Guidance on Off-The-Job Training
All apprenticeships are supposed to be delivered during working hours. Since 1 May 2017, employers must reserve 20% of an apprentice’s time (an average of one day per week) for off the job training. We are required to monitor compliance with this as a condition of receiving funding.
What counts as off-the-job training?
Off-the-job training is basically training that occurs away from the immediate pressures of the job. In many settings, day to day activities such as mentoring, supervisions and staff meetings will contain elements of training relevant to the apprenticeship. It is a good idea to be aware of, and document these, to ensure that they are taken into account.
Other examples of off-the-job training could include the following:
- Teaching of theory (taught sessions, online learning, lectures, role playing, simulation exercises)
- Practical training; shadowing; mentoring; industry visits and attendance at competitions
- Learning support and time spent writing assessments/assignments
The key thing to remember with off-the-job training is that it must be delivered during the apprentice’s paid working time. If they attend a course at a weekend, for example, this would only count if they are paid to attend or are given time off in lieu.
What does not count as off-the-job training?
- Progress reviews or on-programme assessment required for an apprenticeship framework or standard
- Training which takes place outside the apprentice’s paid working hours
- English and maths (this is funded separately)
How much time should be spent on off-the-job training?
20% of an apprentice’s time during their apprenticeship should be spent on off-the-job training. This can be one day of their working week throughout their apprenticeship or alternatively the employer can choose to group the off-the-job time at any time that suits them, such as giving the apprentice a few weeks off at the beginning or end of their apprenticeship to focus on their work. It is at the discretion of the employer – as long as the 20% off-the-job training is taken, it doesn’t matter at what point this happens.
How should the 20% off-the-job training be recorded?
Apprentices should be recording their off-the-job training in their timesheets on OneFile. The assessors should be checking this regularly and helping to plan the off-the-job training with the learner and the employer on their visits to the workplace. The employer should also be recording all of the off-the-job training that the apprentice is receiving so that there is an official log held by the employer should they need to provide this as evidence. It also helps the employer to ensure that the 20% quota has been met.
What happens if an apprentice is not being given 20% off-the-job training?
At the beginning of the apprenticeship, the employer signs a contract committing to allowing their apprentice their entitlement of 20% off-the-job training. Any breach of this contract is taken very seriously as the provision of the off-the-job training is a requirement for the receipt of government funding for that apprentice. If it becomes apparent to an assessor at PBD that an apprentice does not appear to be receiving their 20% off-the-job training, an effort will be made to establish a clearer picture of the apprentice’s working arrangements. The manager or employer will be contacted and the requirement will be discussed. If the employer persists in not allowing their apprentice their entitlement for off-the-job training, PBD will have no option but to terminate training in that workplace.
The Department for Education have produced a guidance document which can be found here. The guidance gives some practical examples and general information about the requirement.
Our e-portfolio system OneFile have also put together some guidance that can be found here.
If you are unsure of any of the above, please feel free to contact our office on 01440 731731 and we will do our best to clarify things further for you.