Last Updated: Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Work placements and work-related learning

What is this?

Explore the context of work placement and work-related learning activity in Scotland’s establishments.

Who is this for?

This resource will inspire schools to review and enhance their own good practice. It will also be of interest to employers and parents/carers.

​This resource outlines the context of work placement and work-related learning activity in Scotland’s establishments. It illustrates the progress that schools have made in order to meet the recommendations for Developing the Young Workforce, the Work Placements Standard, the Career Education Standard (3-18), and the Guidance for School/Employer Partnerships.

The resource provides an overview of the commitment to support young people in order to make the most of their opportunities in life. It also provides exemplification to support further implementation of work-related learning opportunities nationally.

Explore this resource


The Work Placements Standard is one of a suite of three documents, along with the Career Education Standard (3-18), and Guidance on School/Employer Partnerships, and should be seen as clarifying expectations and providing helpful support and guidance. The standard is built on the comprehensive advice and guidance presented in Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) and throughout the Building the Curriculum series. There is a particularly strong association with key messages contained in Building the Curriculum 4: skills for learning, skills for life and skills for work.

Work-related learning

There are currently a number of ways young people can develop skills for work from 3-18. Educational establishments are using a wide range of strategies to ensure that all young people and children have an opportunity to experience the world of work. This will build skills, knowledge and capabilities allowing young people to learn and develop throughout their broad general education and senior phase.

Work-related learning - Career Insight, Enterprise, Work Inspiration and Simulated Environments is a resource which outlines the context of work-related learning activity in Scotland’s establishments.

Watch YouTube video showing Tony McDaid - Why has work-based learning become so important?


Guides and toolkits have been created to help stakeholders understand the link between schools and their industry partners. These resources offer information that will ensure all young people have the opportunity to experience the world of work.

Teacher guide

Young person guide

Parent/carer guide

Employer guides


It will be the responsibility of all partners to address the issue of equality. While this standard is expressed as a universal entitlement for young people to gain experience of work, it needs to be clear that not all young people enjoy the same advantages or face the same challenges. Their backgrounds and circumstances must never limit their potential and all partners will seek to develop practice which ensures improved outcomes for all young people.


Work placement practice

Awards and achievement

Young people’s learning is shaped by a combination of experiences within formal and non-formal learning settings, including local communities, youth groups and families. It is important that work placements and work-related learning offer young people the opportunity to record their learning. The following resources are a starting point for practitioners.

Career-long professional learning



Placements and exemplars

Work placements should enable young people to experience a relevant, challenging, enjoyable and appropriate learning experience within the contemporary workplace. A work placement should help the young person to make informed decisions about their future careers.

Improvement questions

  • How effectively do you plan for career education opportunities and progression pathways for learners in your school?
  • In what ways do you ensure that you meet the needs of all learners in order to develop skills for learning life and work?
  • In what ways does the curriculum provision and timetabling in your establishment incorporate career education for all learners?
  • To what extent are partners involved in delivering meaningful, work-related experiences for learners; the delivery of skills and qualifications and highlighting prospective career opportunities?