James, D., Bathmaker, A.-M. and Waller, R.
Evaluation of the Learning and Skills Council (West of England) work-related learning project.
BRILLE (Bristol Centre for Research in Lifelong Learning and Education), University of the West of England, Bristol.
This is the final report of the evaluation of the Work Related Learning Project. The project was funded by the Learning and Skills Council (West of England) and sought to contribute to raising the levels of 14-16 year olds’ participation, achievement and progression through high quality work-related learning. It commenced in September 2007 and was initially focused on three Local Area Partnerships in Bristol. The project extended in a second phase from September 2008 to support activity in South Gloucestershire, North Somerset, and Bath and North East Somerset. Evaluation fieldwork concluded in November 2009, by which time most project-funded activity had taken place.
The project was successful in meeting its goals, and it produces some clear pointers for further development and innovation. The evaluation shows that the Project succeeded in generating excitement in learning, in harnessing the enthusiasm of teachers, in providing new opportunities to learners bringing them into close engagement with workplaces and work related tasks, and in contributing to learners’ scope to build evidence of their learning. Whilst the design of the Project and the evaluation would not permit the measurement and demonstration of direct causality, it is also likely that the Project made a contribution to a rise in recorded achievement in the Bristol area.
This report provides a description of the Project and how it was evaluated. It notes some important contextual factors and also unintended consequences that must be taken into account when weighing up what the Project teaches us about effective curricular and pedagogic intervention. The report concludes with a number of recommendations.
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