20% off the job training: how to make the most of it.

In 2015 the Government set out that it was mandatory for 20% of any apprenticeship to include off-the-job training to help ensure quality.  Without it, apprentices can’t successfully complete their qualification and employers could fall foul of funding rules. It is vital that employers and apprentices understand how to achieve it.

Rhys Robinson, Work Based Team Leader at Learning Unlimited has helped many of the employers and apprentices we work with  find a simple, no-fuss way to incorporate 20% off-the-job training into the period of an apprenticeship.  He gave us some useful information to highlight the best steps to take.

“We work with employers of all sizes and across many sectors and there isn’t a one size fits all solution to achieve 20% off-the-job training; which is actually the good thing about this rule.  It isn’t too prescriptive and it is possible to make it fit with how your business operates and the role of the apprentice.

The Department of Education define off-the-job training as “…learning which is undertaken outside of the normal day-to-day working environment and leads towards the achievement of an apprenticeship. This can include training that is delivered at the apprentice’s normal place of work but must not be delivered as part of their normal working duties.”

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It doesn’t have to be a headache to work out how to give your apprentice the time to spend 20% developing the skills you need them to have away from their day to day role.

It works best for some organisations to give apprentices a block of time to study each week or each month. F or others, it is about delivering a training programme which gives apprentices an opportunity to develop specific skills within their working hours. It is about finding the best fit for your business.

Many organisations do off-the-job training as part of their staff development process as a matter of course and often, just documenting time spent on this and the impact it has had on the learning journey counts towards the 20%.

Understanding what off-the-job training is and recording it is really important.  This useful table helps to highlight what counts and what doesn’t.

OneFile is a fantastic tool for recording any training completed. We work with apprentices to ensure that the onus is on them to record their off-the-job training. This helps to make sure any training is measurable and has the added benefit of ensuring we can work with the apprentice to reflect on the training they have completed. We can use it to see how the learner has developed as a result of the training and what they have achieved. This is where the 20% rule really adds value and helps apprentices to succeed.

Don’t let the 20% rule be a barrier; see it as an opportunity. There are many businesses out there benefiting from it and developing their apprentices into highly skilled members of their workforce. The message that I want to get out is that organisations don’t need to struggle to meet the criteria. There are many simple solutions which can have a really positive impact.”

Contact us for help and advice about apprenticeships and for guidance about how to make the most of 20% off-the-job training.