Faculty of Education

Faculty of Education
Faculty of Education

Using Work-based Education to Enhance Social Inclusion

In a series of studies, Nancy Hutchinson, Peter Chin and project partners learned that work-based education contributes to social inclusion of at-risk learners and learners with disabilities.

A young man learning how to do a manicure.

While both at-risk learners and learners with disabilities benefit from work based education (WBE), different features are most important to each group.

For at-risk youth, as one teacher put it: "It is important for schools to create pathways to work for at-risk youth throughout the high school years" rather than offering a single opportunity for WBE after youth have been unsuccessful in all other programs. Creating contexts with supportive peers in the school and with caring adults in the school and the workplace were also key.

These studies offer insights into how WBE programs can meet the needs of youth at-risk for social exclusion - those with disabilities and those who may disengage and drop out.

Key Findings

  1. Students at risk of dropping out re-engaged in learning through WBE
  2. Students with disabilities learned to negotiate accommodations so workplaces met their social, cognitive, and physical needs
  3. Each student group has specific needs and specialized WBE programs may be preferable.

Further Information: Co-operative Education and Workplace Learning Group (CEWL)