Introducing The Centre for Work Related Studies, Professional Development

The University of Chester enjoys a positive national reputation for our provision of work based and work-related learning. Much of that provision is facilitated by the Centre for Work Related Studies, Professional Development which offers a range of learning opportunities designed for individuals and organisations alike.

In particular, the Centre for Work Related Studies, Professional Development (PD), operates the well-known Work Based & Integrative Studies (WBIS) framework. This is a flexible framework that can be used to confer academic reward for learning that relates to workplace endeavour. It is aimed principally at adults in the workplace and currently has over 1,000 undergraduate and postgraduate learners from a wide variety of organisations in the UK and abroad.


We realise that universities are not the only places in society where important knowledge and understanding exists. We understand that much knowledge capital resides in the workplace itself and have worked to help people and organisations gain recognition for this. In addition, we have a team of experienced academics who have considerable experience of vocational learning across a range of disciplines - from health and education to business and IT - and who can bring their own expertise to bear on workplace experiences and developments.

Key services we offer:

  • The facilitation of individually negotiated programmes, tailored to the needs of each learner and planned with them to provide bespoke learning experiences and awards.
  • The negotiation and design of corporate programmes that are planned for groups of learners in organisations with particular needs.
  • Accreditation of in-house company training and the learning facilitated by consultancy and training organisations.
  • Online resources to support workplace learning.

Key clients include:

  • Wirral NHS Trust - offer individually negotiated programmes for clinical and non-clinical staff across the Trust.
  • Cabinet Office/Civil Service - offer the Foundation Degree in Government.
  • Cabinet Office /National School of Government - postgraduate accreditation of Public Policy Making (PPM) programme for senior civil servants.
  • Barefoot Coaching Ltd - offer accreditation of Business and Personal Coaching and Coaching Supervision programmes at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
  • Department of Work & Pensions - Offers Work Based programmes and accreditation for the Pensions & Disability Carers Service.
  • Rosemary Conley Diet & Fitness Clubs - trainer/franchisee accreditation.
  • Royal Air Force - offers two negotiated pathways for the RAF Foundation Degree in Business and Management or Leadership.
  • The GROW' programme in Denmark offer a Certificate of Higher Education in Hospitality Management.
  • Family Rights Group - offer a Postgraduate Certificate for Family Conferencing experts.
  • Learning to Inspire - offer accreditation leading to NLP-related qualifications.
  • LeaderShape - offer Postgraduate Certificate in Coach-Mentoring and Facilitation.
  • IBD UK - offer Professional Certificate in Business Advice.
  • The Dentistry Business - offering qualifications in Practice Management at undergraduate and postgraduate level.
  • The Mediated Change and Resolutions Group or MCRG - are innovators in Conflict Resolution and Change Management.
  • Innovation Lab - offer Postgraduate Certificates in Innovation or Enterprise.
  • Forum of Mobility Centres - have accredited a Professional Certificate in Driving Assessment and Outdoor Mobility that offers their staff a qualification for specialised, unique skills required in their role.
  • Marches School, Shropshire - offer a Professional Certificate and Certificate of Higher Education accredited in Personal and Social Learning for staff, parents and the local community.

In addition, we offer a Postgraduate Certificate in Work Based Learning Facilitation which has been accredited by the Higher Education Academy and is the only course of its kind in the UK.

Student and Client Experiences

Anne-Marie (undergraduate student):

‘Learning through work allows you to set your own timescales and your own studying routine. You can also tailor your course around what you want to use it for, so it applies directly to your job. It isn't study for study's sake, it's study with a purpose. I didn't see the point of doing something that I couldn't then use.

The whole point of the exercise was to increase my skills - interpersonal, listening, communication and understanding skills. It's crystallized a lot of what I do and honed it. I've become far more analytical about evaluating what I'm learning and deciding what value it will have to my clients. To do it in your own time, in your own subject, at your own pace, with fantastic support is really valuable.'

Ursula (postgraduate student):

‘I've been greatly impressed by the professionalism and enthusiasm of my tutors: their accessibility, practical helpfulness and willingness to read and comment on drafts at various stages of production. For me, APEL was a particular blessing, enabling me to submit a book I'd written for part of the assessment, which after rigorous scrutiny by my tutors, helped gain me credits amounting to half my final qualification'.

Trainer in the DWP working with the PD as an Associate Tutor:

‘It is a wonderful concept that you get academic credit for critically reflecting on your daily practice and moving your practice on to reach professional standards'.