What is Work-Based Learning?

    Work-based learning is a partnership between businesses and public schools to provide on-the-job training for students at employers’ work sites, it includes:

    • Work experience (both paid and unpaid), workplace mentoring, and broad instruction in all aspects of an industry
    • Work experiences in which students have an opportunity to see firsthand how what they learn in school is applied on-the-job
    • The opportunity for students to develop skills in communication and problem-solving and it connects students with adults who act as positive role models.
    • Experiences that give students a taste of career responsibilities on a day-to-day basis and hands-on training in a chosen career cluster area.


    Elements of a Work-Based Learning Experience

    Work-based learning experiences at the work site must contain the following elements:

    •  A planned program of job training and work experience for students (which includes training related to pre-employment and employment skills) to be mastered at progressively higher levels and coordinated with learning in the school environment leading to the awarding of a skill certificate.
    • A sequence of activities that build upon one another, increasing in complexity and promoting mastery of basic skills.
    • Expose students to all aspects of an industry to promote the development of broad, transferable skills.
    • Provide real tasks and assignments that push students to develop higher-order critical thinking and problem-solving skills.


    Types of Work-Based Learning Experiences

    Some work-based learning experiences are listed below:

    • Job Shadowing – A student “shadows” an employee at a company location to learn about an occupation or industry. Job shadowing can help students learn about different industries, jobs, or careers.  The job shadow can be for a half day or a full day.
    • Clinical/Specific Course Experiences – Some courses have “built-in” opportunities to engage in work-based learning experiences and results in course credit. Health science classes with a clinical rotation at an approved site with a registered nurse or daily opportunities for students enrolled in Early Childhood classes who observe and participate at a child care site are examples of these course experiences.  These students receive course credit, but do not receive monetary compensation. 
    • Cooperative Education – Students alternate or coordinate their high school studies with employment in a field related to their academic or occupational objectives. Students with businesses develop written and evaluation plans that guide instruction.  Usually one or two semesters (10-15 hours per week).  Students receive school credit and financial compensation. 
    • Internships – Students work for an employer for a 135-150 hours (one semester) in a job or industry. Student activities may include special projects.  Student must have completed a second level course in the cluster that relates to the employment experience.  Students may or may not include financial compensation. 
    • Mentoring – Employees who possess desired skills and knowledge volunteer to instruct students and critique their performance. They challenge them to perform well and work wit the employer and teacher.  Students may be compensated, but do not need to have completed related coursework. 
    • Youth apprenticeships – These multi-year programs combine school-based and work-based learning in a specific occupational area or cluster. These are designed to lead directly into a related postsecondary program or employment.  Students may or may not be financially compensated.  Youth apprentices are often identified as individuals between the ages 16 through 24.  Frequently, the term “youth” is used to refer to apprentices who have not turned 18, or who are still high school students.  An apprentice must be at least 16 years old and be approved with Youth Employment Certificate (YEC).  For Youth Employment information, please click on the following link. https://www.labor.nc.gov/workplace-rights/youth-employment-rules    The term “youth apprentice” is commonly interchanged with the term “pre-apprentice,” although pre-apprenticeship can be a recruiting and screening tool for both adult and youth programs.  The employer determines the length and objectives of the pre-apprenticeship.
    •  Apprenticeship (registered) – Registered apprenticeship programs meet specific federally-approved standards designed to safeguard the welfare of apprentices. The programs are registered with the US Department of Labor.  Apprenticeships are relationships between an employer and an employee during which the worker or apprentice learns an occupation in a structured program.



    A group of businesses that coordinate efforts to provide apprenticeship opportunities for employment for their businesses.  Guilford County Schools works directly with Guilford Apprenticeship Partners to provide apprenticeship opportunities to our students.

    Guilford Apprentice Partners (GAP) 

      Guilford Apprentice Partners (GAP)

     Specific information about GAP may be obtained from their website www.gapnc.org.

    While GCS works to support GAP and their apprenticeship model, the application and selection processes is unique to GAP and is not necessarily the same process used by GCS.  However, once a student is selected to participate in the GAP program, it is necessary for all stakeholders (student, parent, CDC, school, and employer) to follow GCS documentation procedures until the student graduates.