Work-based learning and in-classroom learning should not be seen as two separate activities but rather as two complementary parts of the same educational package addressed to VET students. Learning at school should provide students with the educational and personal background needed to understand the practical aspects of their future professions. Learning through work should provide students with opportunities to apply theoretical knowledge on actual real-life work tasks and learn experientially by carrying these tasks out. This, once more, highlights the need to have an up-to-date curriculum that will be aligned with the current situation and trends of the labour market. If this does not happen, students will be receiving confusing contradicting messages and will not be able to enjoy the benefits of the WBL programme.
It is undeniable that VET schools will have the leadership in connecting the two types of learning and in taking crucial decisions, provided that they have the pedagogical knowledge and experience. VET schools, should, first of all, make sure that they prepare students for the upcoming working experience by offering high-level career guidance and planning, which will take into consideration the person as a lifelong learner, and will help them explore their interests, goals and aspirations. This way, students will be able to, first of all, choose a programme that suits and inspires them, but also to appreciate the experience and find it more meaningful. Moreover, schools should ensure that the in-classroom training is sufficient before the student can participate in an actual workplace experience, not only on a theoretical knowledge basis, but also on the basis of social and soft skills, as well as employability skills. This can happen by exposing students to a range of activities, such as educational visits and career talks, which will enable them to develop such skills and prepare them for the labour market. Schools, as a next step, should focus on creating a meaningful learning plan that takes the student into consideration and is executed by collaborating with companies.
As already mentioned, creating strong links between VET educational systems and companies is of major importance. Work-based Learning is normally divided between the traditional classroom and the workplace and thus, close cooperation of the participants from schools and companies is crucial in order to coordinate and integrate these two types of learning. One of the things that need to be decided concerns the balance between in-classroom learning and learning in the workplace. Once the total educational and training package is decided, experts from the education sector should cooperate with company experts in order to agree upon who is best qualified to teach what and how, in order to provide students with an experience that will be meaningful and useful.