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Apprenticeship off-the-job training – what is it and what activities can you log?
Apprenticeships should be treated equally as a job and a learning opportunity. Remember that work-based learning is an important part of an apprenticeship, and while apprentices might spend a lot of their training time in a formal setting as part of their training plan, there are other off-the-job learning opportunities that can fulfil the requirements of apprenticeships.
Off-the-job training is mandatory, but that doesn’t mean you have to be off the worksite to complete it. In fact, all it means is that you have to dedicate a certain amount of time to relevant learning outside of your normal work duties. There are many different ways to undertake this requirement, but how do you keep track of all the various ways you’re learning?
If you’re not sure what you can log as off-the-job training and how to accumulate the right number of hours, we share some examples below.
What is off-the-job training?
Quite simply, off-the-job training is learning that is undertaken outside of your day-to-day work duties and is a crucial part of your apprenticeship training.
Off-the-job training actually takes place within your normal, contracted apprenticeship work hours and must be directly relevant to your apprenticeship.
Off-the-job training is a time for apprentices to focus on developing the required skills, knowledge, and behaviours necessary to complete the apprenticeship.
Previously, apprentices had to spend a minimum of 20% of their contracted hours completing off-the-job training. As of August 2022, the new apprenticeship rules dictate that off-the-job training hours are now only 20% of a 30-hour baseline, which works out to 6 hours a week.
How does off-the-job differ from on-the-job training?
On-the-job training is learning that is given to an apprentice by their employer.
The goal of on-the-job training is to enable apprentices to do the job they have been employed to do.
This learning does not have anything to do with developing the skills, knowledge, and behaviours as determined by the apprenticeship.
The assessment at the end of the apprenticeship will test these parameters to determine whether or not you achieve the apprenticeship.
While both kinds of training are quite different in practice, off-the-job and on-the-job training must work together to reinforce the ideas taught and immerse the apprentice in learning.
Examples of off-the-job training for your apprenticeship learning log
The off-the-job training requirement can be met in a number of ways. Contrary to popular belief, off-the-job training isn’t relegated to traditional means of learning like the classroom, there are a variety of activities that count toward your required hours.
The key to guaranteeing the hours qualify is to ensure they are relevant to the apprenticeship. Here are a few examples of off-the-job training:
- You can learn new skills at work by shadowing other members of the team — be sure that all parties agree to the arrangement and that it is well-documented
- Mentoring support from managers or colleagues
- Face-to-face tutoring/coaching sessions with a qualified provider
- Attending work-related conferences or industry events, in person or virtually
- Classroom-based lectures, workshops, and training days relevant to the apprenticeship
- Online learning
- Reflection journals – look back and reflect on the training provided
- Special projects related to your role or the programme
- Role-playing or simulating workplace situations
- Revision in preparation for End Point Assessment
- Internal learning and development programmes
- Performance reviews conducted by your manager or staff-wide development meetings
- Training related to work practices or equipment
- Conducting research to gain and improve industry knowledge
- Visiting other departments in-house or competitor businesses to see how they work and differ from your current chosen path
These are just a few examples of off-the-job training. Now that you know what counts toward the requirement, how do you make sure that all your work is recognised?
Logging off-the-job hours
The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) requires all off-the-job training to be tracked and recorded as it is a time-based requirement.
- Not only will you need to log exactly how much time you’re spending training, but the record should indicate what type of training has been done (see examples above) and how it meets apprenticeship criteria.
- Don’t forget to keep any evidence of completed training so you can include it to support your claims.
- It can be quite difficult to keep track of the different kinds of training you undertake as there are so many different ways to complete it. There are dedicated trackers available, but exactly how you record your time will depend on whatever service your employer provides.
- At ESP our e-portfolio system, OneFile enables us to track, record and report on every aspect of the learning progress, including off-the-job activities, giving our team a clear overview. Overlaid with a dedicated team, we ensure a consistent delivery of high-quality training to ensure each output is achieved every step of the way.
Why off-the-job training is important for apprentices
All training you receive during your apprenticeship is meant to ensure you are competent in your chosen profession.
- You’re working toward your End Point Assessment, which tests the skills, knowledge, and behaviours learned during your apprenticeship.
- You should be an active participant in planning your training programme to be certain any special needs or requirements you may have are taken into consideration. This is the time to advocate for yourself.
- You can create a customised plan that not only meets the ESFA requirements but fosters your professional development.
- Your employer should be encouraging feedback about their programme and making changes in order to provide you with the best experience.
How we can help?
The Education Skills and Partnership collaborates with employers and employees to design an apprenticeship programme that fits the needs of both parties.
Our Learning & Skills Coaches are highly skilled and well-qualified in what they do. What’s most important to us is that our learners feel cared for and listened to and that our courses help them fulfil their potential, progress in their profession, and meet their individual career development goals.
To discuss how we can support you, get in touch with our team for a free consultation.