The Institute has a long historical contribution in the development of policy perspectives on work experience, socially useful productive work, vocationalisation of education and vocational education and training.

To fulfill the objectives of vocationalisation of education and to provide necessary academic inputs for bringing about reconstruction of vocational education, the NCERT created a Work Experience Cell in 1973 at New Delhi. This Work Experience Cell transformed into an Institute in 1993 to provide research and development inputs to the development of a national vocational education and training system. The Institute is a constituent unit of National Council of Educational Research & Training (NCERT), which is under Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India.