Apprenticeships, by their very design, have always had elements of off-the-job training in some form or another but they are vocational courses and, as such, are predominantly on-the-job training.
With the implementation of the Government reforms to Apprenticeships post-May 2017 there came the new ruling of mandatory 20% off-the-job training, bringing in a quantitative measure for training away from the day to day pressures of work. For many employers and apprentices, it was business as usual, as day release to the training provider was part and parcel of the apprenticeship but for several others, it was a complete change in how their apprenticeship was going to work. But what is off-the-job training?
- Off-the-job training is defined as training received by the apprentice, during their normal working hours, for the purpose of achieving their apprenticeship.
- It is NOT training delivered for the sole purpose of enabling the apprentice to perform the work for which they are employed.
However, 20% does not need to equate to 1 day a week at a training provider. It can be delivered at different times within the programme, for example, it can be formed of intense specialised training at the start of an apprenticeship or pockets of blended learning delivered in the workplace at intervals throughout the programme. To be successfully delivered, off-the-job training should be designed to meet the skills and knowledge needs of the apprentices and the business of the employers.
- It must be directly relevant to the apprenticeship framework or standard, teaching new knowledge, skills and behaviours required to reach competence in a particular occupation.
- It is time that is NOT spent as part of their normal working duties on the ‘productive job’. To count it needs to be the case that apprentices are not undertaking normal day-to-day duties and their time is being spent in some form of training or development relevant to the outcomes of the apprenticeship.
The Government’s expectation is that off-the-job training is specifically designed to support the development of new behaviours, skills and knowledge linked to the actual vocational occupation.
However, when there is training, coaching and development provided for getting the apprentice up to speed with a task that will become part of their normal job and also teaches the knowledge, skills and behaviours required by the apprenticeship outcomes it can be classed as off-the-job training. Induction in itself is not eligible as off-the-job-training but can be included where formal training is included within the induction sessions.
Some apprentices need to upskill in English and/or Maths to reach the standards required for the outcomes of the apprenticeship. Where this is the case, the English and/or Maths training is in addition to the 20% off-the-job training. The key principle being that apprentices who require English and Maths are not disadvantaged in the volume of vocational off-the-job training they receive compared to those apprentices not requiring English and/or Maths.
Apprenticeships MUST be completed within the apprentice’s paid hours. This means that off-the-job training is a calculation within an apprentice’s annual hours of work. This also means, where apprentices are required to attend off-the-job training outside of their working hours, the employer must compensate the apprentice with time off in lieu (TOIL) or similar arrangements. This also means, where an apprentice is unable to attend a planned session of off-the-job training, they agree with their employer to catch up on the missed content of the programme and this must be within their working hours.
Here at ITEC, our Curriculum Manager, Kerry Prigg, will assist employers and apprentices with building an off-the-job training plan that meets the outcomes of each apprenticeship. This means that a blended approach can be used meaning apprentices can attend day release sessions for our most common modules, e.g. CompTIA A+ or Microsoft’s MTA Network Fundamentals, plus on-line learning for individually selected vendor qualifications, e.g Cisco or Huawei, plus ad-hoc training workshops to build on the behaviours required in most modern jobs, e.g. customer service, communication skills, project management, etc.
Need help with apprenticeships? ITEC specialises in IT technical, Digital and Business apprenticeships. If we can’t help, we know someone who can! Contact our Youth Programmes Manager, Toni Marshall, today on 01268 286929 or firstname.lastname@example.org