QAA Scotland aims to support Scottish higher education institutions (HEIs) to develop and enhance their work-based learning (WBL) provision. For WBL students, much of their learning happens inside their workplace rather than in traditional academic settings. HEIs and employers need to work together to ensure that WBL students have a learning experience that is comparable to the standards and quality of any other student.


This work also links with recognition of prior learning and personal development planning.


Development work


QAA Scotland's development work in WBL has included:

  • Making it work: a guidebook exploring work-based learning an interactive resource that directs practitioners to information and guidance around WBL
  • The Graduates for the 21st Century Enhancement Theme
  • Supporting work on developing a UK-wide Characteristics Statement on Degree Apprenticeships
  • Scottish Higher Education Work-Based Learning Forum

Featured resource


Making it work - A guidebook exploring work-based learning

Publication Date: 13 Jul 2010

An interactive guidebook designed to help managers and staff in both higher education institutions and industry to find resources to assist them design and enhance their WBL provision.

Author: QAA Scotland
Format: PDF
Size: 1000 KB

Degree Apprenticeships


QAA has been working on developing a Characteristics Statement, defining Degree Apprenticeships across the UK.  In advance of this, QAA, in consultation with sector colleagues across the UK, published an interim statement on degree apprenticeships. This document provides support for providers who are developing degree apprenticeships and information on different practices in the different UK nations.


Interim statement on Degree Apprenticeships

Publication Date: 12 Oct 2016

This statement will provide key information about Degree Apprenticeships as they currently operate, including their context, distinctive features of the qualifications, and information about their content structure and delivery.

Author: QAA
Format: PDF
Size: 102 KB

Scottish Higher Education Work-Based Learning Forum


The Work-Based Learning (WBL) Forum was setup in May 2010, to develop and enhance WBL provision. This provided an opportunity for practitioners in the Scottish sector to come together, share practice and discuss issues and concerns about WBL. While the forum no longer meets, it produced lots of material which will continue to be useful for the sector.


The Forum got involved with the JISC project 'Taking Work-Based Learning Forward in Scotland using the Work-Based Learning Toolkit'. This project aimed to embed and enhance WBL in four Scottish higher education institutions by using JISC's WBL Maturity Toolkit.


The Open University in Scotland, in conjunction with the Forum, carried out a small-scale project related to understanding WBL in the higher education sector in Scotland.