As already mentioned, work-based Learning can provide a valuable learning experience for VET students. By allowing students to enter the world of work as a part of their education curriculum, the emphasis changes from classroom-based, teacher-centred activities to real-life, student-centred learning. Provided that certain conditions are met and that the whole WBL process is mentored and monitored, by teachers as well as employers and mentors, students can exploit the workplace as a learning resource and acquire hard and soft skills, strengthening their future working profiles.
By entering the workplace and thus coming in contact with real-life work issues students can, first of all, apply the theoretical knowledge built through their studies and try their capabilities and competencies to new and different contexts. Students can use existing knowledge and skills as a base for building new knowledge and acquiring new skills, which, in fact, can be applied immediately on the job. This offers on the one hand continuous learning, and on the other immediate feedback of the process to the students themselves. Students are motivated to manage themselves and mobilize their competences, their problem-solving skills and their creativity. Moreover, students through WBL and by entering real workplaces can gain a better understanding of their future professions and what is expected from them as future employees (Darche et al., 2009), something that offers excellent career guidance and builds self-confidence, providing a smoother school to work transition.
Beside the tacit knowledge, hard skills and work experience students can gain from WBL, another key advantage is that students have the chance to get familiar with a workplace and socialize within it. This provides them with the opportunity to acquire certain soft skills, competencies, and behaviours that are rather difficult to acquire outside the labour market. Examples of such skills, competencies, and behaviours include knowing how to act in the workplace (punctuality, responsibility, etc.), how to communicate and collaborate with others, how to plan and develop solutions to problems, how to set goals, how to manage oneself and others, how to negotiate, how to network etc. Such skills are becoming really important for the world of work today, and WBL offers a great opportunity for students to acquire them, even before they finish their studies.
Finally, WBL can offer an opportunity to generate benefits for vulnerable social groups such as unemployed individuals or immigrants, as in combination with VET in-classroom education it can offer a chance of retraining, and facilitate the entrance to the labour market.