20% off-the-job training

What is off-the-job training?

Off-the-job training is learning done away from the normal day-to-day working environment.

It can include training at the apprentice’s normal place of work, but it can’t be delivered as part of their normal working duties.

What form can 20% off-the-job training take?

  • Coaching sessions
  • Independent research
  • Industry visits (including visiting other departments)
  • In-house training including systems training, mandatory training* and role-specific training *please note – mandatory training only counts towards 20% when it is meeting the requirements of the skills, knowledge and behaviours in the standard
  • Learner support to write assignments
  • Lectures/workshops
  • Team meetings (these meetings must include training or learning activities)
  • Manufacturer training
  • Shadowing
  • Mentoring
  • Online learning led by the employer or training provider (during paid hours)
  • Role play
  • Simulation exercises
  • Supervision with employer
  • One-to-ones
  • Writing assignments (study time)
  • Completing ‘off-the-job training log’ on e-portfolio
  • Departmental rotation
  • Work shadow of a colleague within the workplace
  • Work shadow of colleagues in other venues
  • Visits to suppliers to learn how they operate and processes followed
  • Team training (i.e. customer service skills relevant to standard).
  • Time given to apprentice to complete their reflective journal at the end of shifts

Off-the-job training does not include:

  • English and maths (up to level 2), which is funded separately
  • Training on knowledge, skills and behaviours that aren’t required in the standard or framework
  • Progress reviews or on-programme assessment needed for an apprenticeship framework or standard
  • Training which takes place outside the apprentice’s paid hours
  • Mandatory training unless the training meets the requirements of the skills knowledge and behaviours included the standard

Does induction count?

An induction does not necessarily count as off-the-job training – a tour of the office or hospital wouldn’t count as off-the-job training, for example. However, inductions could include an educational element providing some basics of the skills, knowledge and behaviours core to the apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships are designed to have sufficient stretch to require 20% off-the-job training. An apprentice should already have the neceessary levels of English and maths, so training for English and maths must be on top of the 20% off-the-job training requirement.

Working out whether an activity should be classed as off-the job training

Off-the-job training is outside normal working duties.

However, it is possible for your apprentice to do training outside normal working duties while at their normal workstation. For example, being taught how to operate a new machine or undertaking e-learning at your desk.

To decide whether a training activity counts as ‘off-the-job’ training, think of it in comparison to what your other, fully occupationally competent, staff.

Here’s an example:

Lisa is a healthcare assistant apprentice. She has weekly training with interactive feedback while she learns to use a core piece of equipment. Learning how to use this equipment forms part of the knowledge, skills and behaviours she needs to complete her apprenticeship. This activity would count as off-the-job training.

How to record the 20%

The 20% will be assessed in the ESFA audit, so it must be tracked and recorded.

Your apprentice must have a commitment statement outlining their programme of training. This commitment statement should also include how your provider intends to deliver the 20% off-the-job training. The type of evidence required will vary from course to course, but the ESFA has said it would prefer to see naturally occurring evidence where possible.

20% doesn’t mean one day per week

Many employers assume that 20% means a day a week needs to be spent training. However as long as in its entirety 20% of the programme has been spent in training and development you can plan the training to take place whenever and wherever you want.

When calculating the amount of off-the-job training, you should deduct your apprentice’s statutory leave entitlement. Employees who work a five-day week receive at least 28 days’ paid annual holiday (NHS paid holiday would be depend on NHS service, pro-rata for part-time workers).

It should be clear to all parties how the amount of off-the-job training required has been calculated. It must be at least 20% of the apprentice’s paid hours, over the planned duration of the training period within the apprenticeship (for standards this is called the practical period, which ends at the gateway for end-point assessment), must be spent on off- the-job training. The main provider should record this in the evidence pack.

Off-the-job calculation

37.5 hour week, 202.5 hours holidays per year, 60 hours Bank Holidays per year.

37.5 hours per week x 52 weeks = 1950 paid hours (as it must incorporate all paid hours).

20% of 1950 = 390 hours.


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