The issue and scope
Work placements can be incorporated into vocational programmes in different ways. Students can take part in work placements on regular, but occasional bases, often one day per week over a year or several years. For example, this approach has been piloted recently in technical upper secondary education in Israel. Students can also spend several weeks or months in block, typically either in the middle of the programme (e.g. sandwich courses) or at the end of the programme, as for example in vocational upper secondary education in Spain. In some countries both options are allowed, for example in Australian School-based Apprenticeships participants are released from school either a couple of hours a week or for a longer block of time to attend work and training.
How work placements are structured affects the benefits that may be expected by students and employers from the experience. A placement undertaken at the end of the programme, for example, can allow students to put into practice skills learnt at school and connect with potential employers. Including short work placements throughout the programme or creating an on-the-job block in the middle of the programme may foster students’ motivation, building on and feeding into learning at school.
Examples of policy questions explored