Off-the-job: it's time for a name update

A simple terminology change could unlock the potential of apprenticeships for employers. With your support, we will continue to campaign to change the terminology around off-the-job.

There are many misconceptions around what is meant by off-the-job training, which have a negative impact on learners and employers. We’ve created this campaign to address them.

Following a recent consultation with employer partners, we believe that some challenges related to off-the-job training could be resolved by reframing and renaming the terminology. We want to update the language so it reflects the current reality of apprenticeship delivery.

We asked our Employer Partners about the potential impact of renaming OTJ for their organisation:

indicated that renaming OTJ would have a positive and high impact
indicated that renaming OTJ would cause less confusion and better understanding
stated that renaming OTJ would improve line manager support and engagement

Our campaign is calling for:

Renaming off-the-job training with an alternative name, which has the backing of the FE sector and reflects the modern-day reality of apprenticeships.

Reframing off-the-job, using the renaming as a moment to ignite conversations around the power and potential of apprenticeships.

“AELP fully supports proposals to modernise the language used for apprenticeship training. The current terminology is outdated and no longer reflects how and where the broad range of training provision that exists across the apprenticeship programme can and does take place. This causes confusion for employers and learners alike so updating the language we use to describe dedicated time spent developing and learning new skills would be extremely welcome and impactful.”

Simon Ashworth, AELP Director of Policy
Employers already supporting the campaign

With your support, we will continue to campaign to change the terminology around off-the-job. Your involvement helps us to raise the profile of the campaign, demonstrate the shared challenges within our sector and create lasting positive change for apprentices and employers.

Advance Housing and Support
3D Leisure Ltd
Affinity Trust
Quantum Care
Great Ormond Street Hospital 
Bourne Leisure Holdings Ltd
Whitbread PLC
Wagamama Group Ltd
The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association
DDC Outsourcing Solutions Limited
Tesco PLC
Greenwich Leisure Ltd
Leonardo Hotels UK and Ireland
Marston's PLC
Chiswick Nursing Centre
Avenues Group
Green Square Accord
RS Group PLC
Tayto Group Ltd
Parkwood Leisure
Barchester Healthcare Ltd
Methodist Homes
Nuffield Health
Housing 21
Nisbets PLC
Cera Care
Bupa UK
Valor Hospitality Partners
Big Yellow Self Storage Co LTD
Lindt UK
HC One Ltd
PizzaExpress Ltd
Pret A Manger Europe Ltd
Places Leisure
Ansell Electrical Products Limited
Iceland Foods Ltd
Unite the Union
David Lloyd Leisure Ltd
Mitchells & Butlers PLC
McDonald's UK and Ireland
Greene King PLC

Supported by:
The 5% Club
The Institute of Hospitality
The Association of Employment and Learning Providers

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"We are regularly asked: What does ‘off-the-job training’ mean? How long will I lose my team member for? Often they’re thinking about the pressure of release time and thinking their staff will be away from work, rather than the value the training brings. With NHS teams already so stretched, we want our colleagues to understand the importance of all ‘active’ learning, which is rewarding to the individuals and supports service delivery and also helps grow our workforce of the future."

Laurence O'Sullivan-Whiting, Workforce Development Lead – Apprenticeships

"Our feeling is that the words act as a barrier to people understanding off-the-job. We don’t expect people to understand it immediately, it still needs those conversations. But if it was called something that didn't kind of muddy the waters, then that would certainly help."

Aileen West, Emerging Talent & Careers Manager
Why rename off-the-job?

A simple name change could have hugely positive impacts on take-up, retention and completion rates. Here's how:

More clarity, for both learners and managers
Increased apprentice sign up rate
Better learner engagement, more completions
Improved line manager engagement
Cost and resource efficiencies
Better learner and manager relationships

“It's a massive challenge for us. I truly believe that we would have a lot more learners if off-the-job training was better understood."

Lauren Robbin, Early Careers and Disadvantaged Groups Partner

“There is a lack of understanding and perceptions of the term off-job-training. It creates a real barrier to sign-up. If the line manager doesn’t understand then an apprentice will not get permission from their manager to apply or be correctly supported whilst on an apprenticeship. In the end the learner is less likely to complete their off-the job-training which has an impact on achievement rates."

Richard Brooks Harley, Apprenticeship Delivery Manager

Follow the campaign, use the hashtag and find all updates here.

Language matters. Together, we can create more clarity. Let's rename and reframe off-the-job.

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“The age of employees impacts their understanding of off-the-job – it’s associated by older colleagues with trades learning one day a week at college. We need to modernise our language to reflect contemporary ways of working, helping to increase apprentices within our business.”

Jo Vincent, Colleague Capability & Apprenticeship Manager at B&Q