university can help?
  • Will this be used by EWOs?