What is off-the-job training?
Off-the-job training is a statutory requirement for an English apprenticeship and is training received by the apprentice, during the apprentice's normal working hours, for the purpose of achieving the knowledge, skills and behaviours outlined in their apprenticeship standard. By normal working hours we mean paid hours excluding overtime. Any training completed outside of the apprentices contracted working hours will not be counted.
It is not on-the-job training which is training received by the apprentice for the sole purpose of enabling the apprentice to perform the work for which they have been employed. By this we mean training that does not specifically link to the knowledge, skills and behaviours set out in the apprenticeship.
Off-the-job training was developed in order to ensure that apprentices are actively learning and working to attain the required knowledge and skills within their sector while enrolled in their placement program.
Can you give me some examples?
Some examples of off-the-job training activities for apprentices at the University of Suffolk are listed below:
- Time learning a new skill in the workplace, until you are competent to undertake this unsupervised (for example, a health care professional learning how to insert a cannula for the first time)
- Online or face-to-face lectures
- Time spent on research and assignments (including reflective journals, podcasts, blogs, quizzes, portfolios of evidence, case studies and presentations)
- Training with or shadowing colleagues in other departments or wards to impart new skills
- Time with a mentor or offering mentoring to others
- Taking part in industry visits, competitions, workshops or conferences
- Online forums
- 1-2-1 or group sessions with fellow apprentices/students to discuss assignment briefs
- Time spent with the Learning Services team for Study Support (not English and Maths)
- Role play and simulation
- Using the FutureMe careers platform
As off-the-job training is about imparting new skills that are linked to the standards that form the apprenticeship, the following must not be included:
- Time spent undertaking English or maths training/exams
- Time spent attending tripartite/progress reviews
- On-programme assessments and End Point Assessment (EPA)
- Training which takes place outside of the apprentices working hours
- Training which does not link to the apprenticeship standard
How do I know how many hours of off-the-job training I need to do?
At the point of signing up for an apprenticeship, the learner will have completed a document called a 'commitment statement'. This is an important contract document and will outline the apprentices responsibilities as well as those of the employer and training provider. It must be signed by all three parties. The commitment statement will include a calculation of the minimum amount of hours of off-the-job training the apprentice will be required to have undertaken over lifetime of their apprenticeship programme. As a general rule, off-the-job training should equate to a minimum of 20% of your contracted working hours.
What am I required to do to demonstrate my off-the-job training?
It is important that apprentices are clear about the expectations of off-the-job training, and that employers support their apprentices by giving sufficient time and opportunity to undertake these activities. This should not only be in the form of study days and attending lectures, but also in developing new skills in the workplace that link to the knowledge, skills and behaviours in the apprenticeship standard and within their sector.
Being able to verbalise understanding of off-the-job is a great first step, but each apprentice will also be required to evidence that they are undertaking relevant activities in order to meet this requirement by keeping an accurate and up-to-date detailed log of all off-the-job training. This will need to include the date of the activity or development of a new skill, an overview of what was undertaken to achieve this and how many hours it took to achieve, and the impact it had on the apprentices' learning. The completed log will then be held in the apprentice file at the completion of their degree and the point of gateway, to show that the apprentice has met their planned hours outlined in their commitment statement.
I'm still not sure. How can I find out more?
Any apprentices with queries about off-the-job training are advised to liaise with their Skills Coach or to email email@example.com.
There are a number of publications which provide further advice and guidance about off-the-job training, as follows: