What is off-the-job training?

Off-the-job training is defined as any activity that is not part of an apprentice’s day-to-day role which supports their apprenticeship training.

Off-the-job training is a statutory requirement for an English apprenticeship. It's training which is received by the apprentice during the apprentice’s normal working hours, for the purpose of achieving the knowledge, skills and behaviours of the approved apprenticeship the learner is completing. By normal working hours, we mean paid hours excluding overtime.

To be eligible for government funding all full-time apprentices (those that work 30 hours per week or more) must spend a minimum of 6 hours per week on off-the-job training over the planned duration of the practical period.

“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.”

Ref: Apprenticeship funding rules and guidance for employers, May 2022, page 18

Planning off-the-job training

Lifetime will discuss the apprentices’ planned programme of learning and help managers and employers to identify relevant activities for off-the-job. These activities will be collated into a thorough plan to make sure requirements are met. These will be documented on the apprenticeship agreement and training plan. We’ll also provide clear guidance and support for line managers to outline their responsibilities. Off-the-job training must:

  • Be relevant to the apprenticeship programme.
  • Be separate from the normal day-to-day job role and working environment.
  • Focus on developing new knowledge, skills, and behaviours.
  • Take place during normal paid working hours.

Examples of off-the-job training

The training can consist of a range of varied activities, which will help develop the apprentice as an employee. Here are just a few examples:

  • Learning new skills at work through shadowing other members of the team, where this activity has been agreed and documented as part of the agreed training plan.
  • In-house training programmes relevant to the apprenticeship
  • Coaching sessions with your Lifetime Coach
  • Writing reflective journals
  • Attendance at workshops, training days and webinars relevant to the apprenticeship
  • Completion of online learning through Lifetime’s Learning system and/or an in-house system
  • Self-study that includes reading or watching videos
  • Training in new working practices or new equipment
  • Role-playing or simulation exercises
  • Industry visits/conferences relevant to apprenticeships
  • Writing assessments, assignments and completing projects or activities
  • Practical training or training in the workplace relevant to the apprenticeship

Benefits of off-the-job training

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A better understanding of overall knowledge, skills and behaviours required in the wider industry
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Promotes a flexible, practical and creative approach to learning – and an opportunity to gain new, transferable skills
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Provides an environment where learning can be explored in various ways through real-life learning
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Allows contact with inspiring and highly experienced trainers
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Lets learners network with one another and expand their knowledge
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Access to a wealth of online materials in Lifetime's online learning platform which can support and enhance in house training

Calculating off the job training

The minimum volume of hours no longer links to working hours (like the previous 20% off the job training rule). Off-the-job training now consists of a minimum of six hours per week – a consistent figure, irrespective of the hours worked by the apprentice.

This six-hour figure was chosen by the EFSA, as it represents 20 per cent of 30 hours, which all part-time apprentices are currently doing. It means that for apprentices who work more than 30 hours per week, they can now spend less than 20 per cent of their week doing off-the-job training.

Additional points to note about calculating off the job training are:

  • Learner statutory leave should not be calculated in the dedicated six hours of off-the-job training. It is only applicable to working hours
  • Some apprentices and standards may need more than the minimum equivalent of 6 hours per week of off-the-job training. Apprentices must receive the volume of high-quality apprenticeship training that they need to develop full occupational competence.
  • Any off-the-job training (evening industry events) that takes place outside of working hours must be paid in lieu or offset against normal working hours
  • Extra training following a failed end-point assessment does not count towards the minimum six hours per week. The minimum time needs to be achieved before undertaking end-point assessment.
  • The six hours per week is for calculation purposes only; once calculated the programme can still be delivered flexibly.
  • The volume of training that is delivered must be guided by the initial assessment of the apprentice. This may mean that an apprentice trains for more than six hours per week.

How do you record off the job training?

Recording off-the-job training activities and making sure that they are valid and beneficial is important. As mentioned, learners cannot progress to the end-point assessment stage and complete their programme until the minimum dedicated training hours have been accounted for.

Lifetime will develop a training plan with the apprentice and the line manager to plan all the off-the-job training hours to track them through the programme.

Our online learning system facilitates learners to log off-the-job activities and time spent. Our employer login lets you view and monitor these activities, giving you full control and visibility.

The ESFA has published the latest rules for apprenticeship funding. Some of the recent changes impact off-the-job training.


changes explained