Apprenticeship off-the-job training
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Apprenticeship off-the-job training

Oliver Blomfield - Head of Early Careers Development

Off-the-job training is part of every apprenticeship funded by the levy in England. Are you making the most of this for your apprentices and your organisation?

When the apprenticeship levy launched in 2017, employers with an annual pay bill of over £3 million started to pay 0.5% of this into a levy to be used for apprenticeship training. Soon after, the Department of Education stipulated that at least 20% of this training for apprentices in England had to be 'off-the-job'.

It sounded straightforward - but it did take a bit of time to work out exactly what was (and what wasn't) in scope. We wrote a blog about this back in 2018, and thought it was overdue an update!

The Facts

Off-the-job training is an essential part of apprenticeship funding rules.

Off-the-job training must be away from the apprentice’s productive job role and must teach new knowledge, skills and behaviours that will lead towards the achievement of an apprenticeship.

You don't have to document every hour of off-the-job training, but elements must be listed in a training plan which is in place at the start of an apprenticeship. The apprentice’s evidence pack needs to demonstrate what training has been delivered against their training plan.

Top Tips

1. Off-the-job training is calculated in hours.

The amount of off-the-job training required is calculated in hours. If an apprentice works 30 hours a week, at least six of these must be off-the-job activities. But as the time is calculated in contracted employment hours across their whole apprenticeship you can roll hours up over the year. We suggest you use the time flexibly – and to your maximum advantage. Eg: a one week residential with Outward Bound could count for 50 hours of training.

2. 20% off-the-job doesn’t have to mean off your campus.

It doesn’t even have to be away from their normal workstation. It is the activity rather than the location that's important. It must teach new knowledge, skills and/or behaviours that will contribute to the successful achievement of an apprenticeship. Be creative with this – as well as allowing time to complete course work, assignments and online learning activities, have you thought about getting your apprentices to work shadow a more experienced colleague and review the learning in their assessment journal or asking your senior leaders to deliver a mentor session?

3. Maximise your investment in off-the-job training.

You have to provide off-the-job training - so why not make it as amazing as you can? Think back to your most impactful learning experience – I bet it wasn’t an online module squeezed into a Friday afternoon. Take the plunge and give your apprentices the opportunity to get out of their usual surroundings and have a life enhancing experience. In the long run it will take less focus away from the day job than you think, will be more memorable and have a greater impact when they get back to their normal routine.

4. What it can’t be. Here are some traps to avoid…

  • English and maths training up to level 2 isn't included. If your apprentices need these qualifications you will need to give them additional time for this. Above level 2 does count.
  • All off-the-job can’t be delivered via distance learning.
  • Onboarding and assessing progress through reviews and testing must happen, but don’t count towards the 20% off-the-job training.
Why do we care about off-the-job?

We’ll be honest ... Outward Bound provide experiential learning in the outdoors, developing behaviours and skills that are listed in apprenticeship standards. If you chose to work with us, your apprentices’ time at Outward Bound counts towards their off-the-job training allocation.

  • We develop behaviours and skills from the apprenticeship standards in a customised way.
  • Our programmes aren’t ‘off the shelf’, they're designed to bring added value, accelerating learning and aligning with your organisational values.
  • An Outward Bound programme could count for up to 50 hours of training.
  • We get results – improved retention, increased effectiveness, developing behaviours, reducing accidents. Whatever your business need contact us.
Mark Davison, Head of Transport PROCAT
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE... guidance: the official off-the-job training, policy background and examples can be found here.

Get in touch: Could Outward Bound help you with off-the-job training?

Further Reading

Apprenticeship Levy

Outward Bound are on the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers. We work with employers and providers to deliver skills and behaviour training.

Develop your apprentices

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