The Mystery of 20% Off-the-Job

“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 of Education, 2017)

As part of the Apprenticeship Levy funding rules, employers have to provide, and education providers have to plan and prove that each learner is utilising 20% of their average weekly working hours in up-skilling activities to support the apprenticeship standard that they are working towards.

So what does this actually look like?

Off-the-job training is somewhat a misleading term, as it suggests that this is done outside of the workplace, when in fact it needs to be done in the workplace but outside of normal duties. Some examples of what constitutes off-the-job training are below:

  • The teaching of theory (e.g. lectures, role-playing, simulation exercises, online learning or manufacturer training.
  • Practical training (e.g. shadowing, mentoring, industry visits, attendance at competitions.) We strongly suggest at induction that learners receive assigned mentors to assist with this, and provide them with guidance.
  • Learning support and time spent writing assigments/assessments.
  • Provider, employer, or self-directed CPD (either through their own professional memberships or through an awarding body e.g. CMI).

Off-the-job training does not include:

  • Functional skills (funded separately).
  • Progress reviews or on-programme assessment needed for an apprenticeship standard.
  • Training that takes place outside of the apprentice’s paid working hours (time spent writing assignments must be done at work).

As you can imagine, this is quite a shift in perspective for employers who are used to being able to instruct learners to do work at home, and it is quite an investment in time for them. It is vitally important that we work with employers as much as possible to make sure that they understand what is required of them, and that learners understand they must also take some responsibility to organise their time at work; the commitment statement Encompass provides at induction can function as a tool for this.

Finally, the 20% must be recorded. It is possible to do this in a number of places:

  • On a progress review form.
  • In the ILP, which could be pre-populated with planned activities.
  • An online portfolio software (Encompass use OneFile for this).
  • A learner-kept CPD log (some awarding bodies have these online, which auto update with activity that takes place).