A key feature of the apprenticeship system are the numerous rules that training providers must follow. Some of these rules are often misunderstood even by those involved in the system, especially employers. One rule in particular causes a great deal of confusion, this is the rule that requires all apprentices to complete a minimum of 20% of paid hours undertaking ‘Off-the-Job’ training.
The term ‘Off-the-Job’ is defined by the Education and Skills Funding Agency as:
‘Training received by the apprentice, during the apprentice’s paid hours, for the purpose of achieving their apprenticeship. “Off-the-job training must be directly relevant to the apprenticeship framework or standard, teaching new knowledge, skills and behaviours required to reach competence in the particular occupation.”
There are four key tests to check if training counts as Off-the-Job Training. If the answer to all four questions is ‘yes’ then the activity can be regarded as Off-the-Job.
- Is the learner signed up on an apprenticeship programme?
- Is the activity directly relevant to the apprenticeship?
- Is the activity teaching new knowledge, skills and behaviours?
- Is the learning taking place in the apprentice’s paid working hours?