Connecting School to Work: How Work-Based Learning (WBL) Improves Job Opportunities for Youth

Marleen Ducker, John Vavricka, Guillermo Cruces, Nancu Cervin, Magdalena Wilson, Mesulu Mulugeta Gebre Maskel
RTI International, Center for Distributive, Labor, and Social Studies (CEDLAS), International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Latarite, POTENTIAL Project
Resource Type: 
Publication Date: 
Oct 2, 2019


In today’s fast-changing work environment, Work-Based learning (WBL) - which includes apprenticeships and internships – provides a critical link between training providers and the business community. In the Global South, WBL is also instrumental in improving youth transitions from school to work.

WBL’s contribution to young peoples’ learning, enterprise productivity, and innovation is increasingly recognized by practitioners, employers and policymakers worldwide. The benefits of WBL can include matching skills in demand in the labor market; encouraging youth to get out of the classroom and into structured workplace experiences; helping youth to link knowledge gained through their program of study with the skills and attitudes demanded by employers in the workplace; and connecting students to mentors who can provide ongoing support to youth as they make their transition from school to work.

Nevertheless, discussions on youth and employment often neglect the fact that work is something that is “learned” and the capacity to engage in paid employment is a hallmark of adulthood. This Deep Dive Summit Session will offer new evidence on why WBL matters and its benefits for youth, enterprises and governments.

The interactive discussion will be bring together insights from both practice and research, offering new evidence on WBL in LMICs, in particular in contexts of high informality. Participants will be asked to engage on key questions such as what are the challenges of WBL in LMICs and what can we do about them? How can WBL have an impact at scale in contexts of high informality? How can other stakeholders – the education system, private sector and government – strengthen their links to support WBL?

Workforce Development
Community Development
Financial Literacy/Education
Market Development
Non-formal Education
Training & Capacity
Vocational Education