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20% “Off the Job” training demystified

Apprenticeships training

Over the last 12 months we have worked with dozens of clients across a wide range of sectors – banking, retail, insurance and professional services. Without exception, when discussing Apprenticeships, one issue has been a major concern – “what do we do about the 20%?” and in many cases putting managers off Apprenticeship training.

What was most striking is that these are companies that invest significantly in training and development with comprehensive talent programmes yet are still worried about how they will meet this requirement. It made us think if these firms will struggle what hope is there for anybody else?

Believing this can’t be as onerous as it first appears, at Kaplan our client solutions team have unpicked the guidance to try to demystify this requirement for the employers we work with. Here we share some of our top tips for making the 20% work for you:

  • ‘Off-the-Job’ or ‘On-the-Job’ – It could be argued that the term ‘off the job’ is a little unhelpful as it suggests apprentices physically need to be away from their work premises for it to apply. This is not true and training can absolutely happen in the workplace. To count it just needs to be case that apprentices are not undertaking normal day-to-day duties and that there time is being spent in some form of training or development relevant to the Apprenticeship standard they are completing.
  • 20% - doesn’t mean one day per week - Again many employers assume that 20% means one day per week needs to be spent training. However as long as in its entirety 20% of the programme has been spent in training and development then you can plan the training to take place whenever and wherever you want.
  • Make Inductions Count – The rules don’t allow for inductions to be included IF they just involve showing somebody where the kitchen is or meeting the team. However if your induction includes actual training and skills development then this can, absolutely, be included. We know many employers have very comprehensive inductions into new roles, sometimes including up to 2 weeks of technical training. We would recommend working with your providers on the start date of your Apprenticeships to ensure this training can be taken into account.
  • Embrace flexibility of delivery methods – It is the case that the 20% has to be achieved in work time so if you only allow your students to study in the evening and weekend and don’t give any time off in lieu, then this won’t count. However if adopting a day release model doesn’t work for your business, you can still make the most of the flexibility a provider like Kaplan can offer in terms of delivery. So for instance you can still use courses in anti-social hours but plan time off in lieu to fit around work requirements. Or you could look into the new on-demand learning packages which allow students to study wherever, whenever, so they can choose less busy times at work to concentrate on their learning.
  • Consider when your learners are ‘in training’ – As part of your learner’s programme, will they be taught new skills and knowledge whilst technically ‘on the job’? This is the area we get the most push-back from, possibly as it feels harder to quantify, but it is well worth spending the time considering this fact, not least because the guidance clearly states this is OK:
Lisa is an engineering 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 achieve the apprenticeship. This activity would count as off-the-job training.

Apprenticeship off-the-job training - Policy background and examples - June 2017 - Department for Education (PDF, 453KB)

Applying this to many employers looking to develop their staff there are likely to be many situations where a large proportion of time is spent learning new skills and developing new areas of knowledge. As per above, this can be counted so should be included in your 20%.

Finally we are asked very frequently how this will be monitored and evidenced. The guidance here is very sketchy and encourages employers and providers to work together to use ‘naturally occurring evidence’. It is a requirement that to enrol onto an Apprenticeship programme, providers have worked with you as the employer to understand how the 20% will be made up. At Kaplan we will put together a plan, similar to the below that will be bespoked to you.

At regular check-in points, our Talent Coaches will then review with your learners what training they have received over the last quarter to make sure that what was agreed at the start of the programme is being adhered to. Our Talent Coaches will log this on our Learning Management System. Whilst it is good practice for apprentices to keep a note of when they have received/attended training courses, we are not asking our learners to log hours.

We hope that the above has proved useful in terms of helping to make sense of the 20% requirement and make it feel a little more achievable. This is a new and ever evolving area, so Kaplan’s client solutions team is here to work with you to make sure you are comfortable with how this will work for your organisation with every standard you wish to deliver. Please contact your account manager if you wish to discuss further.

20% Breakdown for Level 7 Accounting/Taxation Professional

Learning Activities Employer Kaplan Suggested Frequency
Introduction to role (must include training) 1 day = 7 hours Month 1
Development Day Workshops 10 days = 70 hours 8 workshops scheduled plus 2 day business challenge
ICAEW Classroom c100 days = 700 hours Flexible Study Time – c100 days including exams
ICAEW Study Time
E-learning Skills Modules 12 units @ 3 hours = 36 hours Flexible Study Time – As directed by Talent Coach
Internal Training including technical and behavioural 12 days = 84 hours Assume 1 day every quarter
One to ones with line manager/Shadowing/Mentoring/Appraisals etc… 3 hours per month = 108 hours ½ day per week - approximately
End Point Assessment including preparation and exams 13 days = 91 hours Approx 13 days in total including Talent Coach support
TOTALS 199 hours 897 hours 1,096 hours

OTJ Calculation
36 month training programme
35 hour week, 25 holidays per year, 8 Bank Holidays per year
= 4,732 working hours over 18 months
20% OTJ = Minimum of 946 hours over 36 months

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