Work-based degrees - information for employers
Train your workforce
Our Learning at Work degree courses allow your employees to get an undergraduate Bachelor's or postgraduate Master's university degree while they work, without going to university full time. Your staff will mainly be assessed on what they do at work, reducing the time they'll spend studying.
Supporting your staff in their professional development is commercially valuable to your organisation. Once they've successfully completed their work-based degree your staff will have enhanced strategic awareness, greater knowledge of best practice and increased motivation to perform in your workplace.
Our courses are suitable for both military staff and employees in private and public organisations, and your staff will study with students from around the world.
Your employees can study their degree entirely through distance learning but they're also welcome to attend University-based taught classes.
Staff can start a work-based degree in either September or January and can choose from courses including:
- Undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Business, Engineering, Maritime Studies, Applied Science, Applied Computing and Professional Studies
- PGCert and MSc courses in Occupational Health and Safety Management and Occupational Health, Safety and Environmental Management
7 reasons to support your staff through work-based degrees
There are many benefits to supporting an employee on a work-based degree, for both your employee and your organisation, including:
- Employee education and personal development brings commercial and strategic awareness to their role
- Their learning programme includes staff involvement in commercially valuable work projects
- Staff can share knowledge of best practice and latest technologies with the whole organisation
- Better qualified staff enhance the organisation's position in industry
- Staff supported in getting further qualifications show increased loyalty to their employers
- Employee motivation is increased as they develop their skills
- You retain staff who otherwise would have to take a career break to get a University qualification
There are no standard entry qualifications for work-based degrees – the Learning at Work team assesses all applications individually.
However, as the course is work-based, you'll need to be employed or self-employed in a full-time, part-time or voluntary role throughout your studies. A work-based degree may not be suitable for staff on temporary or short-term contracts.
Once your employee has selected the work-based degree they want to do, we'll support them and you to design a learning programme that fits best with their work schedule. We set the framework for the degree and assess their work, but they choose what to learn, how they will learn and what evidence they will deliver for assessment.
Your employee will get academic credit from the following sources during their learning programme:
- A learning management module, which helps them plan their learning and prepares them for doing research and writing reports
- Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), where they use the knowledge, skills and experience they've gained from training courses, employment, voluntary work, private study and previous attendance at college and/or university
- Attending campus-based or distance learning taught modules
- Work-based learning projects – projects that involve learning new skills and knowledge and where most of the work for these is done in their normal working hours
Our Occupational Health, Safety and Environmental courses are accredited by either the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) or the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA). If your employee plans to do one of these courses, they'll do a work-based project once they've successfully completed the taught modules.
- The Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET)
- The Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE)
- The Institute of Healthcare Engineering and Estate Management (IHEEM)
- The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST)
- The Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS)
- The Society of Operations Engineers (SOE)
The learning management module
This module lets your employee develop a learning contract. This contract will outline the details of their learning programme, their objectives, the justification behind their proposal, their course content and proposed timetable.
The learning management modules gives your employee key reflective opportunities as they progress through their learning. It also specifies the evidence they'll need to present for their assessment.
Work-based learning projects
Your employee will get the majority of their academic credits for this work-based degree from work-based learning (WBL) projects. The projects:
- Must involve new learning – activities can't be the same activities involved in their regular role
- Should provide commercial value to your organisations
- Can be done mostly during normal working hours
Work-based degrees aren't tied to an academic calendar. Your employees can start a degree in either September or January, but the duration depends on their circumstances at work and home. Work-based degrees accommodate for unforeseen events that may delay the programme.
Past work-based learning projects
To get an idea of the type of work-based learning projects your employee could work on, here are some past projects completed by students on work-based learning degrees:
- Implementation of an occupational health programme in a mining company in Ghana
- Development of emergency response and recovery plans
- Analysis of piracy as a threat to maritime security in Nigeria
- Development of conservation objectives for offshore oil and gas operations in the Gabon
- Design and development of pneumatic test bench for cylinder test purposes
- Analysis and management of major risks in Mega Road Construction Project in Qatar
- Development of management processes for removing redundant equipment safely and cost-effectively
- Incorporation of a vessel traffic information management system (VTIMS) and a marine simulator facility (MSF)
- License application for self-production power using solar/photovoltaic system
How we support you
When your organisation supports an employee on a work-based degree, we recommend that you assigned a workplace mentor to your employee. We'll provide the employee's workplace mentor with support materials including further guidance on mentoring and form templates they can use.
How we support your employee
We also support your organisation by providing your employee with:
- A personal tutor
- Access to a virtual learning environment with resources and activities such as online tutorials, lectures, webinars and virtual tutor-led discussion sessions
- Support for academic writing from the Academic Skills Department
- An invitation to an induction session (either offline or on campus) at the start of their course
- Access to our library and its vast selection of electronic resources including ebooks and journals, which students can access from anywhere
Funding work-based degrees
As an employer, you're not obligated to cover the cost of a work-based degree. However, you can pay for the course or contribute to the fees. If you work in the military, you can access the Enhanced Learning Credits Administration Service (ELCAS) to get work-based learning funding.
We have a dedicated Learning at Work team who can answer any further questions you have about work-based degrees.
Email us: email@example.com
Phone us: +44 (0)2392 846260
Other ways to train your workforce
Get support from the government to support your staff achieve a full degree and skills they can apply to your business.
Support your staff in their continuing professional development through our short courses developed by researchers and industry experts.