A work-based learning mentor is a key component in the academic and career development of youth. For this reason, recognizing this critical role, many schools and businesses have launched work-based learning mentoring programs. These programs create a smooth transition and a bridge between academia and a real work environment.
These mentorship programs work for the benefit of both the student-employee and the businesses. Many companies share a common problem, that of having trouble finding the right talent for their needs. For this reason, a work-based learning mentor does wonders when it comes to enriching employees with practical knowledge sought after by employers.
What Makes a Successful Employee
Academic and theoretical knowledge is quite often not enough when it comes to a successful career. The entry barriers to the workforce are high, especially when it comes to skilled labor or minorities. This is a relatively new phenomenon and caused by various reasons.
In previous decades being a university graduate was a guarantee for a successful career. Nowadays that the number of university degree holders has increased dramatically, the competition became quite fierce. College graduates now do not only compete based on their qualifications but at a deeper level.
On the one hand, there are hard skills (a university degree), but on the other hand, there are soft skills. The soft skills have to do with individuals’ personality, attitudes, and emotional intelligence. Usually, they are the ones that distinguish a successful candidate, but luckily someone can work and improve on them. For this reason, new or potential employees must have a work-based learning mentor that can successfully guide them.
The Importance of a Work-Based Learning Mentor
Work-based learning or WBL allows the development of soft skills for young employees to help them in their careers. Through internships and apprenticeships, they can work on their communications skills and relationship building with their mentor. This relationship will help them develop active listening and attention to their co-workers that will benefit their personal and professional growth.
But because soft skills cannot be quantified the same way as hard skills, it is essential to have a work-based learning mentor. This mentor can either be in the form of a school tutor or a colleague in the workplace. This mentor is responsible for the soft skills’ quality assurance and the appreciation of skills and abilities of young professionals. A mentor can guide them down to a specific professional path suitable to their personality or skills based on their qualities. Moreover, they can also ensure the quality of the procedures through which young professionals will learn the necessary skills for their professional development.
The WBL Project
The Erasmus+ WBL project wants to bring reforms to EU school curricula to connect learning with the world of work by developing their employability skills. The project intends to bridge the actors involved in the process, the students, the employers, and the school officials. The idea is that with better communication between them, schools can better equip their students with the necessary skills for a successful career. Businesses will determine the required skills that young professionals need, and schools must shape their career and WBL training path.
The WBL partners are Associazione Nazionale Dirigenti e Alte Professionalita della Scuola (ANP) from Italy, Institute of Entrepreneurship Development (iED) from Greece, Cork Institute of Technology from Ireland, Bulgarian Development Agency from Bulgaria, Associazione Euphoria from Italy, POVPO – Provinciaal Onderwijs Vlaanderen Pedagogische Ondersteuning from Belgium, and Fetico- Federacion de Trabajadores Indpendientes de Comercio from Spain.
To learn more about the project and its objectives, click here.