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Work-based learning

The term ‘work-based learning’ logically refers to all and any learning that is situated in the workplace or arises directly out of workplace concerns.

The great majority of this learning is not accredited or otherwise formally recognised, although arguably much of it has the potential to be. It includes learning that takes place at work as a normal part of development and problem-solving, in response to specific work issues, as a result of workplace training or coaching, or to further work-related aspirations and interests.

It overlaps with, but is not the same as, experiential learning, continuing professional development, and what is sometimes referred to as informal or non-formal learning.

It is frequently unplanned, informal, retrospective and serendipitous, though it may also be planned and organised by the individual learner, the employer, or a third party such as an educational institution, professional or trade body, or trade union.

Much of this learning is outside the scope of what higher education institutions could reasonably be expected to engage with in that it is either at too low a level academically or it is ephemeral in nature, but there is still a substantial proportion that is concerned with higher-level skills and knowledge and with the development and use of broad, high-level capability that suggests that it has capacity to be recognised and enhanced through university involvement.

Research into learning at work such as that of Gear et al (1994), Eraut et al (2000, 2005), Felstead et al (2005) and Eraut & Hirsh (2007) suggests that the most effective and valuable learning for people in work is often that which occurs through the medium of work or is prompted in response to specific workplace issues, as opposed to formal training or off-job programmes.

While this kind of learning can be purely instrumental, it can also be highly developmental particularly when it is linked to a personally-valued purpose and engaged with critically and reflectively. Responding to this there is an ongoing trend within some universities to move into the “territory” of the workplace (Scott et al 2004) to enhance and accredit genuinely work-based, often individually-driven learning, as opposed to relying on extending more established approaches to education and training into work-based settings.

Work-based learning programmes generally require a different set of practices for learning facilitation and learner support than are appropriate to taught programmes or conventional research degrees (Stephenson et al 2006, Boud & Costley 2007). The role of the tutor often moves on the one hand from being a teacher to being both a facilitator and an expert resource, and on the other from supervisor to advisor or “academic consultant” (ibid).

The role of the work-based learning tutor can be varied and extensive, and experience from several British and Australian universities involved in work-based learning suggests that activities will include: helping learners to become active in identifying their needs and aspirations and managing the learning process (Graham et al 2006) acting as a process consultant (Stephenson 1998a) helping learners develop their abilities of critical reflection and enquiry (Graham et al 2006) helping learners identify and work with ethical issues (Graham & Rhodes 2007, Moore 2007) helping learners make effective use of workplace resources (Moore 2007) developing learners’ academic skills and helping them use them in the workplace (Rhodes & Shiel 2007) providing specialist expertise (Stephenson 1998a) inspiring and encouraging learners (Moore 2007).


CYPW, HSC and Dementia Care Training

Dementia Caregiver

Researchers have attempted to understand the demands of being a dementia caregiver.

Findings suggest that familial caregivers experience a range of difficulties such as burden (van der Lee et al., 2014) and burnout (Astrom, Nilsson, Norberg, Sandman, & Winblad, 1991).

Burnout is common in human service workers and has been described as “physical, emotional, or mental exhaustion, especially in one’s job or career, accompanied by decreased motivation, lowered performance, and negative attitudes towards oneself and others” (VandeBos, 2007, p.140).

Three different dimensions of burnout have been identified; emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation and decreased personal accomplishment (Maslach & Jackson, 1981). Emotional exhaustion refers to the reduction of emotional resources leading to irritability and fatigue. Depersonalisation comprises of a carer attempting to emotionally distance themselves from the care recipient and personal accomplishment is how competent an individual feels in their work.

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Apprenticeship and coherence

The traditional apprenticeship model has its roots in the medieval guilds where the apprentice worked with a highly skilled specialist.

This model of learning has been regarded as a journey through a series of stages of increasing complexity, supported by a master. The journey has provided the apprentice with the opportunity to mature not only in occupational expertise but also personally and morally (Fuller and Unwin 2009).

Apprenticeship as a way of occupational preparation has been institutionalised in various ways in the course of history. As a specific mode of learning, it is generally characterised by observation, imitation and practice in an authentic workplace setting. Apprentices are not taught; they learn as part of everyday life and comprehend the knowledge they need to carry out their tasks, and their individual engagement is essential (Billett 2016). It has been argued that the idea of apprenticeship may provide a basis for an inclusive social theory of learning (Guile and Young 1998).

The renewed interest in the apprenticeship mode of learning is related to the practice turn in the learning theory, emphasising learning as participation in socially situated practice (Lave and Wenger 1991). The focus is not on individual cognitive abilities and learning as acquisition. According to this perspective, learning occurs as a socialisation process that involves the learners’ steadily increased participation in social practice. Moreover, a crucial point is that learning cannot be understood without reference to the context in which people act.

Along with the practice turn in the learning theory, there has been a growing interest in workplace learning. The focal point for strengthening professional development has shifted from courses and programmes to professional learning as an aspect of work (Webster-Wright 2009; Timperley 2011).

Is it true that socially situated theory of learning and the focus on workplace learning tend to underpin the increased interest in field placement in higher education and an apprenticeship mode of learning? The institutionalisation of learning in schools and higher education implies a separation of the central aspects of professional competence, indicating a gap between theory and practice (Burrage 1993; Sullivan 2005; Joram 2007; Laursen 2015).

The focus on graduate employability and job readiness implies that graduates of university disciplines are expected to have acquired not just a specified body of knowledge but also the ability to apply such knowledge in practical problem solving in a reflective and responsible way.

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Work-based learning apprenticeships

In work-based learning, learners’ motivation is considered a relevant contributor to the learning process (Kersh and Evans 2010).

In career development and counselling individual perceptions of abilities (Lent et al. 1994) have been highlighted and standardised ability self-estimate measures have been developed (see Campbell et al. 1992; Harrington and Harrington 1996; Holland et al. 1994).

Learners’ personalities, backgrounds, and environments are significant factors related to learning environments at a workplace (Kersh and Evans 2010). In the developmental approach (see e.g., Super 1974, 1980) and during the early stage of career development, the focus is on educational and occupational decision-making (Kidd 2006).


Learners are engaged in processes when they pursue self-relevant goals in their daily lives (Dweck 2000; see also, Breckler and Greenwald 1986; Deci and Ryan 1991; Epstein 1990). In order to be able to influence and change belief systems and behavior patterns, data is needed from their structures and models. Earlier studies had linked Self-Direction (see Guglielmino and Guglielmino 1988; Brockett and Hiemstra 1991) to learning. Learning forms a path into changing intentions and behavior.

The three variables of Self-Direction in this research project were chosen to measure the hypothesized attitude domains of self-determination, self-regulation, and intrinsic and extrinsic motivation in relation to apprenticeship as a choice for a future education path.


Individuals interact with their environment and derive information from it.

Work-related attitudes, habits, and interpersonal skills serve as important predictors of job success and satisfaction (Fitzgerald 1986). Deci and Ryan (1985) have shown how choices initiate and regulate self-determined behaviour’s, and how a person chooses to behave in anticipation of achieving self-related goals and satisfying organismic needs.

Individual predictive behavioural models, designed and specifically selected for time, target, space, and location, are proposed to be used for both curriculum planning and person-based guidance counseling when supporting students during transitional periods to Work-based learning (WBL) apprenticeships.

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Pillars of Tertiary Student Engagement


The notion of the ‘student experience’ in higher education has a long and rich history.

Systematic measuring of the student experience has historically focused on pedagogical approaches, educational practices, and student evaluations of teaching practice (Grebennikov and Shah 2013).

Measuring attribute level evaluations of the student experience has offered institutions the ability to quantify and monitor the extent to which students’ baseline expectations are being met by the institution. Student satisfaction is a key benchmark metric of institutional performance and it continues to be prioritized in government policy.

Student engagement has been linked to an array of traditional success factors such as increased retention (Khademi Ashkzari, Piryaei, and Kamelifar 2018); high impact and lifelong learning (Artess, Mellors-Bourne, and Hooley 2017); curricular relevance (Trowler 2010); enhanced institutional reputation (Kuh et al. 2006); increased citizenship behaviours (Zepke, Leach, and Butler 2014); student perseverance (Khademi Ashkzari, Piryaei, and Kamelifar 2018); and work-readiness (Krause and Coates 2008). Engagement has also been linked to more subjective and holistic outcomes for students themselves including; social and personal growth and development (Zwart 2009); transformative learning (Kahu 2013); enhanced pride, inclusiveness and belonging (Wentzel 2012); student wellbeing (Field 2009)

Behavioural engagement

The behavioural dimension of engagement is defined as the observable academic performance and participatory actions and activities (Dessart, Veloutsou, and Morgan-Thomas 2015; Schaufeli et al. 2002).

Positive behavioural engagement is measured through observable academic performance including: student’s positive conduct; attendance; effort to stay on task; contribution; participation in class discussions; involvement in academic and co-curricular activities; time spent on work; and perseverance and resiliency when faced with challenging tasks (Kahu et al. 2015; Klem and Connell 2004).

Therefore, behaviourally engaged students exhibit proactive participatory behaviours through their involvement and participation in university life and extracurricular citizenship activities (Ashkzari, Piryaei, and Kamelifar 2018). The behavioural dimension is the most frequently measured dimension within national barometers of the student experience (Kuh 2009; Zepke 2014).

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Work-based learning

The work by Zaki et al. (2019) suggests individual attitudes, self-efficacy and perceived control is a significant predictor towards behaviour intent and these actions are motivated by individual beliefs. Thurgate (2018) and Nevalainen et al. (2018) agree that incorporating the issue of self-efficacy in training programs leads to positive change towards development in the trainee. Considering that self-efficacy can directly impact self-regulation, research suggest self-regulatory processes present as an influence towards learners’ achievement, intended behaviour, and emotional state. (Muller and Seufert 2018, Schunk and Zimmerman 2013).

According to Billings et al. (2021) and Yau et al. (2021), the care sector has seen a shift to adopt a new purpose and revised focus towards learning and task-based practice., learning behaviour, and academic achievements of students (Du Rocher, 2020; Mazzetti et al., 2020; Zimmerman, 2000).


Self-efficacy and learning strategies constructs are closely interconnected and presents as an essential component learning outcomes in workplace performance. (Sinclair and Ferguson, 2009; Zimmerman 2000).) Self-effective learners usually recognise themselves as having appropriate skills and equipped to lead (Schweder, 2019; Zimmerman).

Learners’ experiences of work-based learning in the health sector

Self-efficacy is aligned with Theory of Planned Behaviour (Azjen 1985), a determinant of individual goal intention is perceived behavioural control, and behavioural intent (Bandura 1991). Conceptually, there is no difference between perceived behavioural control and self-efficacy. Care workers surveys have identified specific experiences; self-evaluation, addressing goal setting, motivation, (positive/negative), emotional state and focusing on competence tasks (Cetin and Askun 2018)


Williams (2010) suggests that the core of WBL is learning from experience, examining underpinning knowledge and competence (Kolb 1984, Schön 1991 and Fry et al., 2003)

Workplace experiences according to Lester and Costely (2010) suggests action strategies, e.g. action learning, and communities of practice to support the learning environment. 

This self-regulation (personal, behavioural and environmental) suggests that a self-directed learner who is capable and there is an expectation to self-regulate their own learning, but self-regulated learners may not have the capacity or motivation to self-direct.

(Colomer et al, 2021, Jossberger et al., 2010). 


The learning culture within the health care sector has become task orientated, resulting in work-based learning becoming subjective. (Attenborough et al. 2019; Nevalainen et al. 2018).  Arundell et al. (2018) qualitative study, examined the views of registered care workers and newly inducted care workers. It was found that registered staff were disappointed in new care workers’ lack of confidence, and a lack of underpinning knowledge and skill. Ferrandez – berrueco et al. (2016) reports of insufficient time and a lack of preparation for supporting WBL, suggesting there is difficulty ensuring the workplace environment met the conditions of WBL. This view is consistent with the findings of Kemp et al. (2016) whereas learners who were unable to focus on tasks set within the training delivery component, and experienced negative support from the learning environment and tutor.

How self-efficacy affects apprenticeships learning

Workplace experience increases self-efficacy by enabling the individual to view a model and complete the task successfully (Chan et al.2017). Care workers predominately work within groups, and see themselves judged against their peers. Öqvist and Malmström (2018) posit that learners with high self-efficacy pursue goals that present challenges, and are motivated to participate effectively in programs. Learners who possess low self-efficacy are reluctant to challenge themselves and do not engage in challenging tasks.

(Çetin, and Aşkun 2018, Schunk 1990).


On consideration of the importance of how self-effective learning behaviour is linked between learning objectives and previous knowledge, this participation has a linear relationship with self-efficacy (Schweder 2019). This study considers an apprenticeship program is seen challenging and therefore learners need support; self-efficacy is an influential source supporting individuals to participate actively in a task (De Simone et al.2018)

Key factors developing self-efficacy in health care sectors

Self-efficacy presents as a direct effect on learning goals and influences motivation and learning strategies in pursuit of performing tasks towards goals and achievements.

(Zimmerman et al.2017).

Studies reveal care workers expect guidance, confirmation, and also support from more experienced colleagues (Attenborough et al. 2019). The inexperienced care worker learns best when they receive responsible tasks under the guidance of experienced care workers, this presents as gradual learning and responsibility (Christensen et al. 2017). However, there is little emphasis on the inexperienced care worker who should be given challenging service users, but not without the support of an experienced colleague (Philips 2012).

There is limited research into health care workers’ experiences of developing self-efficacy during a UK WBL apprenticeship program. Each care service is governed by the UK Care Quality Commission (CQC) and is mandated by Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014.


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Work Efficacy

Self-efficacy is central to health behaviour theories due to its robust predictive
capabilities. In this paper, we present and review evidence for a self-efficacy-as motivation argument in which standard self-efficacy questionnaires – i.e., ratings of whether participants ‘can do’ the target behaviour – reflect motivation rather than perceived capability.


The potential implication is that associations between self-efficacy ratings (particularly
those that employ a ‘can do’ operationalisation) and health-related behaviours simply indicate that people are likely to do what they are motivated to do.
There is some empirical evidence for the self-efficacy-as-motivation argument, with three studies demonstrating causal effects of outcome expectancy on subsequent self-efficacy ratings. Three additional studies show that – consistent with the self-efficacy-as-motivation argument – controlling for motivation by adding the phrase ‘if you wanted to’ to the end of self-efficacy items decreases associations between self-efficacy ratings and motivation.
Likewise, a qualitative study using a thought-listing procedure demonstrates that self-efficacy ratings have motivational antecedents.


The available evidence suggests that the self-efficacy-as-motivation argument is viable,
although more research is needed. Meanwhile, we recommend that researchers look
beyond self-efficacy to identify the many and diverse sources of motivation for health-related behaviours.



Self-efficacy – defined as perceived capability to perform a target behaviour (Bandura, 1977, 1986, 1997, 2004) – is a robust predictor of various health behaviours
(Armitage & Conner, 2001; Godin & Kok, 1996), including physical activity
(Bauman et al., 2012), healthy eating (AbuSabha & Achterberg, 1997), smoking cessation (Gwaltney, Metrik, Kahler, & Shiffman, 2009), alcohol abstinence (Adamson, Sellman, & Frampton, 2009), health behaviour change among cancer survivors (Park & Gaffey, 2007) and general health outcomes (Holden, 1991). Self-efficacy is the primary explanatory construct in Bandura’s (1986, 1997) social cognitive theory – one of the most often used health behaviour theories (HBTs) (Glanz & Bishop, 2010) – and is included in several other often-used HBTs, including protection motivation theory (Rogers, 1983), the health belief model (Rosenstock, Strecher, & Becker, 1988) and the transtheoretical model (Prochaska & DiClemente, 1983).


Additionally, perceived behavioural control in the theory of planned behaviour is defined and operationalised in ways that are similar to self-efficacy (Ajzen, 1991, 2002).
Thus, the concept of self-efficacy is pervasive in health behaviour science.
One of the purported strengths of self-efficacy is that it explains why people are (or are not) motivated to perform health-related behaviours, rather than merely predicting who is (or is not) motivated to perform health-related behaviours. Specifically, according to self-efficacy theory (a component of social cognitive theory that emphasises the role of self-efficacy; Bandura, 1997), self-efficacy is positioned early in a causal chain of factors that are posited to determine behaviour. Self-efficacy influences behaviour directly and
through its effects on expected outcomes of the behaviour, the setting of relevant and challenging goals, and perceived barriers to and facilitators of the target behaviour (Bandura, 1997). Self-efficacy, in turn, has four sources: mastery experiences, vicarious learning, verbal persuasion, and physiological and affective states at the time of the behavioural opportunity (Bandura, 1997). Thus, in self-efficacy theory, both the sources of self-efficacy and the mechanisms through which it influences behaviour are specified and can be used to design behavioural interventions.

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Work based learning

The concept of work-based learning can be approached from different perspectives (Fenwick, 2008). Nisbet et al. (2013) define work based learning as informal learning that occurs inside the work community in the interaction between employees. Work-based learning requires participation in work processes, collaborating with colleagues, taking challenging tasks and working with customers. Thus, learning occurs as a by-product of working (Eraut, 2007.).


Work-based learning can also include formal learning (Choi and Jacobs, 2011). For example, universities and other educational institutes can offer curriculums to organisations that the employees can carry out alongside their work without qualifications. This kind of learning can also be defined as a form of work-based learning, in which case the employee has responsibility to set the learning objectives, look for learning situations, search knowledge, and evaluate and reflect on their own learning (Stanley and Simmons, 2011.). The aim of this kind of work-based learning curriculum is to encourage employees to study independently and to take responsibility for their own learning and the continuous development of their professional skills and know-how (Chapman, 2006). In this review, work-based learning is defined as informal learning that occurs inside the work community in the interaction between employees by participation.


The traditional understanding of learning is that knowledge is offered to the employees without them actively seeking and processing that knowledge themselves (Jensen, 2007; Williams, 2010). However, knowledge never passes on from one person to another as it is; the new knowledge is always constructed via the thinking processes of the individual. The person’s preconceived assumptions and previous knowledge – as well as the prevailing culture – have an effect on this process of shaping knowledge (Billett, 2008.). People try to understand their experiences and give meanings to them. Because the experiences affect what kind of significance a person gives to their learning and professional development (MacKeracher, 2004), it is important to describe experiences of work-based learning by care worker staff.

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KYP Know Your Potential Consultancy a leading Levy training provider whose provision is delivering apprenticeships in Adult & CYP care homes.

KYP  has been accredited to the matrix Standard, demonstrating the high quality service delivery KYP provides impartial, responsive, friendly and enabling information, advice and guidance services to learners. Being accessible and visible to learners. Ensuring that KYP staff are professional and knowledgeable to address learners’ needs. Supporting learners to be aware of relevant IAG services. KYP ensures there are opportunities and directions for learners to explore the implications for both learning and work in their future career plans.

KYP head office is based in Worcestershire, IQA’s and Assessors are knowledgeable and upskill constantly. Service delivery staff are geographically based to support Contractors, with the utilisation of an e-portfolio learners and contractors have the opportunity to see progressions as it happens.

The matrix Standard is the international quality standard for organisations that deliver information, advice and/or guidance (IAG), either as their sole purpose or as part of their service offering.

Roger Chapman, Head of the matrix Service for The Growth Company said:

“This is a fantastic achievement for KYP Know Your Potential Consultancy and I would like to congratulate the team on their success. We believe that at the heart of high-quality advice and support services are strong leadership, excellent service and a focus on continuous improvement, all underpinned by effective use of the resources available.  The matrix Standard is designed to benchmark organisations against best practice in these areas. With their accreditation success, KYP Know Your Potential Consultancy is working to provide the best possible support to their clients.”

Commenting on the award, IQA lead quality assurer- Mrs V Hill said: “It fantastic to be recognised for the work KYP delivers, we believe we continue to support learners and mangers to understand their role in learning and our advice and guidance that is offered is deemed supportive.”

For more information about the matrix Standard please visit

For more information, please contact on 03300564457

About the matrix Standard

  • The matrix Standard is the international quality standard for organisations that deliver information, advice and/or guidance (IAG). Either as their sole purpose or as part of their service offering.
  • Any organisation which manages, administers and delivers an information, advice and/or guidance service to support individuals in their choice of career, learning, work or life goals can become accredited to the matrix Standard. It does not matter whether the service or services are delivered face-to-face, through training, learning, remotely, or through a website.
  • Organisations that have benefited from working with the Standard include Training Providers, Universities, Further/Higher Education Colleges, Schools and Academies, Sole Traders, Next Step Providers, Voluntary and Community Organisations and Private Businesses.
  • The matrix Standard is owned by the Department for Education and is managed by The Growth Company on their behalf.
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Work-based learning in health care organisations

The lack of support from the management of the organisation and nurse managers is seen as the greatest obstacle to work-based learning of nursing staff (Govranos and Newton, 2014).

The support of management and awareness of the possibilities of work-based learning create a positive culture of lifelong learning (Wilson et al., 2006; Govranos and Newton, 2014).

However, nurse managers often tend to underestimate their influence on the development of a culture that supports learning. A nurse manager’s significance as a role model is remarkable, which is why it is important that the managers commit themselves to continuous learning practices (Bjørk et al., 2013.)

By participating in the implementation of learning strategies and adopting different studying techniques, a nurse manager becomes a positive role model and a motivator for the staff (Wilson et al., 2006). The manager can create the kind of functional models that promote and support these learning events (Bjørk et al., 2013). Employees also see it as important that managers encourage them to utilise new knowledge and permit experiment with new courses of action (Lundgren, 2011).

Work-based learning is an important part of professional development in which both the learner and the learning environment change and affect each other (Skår, 2010). The support of a nurse manager, a mentor or colleagues makes the learning process in a complex workplace environment possible (Ramage, 2014).

Wilson et al. (2006) see a positive changing in the learning culture of a workplace when learning and professional development are understood as a continuous process through life, which results to the employees beginning to take responsibility for learning and development themselves. The employee begin to want to look for learning opportunities and arrange time for learning. Those nurses who understand the significance of learning actively try to resolve problems related to being rushed and other obstacles of learning (Govranos and Newton, 2014.).

Professional education gives the basic skills for nursing, but learning is a process that continues throughout a nurse’s whole career in the everyday work of the organisation. The creation of a culture that supports work-based learning is the best way to ensure professional competence among nursing staff in the future, as well.

The results of this review challenge the management of health care organisations to be aware of the value and significance of work-based learning from the perspective of their organisation’s action and success, and to pay attention to the perspective of work-based learning in strategic plans.