Massachusetts Work-Based Learning

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Home 1. Using the Work-Based Learning Plan 1b. Job Descriptions and Skills

Writing Job Descriptions and Skills/Tasks

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View the PPT about Writing Job Descriptions and Skills/TasksThe online WBLP screens include a screen for a job description and a screen for career and workplace specific skills.  The job description is a simple text box, which allows you to write as much text as you wish.  The Career and Workplace Specific Skills list is a grid with up seven skills, with boxes for the skill and the description of the skills/tasks. The fields for the skills list provides optional dropdown lists (to choose frequently-chosen skills) or may be typed in.

There are several sources for ideas about what to write:

1.) Go to the PowerPoint Presentations section of this website and view the PowerPoint Presentation: Writing Job Descriptions and Skills/Tasks.

2.) While you are in the online database, you can click the navigation button for the "Bank of Sample Job Descriptions" and the "Bank of Sample Skills/Tasks" to browse job descriptions and skills/tasks that other people have written and shared.   (See details below.)

3.) You can read about ideas on the Skills Library Blog, looking for articles with the tag "Skills."

4.) You can see samples on the skillslibrary.com website:

Using the bank of sample job descriptions and skills/tasks.  The online WBLP includes a bank of sample job descriptions and skills/tasks.  These are searchable and clickable:

  • Search for examples from your own placements, those in your region, or all examples statewide
  • Search by job title, industry, or, for the bank of sample skills/tasks, by skill. 

If you see something that you would like to use, you can click the button labeled "Choose-->" to select the job description or skill/task and insert it into the WBLP you are writing.  Then you can go back to the WBLP screens and edit as needed.


Q. Who should write the specific job descriptions and skills?

It's up to you!  The online Work-Based Learning Plan allows for program staff or employers or participants to provide this information, and allows for collabration in writing this information.

 

Q. How long should this be?

The length of the job descriptions and skills/tasks is flexible. Analysis of samples of Work-Based Learning Plans shows that participants with WBLPs with longer job descriptions and skills/tasks descriptions showed more skill gain during their work experience. This suggests not that "more is better" but that a thoughtfully-written WBLP helps to create a strong learning experience and to support skill gain. Many of the well-written WBLPs include wording that communicates "who, what, where, when, why" information about the job, such as briefly mentioning the purpose of the tasks, customers, and other background information. The PowerPoints and readings mentioned above give examples.

 

Q. How many skills should be included?

Typically some WBLPs focus on three or four skills; many others have seven skills. Ideally, a WBLP will include a mixture of different types of skills, including some broad, transferable skills and some more career-specific technical skills.

 

Q. What skills should be included?

A strong work experience gives participants an opportunity:

  • to learn how to organize and manage their work;
  • to learn technical or job-specific skills;
  • to gain experience interacting with customers and co-workers in a professional setting;
  • to have an opportunity to see connections between academic skills and career skills;
  • to gain an awareness of career opportunities.

The work experience will also provide guidance about workplace safety and other basic foundation skills.

Skills listed in the WBLP may include such things as project management, time management, problem solving, interacting with customers, workplace safety and other broad skills, as well as career-specific skills such as horticulture/plant care, web design, classroom management or blueprint reading. Skills may also include career development skills such as active learning or "understanding all aspects of the industry" (a widely-used phrase evolved from vocational/technical school programs).   Applied academic skills such as math, reading, writing or collecting and organizing information are also often included.

Some WBLPs re-iterate skills mentioned in the Foundation Skills section, such as including "Workplace Safety" and providing additional detail. Sometimes it is useful to repeat or expand on the foundation skills, though it is important to realize that most of the skills in the Career and Workplace Specific Skills section should go beyond the skills already mentioned in the Foundation Skills section.