What the Apprenticeship Levy’s 20 per cent off-the-job training really means:
Employers recruiting Health and Social Care apprentices need to be fully aware of the Apprenticeship Levy’s 20 per cent off-the-job training requirement – and what it really means.
The stipulation is that apprentices must spend 20 per cent of their working hours – equivalent to around one day a week – on training away from their day-to-day work activities. However, with the right information to hand, employers will be able to see for themselves the benefits of this obligation to both their apprentices and their business.
What off-the-job means:
Off-the-job training is defined as learning undertaken outside of the normal day-to-day working environment and leads towards the achievement of an apprenticeship. This can include training that is delivered at the apprentice’s normal place of work. However, it must not be delivered as part of their normal working duties.
Does this mean an apprentice taking one day a week away from work?
There’s no set timetable for when off-the-job training needs to occur and the 20 per cent figure is calculated using the apprentice’s contracted employment hours across their whole apprenticeship – equivalent to around one day per working week.
It’s up to the employer and training provider to decide at what point during the apprenticeship the training is best delivered. It could be a proportion of every day, one day a week throughout the apprenticeship, one week out of every five, a proportion at the beginning, middle or end. This will depend on what’s best for the organisation and the apprentice and on the technical or theoretical requirements of the apprenticeship standard.
Is off-the-job training compulsory for all apprenticeships?
Yes, even when Apprenticeship Levy funds are used for up-skilling through management apprenticeships, 20 per cent of the training has to be off-the-job training.
What actually constitutes off-the-job training?
The off-the-job training must be directly relevant to the apprenticeship framework or standard and could include the following.
- The teaching of theory – for example lectures, role playing, simulation exercises, online/remote learning or manufacturer training.
- Practical training – for example, shadowing, mentoring, industry visits and attendance at competitions that support development of a wider understanding of the apprentice’s job role.
- Learning support and time spent writing assessments/assignments.
- Revision time.
- EPA preparation.
All of the above activity examples must be both evidenced and conducted during the apprentice’s contracted working hours.
What does off-the-job training not include?
- English and maths up to Level 2, which is funded separately. Apprenticeships in Health and Social Care are designed on the basis that an apprentice already has the required levels of English and maths and therefore training in these two areas must be on top of the 20 per cent off-the-job training requirement.
- Progress reviews or on-programme assessment needed for an apprenticeship framework or standard.
- Training which takes place outside the apprentice’s paid working hours.
Can inductions count as off-the-job training?
An induction does not necessarily count as off-the-job training, for example a tour of the office or picking up a building pass are not activities that would count as off-the-job training. However, inductions could include an educational element that provides some basics of the skills, knowledge and behaviours that are core to the apprenticeship. This would count as off-the-job training.
Where can off-the-job training take place?
The training can take place at an employer’s workplace or off-site – for example, in a classroom or from home via distance learning. However funding rules do not permit all off-the-job training to be delivered via distance learning; it must be as part of a blended approach. It is the activity, rather than the location that determines whether the training meets the funding rules definition.
Measuring and recording off-the-job training:
To comply with the funding rules, each Health and Social Care apprentice should have a commitment statement that, among other information, outlines the programme of training that the apprentice should receive. This statement should set out how the provider intends to fulfil the 20 per cent off-the-job training requirement. The Education and Skills Funding Council, which oversees funding for apprenticeship training in the UK, does not prescribe the type of evidence that should be retained as it prefers training providers and employers to use naturally occurring evidence where this is available.
Does off-the-job training need to be with certain education providers?
Only companies that use a training provider approved by the Education and Skills Funding Agency will be eligible to receive Apprenticeship Levy funding.