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.

Document Details
Author: QAA Scotland
Format: PDF
Size: 1000 KB

Higher Education in Apprenticeships


QAA has published guidance on Higher Education (HE) in Apprenticeships, known as Graduate Apprenticeships in Scotland. This work was complete in consultation with sector colleagues across the UK. The guidance provides support for institutions who are developing HE in apprenticeships and includes details of the approaches taken in the different UK nations.


Quality Assuring Higher Education in Apprenticeships: Current Approaches

Publication Date: 12 Jul 2018

This document describes how expectations relating to the quality assurance of higher education, as set out in the UK Quality Code for Higher Education, accommodate and apply to existing and emerging UK models of apprenticeships involving higher education at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Document Details
Author: QAA
Format: PDF
Size: 774 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.