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A guide to off-the-job-training

The Education and Skills Funding Agency’s (ESFA) rules for apprenticeship funding require all apprenticeships to contain off-the-job training.

Off-the-job training is defined as “learning which is undertaken outside of the normal day-to-day working environment and leads towards the achievement of an apprenticeship.” (Department for Education: Apprenticeship Off-The-Job Training Report)

We have created a guide to bust some myths and minimise the impact of the off-the-job training requirement on your business.

1. The myth: My apprentice will spend a lot of time away from the workplace.

This isn’t true, as the training can take place in the workplace. However, the apprentice needs to be undertaking some form of training or development which is relevant to the apprenticeship standard they are completing and not just completing their normal day-to-day duties.

2. The myth: Off-the-job training must be delivered by a provider in a classroom, at an external location.

This is not true; off-the-job training can be delivered in a flexible way, at the apprentice’s usual place of work or at an external location. We have developed a range of delivery styles to suit employer and apprentice needs and will work with you to decide when and where off-the-job training should take place and who is best placed to deliver it.

3. The myth: Off-the-job training only counts in days.

Many employers think off-the-job training equates to one day per week. This is a myth as the time is actually calculated on the number of contracted employment hours across the whole apprenticeship.

4. The myth: The training can be completed outside of working hours.

This is a myth. The off-the-job training must be completed during working hours (excluding overtime). We understand this will have an impact on your business, especially if existing employees are using the apprenticeship training to upskill themselves. It maybe helpful for you to consider the following questions:

  • Could your business and apprentice benefit from flexible working?
  • Would you allow your apprentice to study in the evening and then take time back in lieu at a suitable time to lessen the impact on the business?
  • Could you allow your apprentice to study using a day release training model and offer a work placement opportunity to a full-time student? This would help to fill the skills gap and minimise the impact on the business whilst giving someone the opportunity to gain valuable work experience. You never know, you may even find your next apprentice!

Your assessor will work with you to decide on a delivery model which will minimise disruption to your business. We have a flexible approach to our delivery and, where possible, offer block delivery sessions, group sessions or on-site delivery at your premises to minimise the impact on your business.

5. The myth: The apprentice’s induction counts towards the off-the-job training requirement.

To make the induction count towards the training requirement, the apprentice must receive some form of education. Therefore, to count towards off-the-job training, your company induction must include some training or skills development.

Speak to your assessor about how you can utilise the induction period to make it count towards the training requirement.

6. The myth: Meeting with an assessor to complete progress reviews will count towards the off-the-job training requirement.

This is a myth. Off-the-job training must give the apprentice new knowledge, skills or behaviours. When the assessor meets with the apprentice to complete a progress review, they are testing the apprentice’s knowledge and understanding. Consequently, this cannot count towards the off-the-job training requirement.

7. The myth: English and Maths training counts towards the off-the-job training requirement.

This is not true: English and Maths (at level 2 or below) does not count towards the off-the-job training. Apprenticeships are about developing occupational competency and they are designed on the basis that the apprentice already has the required level (level 2) of English and Maths.

8. The myth: I will need to document all of the apprentice’s off-the-job training

A commitment statement must be in place from the beginning of the apprenticeship, setting out the training content an apprentice will receive and which elements count towards the off-the-job training. The apprentice’s evidence pack needs to demonstrate what training has been delivered against the commitment statement. Our team will support you to create the necessary records and keep them updated.

What learning activities will count towards the off-the-job training requirement?

The following learning activities would count towards the training requirement:

  • Allowing the apprentice study time to complete coursework or review modules. This could include:
    • Participating in theory-based sessions, such as lectures, face-to-face teaching or coaching sessions.
    • Preparation for assessments.
    • Participating in online forums relevant to the apprentice’s role or industry.
  • Attending and participating in competitions (as long as they are work-related and help the apprentice to develop).
  • Attending industry shows, particularly where they might be able to watch presentations or seminars relevant to their role and industry.
  • Completing online learning via webinars or blended learning to enhance the apprentice’s knowledge of what’s happening in your industry.
  • Completing training and development programmes relating to their apprenticeship. This could include:
    • Internal training and development programmes.
    • First aid or manual handling courses.
    • Practical training sessions on new equipment or technologies.
  • Receiving mentoring from a senior colleague. Alternatively, the apprentice could deliver a mentoring session to other employees to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding.
  • Participating in role play or simulated exercises, or writing a work reflection record. These are excellent ways to embed new knowledge and skills.
  • Shadowing a colleague or mentor. The apprentice could also write a reflection log to demonstrate what they’ve learnt.
  • Undertaking a research task to gain new knowledge of the industry.
  • Visiting other internal departments, businesses or partners in your business supply chain to learn about how they operate and relate to the apprentice’s job role.

Our specialist Business Development team and assessors can offer assistance to help you understand off-the-job training requirements and work with you to develop a training model which minimises the impact on your business. For more information or to arrange an appointment call 01226 216 166 or email employer@barnsley.ac.uk

Last updated: 16th January 2023

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