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Higher Education Academy impact study report - University of ChesterThis study aims to examine aspects of the impact of work based learning on both employees and employers and forms part of a larger scale study undertaken by the HE Academy. Employees who had successfully completed work based learning programmes of study at undergraduate level (excluding Foundation Degrees) were interviewed as, where possible, was their line manager or employer representative. Several issues arose concerning access to employers for interviews, which in some cases extended to difficulties in gaining access to former learners from organisational cohorts. Evidence emerging from the study highlights the effectiveness of higher level negotiated work based learning programmes in developing employees in ways that extend beyond role-specific competence. In particular, benefits in the development of self-awareness; learning to think and question; and improved confidence and work performance were valued by employees and employers alike. Work based learning projects, involving the reflection on practical experience, were thought to have benefited both individuals and organisations. More than half of the employees interviewed have since changed jobs or gained promotion, and the majority are now engaged in further higher level programmes of study. Employer support is seen to be an important factor for most learners, but not for all. The role of the HE tutor, though, is seen by learners as central to their success. Credit accumulation and accreditation of prior learning and experience are significant stages in engaging learners and facilitating their progression. Most learners are highly self-motivating, but cohort learners on programmes designed through employers need to be supported by them in the course of their studies. In-house programmes linked to assessment for HE accreditation need to be well-integrated and learners clearly advised by the employer on the commitment and expectations.