Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Work Based Learning (WBL) - Is it worthwhile? (Freshers and more!)

Hello my lovelies!

It's been a while, hasn't it? I'm not going to go in to details about my absence but the main thing is, I'm back!

Work Based Learning. Those three words that can strike terror in to so many hearts. I'm going to explore the benefits of WBL. You may be wondering why I haven't placed this in the Freshers series, and that would be a very good question. See, this post is not only useful for uni students, but also for parents and younger students, as WBL raises many questions for so many people.

I have been through scheduled WBL experiences around 4 times throughout my life now, all of which I have found to be incredibly valuable visits. Having the opportunity to go on a placement, whether you're in Year 9 or 10, or in University, is really helpful in helping you figure out what it is you want to do in the future. If you want to teach, you can go work in a school, if you want to work with animals, you can go work in a zoo, if you want to be a scientist you can go to a lab; there's so many chances out there that you can take!

Now parents, you may have some worries or questions about sending your Year 9/10 child off in to a working environment. They're still so young! But I promise you, the experience will set your child on their career path of choice. Some of us have no idea what we want to do with our lives when we're that young, our minds flicker between being a popstar, or a footballer, or a teacher, or an astronaut; it's always something that is our ultimate dream goal. But some of us have our minds already made up. I knew from a very young age that I wanted to teach, all of my educational choices were shaped in order to help me gain an advantage in the field. I knew that my WBL placements were going to be educationally focused, and they were. I spent 3 of those placements in a school classroom working with children. But one of them I chose to explore something new, I chose to see how education can be applied elsewhere and went to work in a cathedral.

These placement opportunities allow us with the chance to explore our future, whether we have our minds made up or have no clue. Of course, they can be trying, and there tends to be some level of stress involved. However, there is a greater feeling of purpose and it provides you with a guide on how to follow your dreams. Personally, I enjoyed all of my placements, even if I did find them a bit tedious, terrifying or boring at times. I made some great friends and great connections within the field of education that may afford me later in life. 

If you're going to a university that offers a year in work or a module of WBL, I would definitely recommend taking it, or at least considering it. At Chester, the module consists of a 5 week placement that you can choose. Mine was at the cathedral but I know others who chose to work at the zoo or at activity centres or even with Guides and Brownies! It can really help to have something like this on your CV when you later venture in to the world of work *shudder*, as it shows that you have experience and prior knowledge. I'd also recommend that you actively volunteer or get a part time job whilst at university as it shows the people looking to hire you that you are hard working and didn't just drink your way through your degree. Most universities have a way of volunteering through them, however you can also go out and find those volunteer opportunities for yourself. As I am looking to teach, I sent emails out asking for volunteer opportunities at all of the schools in the nearby area and managed to get a place working with some lovely kids and some inspiring teachers. You may email 20 places and only get 1 reply, but that's exactly how it's going to be when your applying to jobs later in life so it's good practice! 

Well, that's been a whole lot of word vomit from me haha! I hope you've found this splattering of letters useful. If you've got any comments on the topic of WBL, feel free to post below or use any of my social media platforms and get in touch! Use #workbasedwhy to share your thoughts and to guarantee a reply from me. 

Thanks for reading!

Love you all!