From education to employment

The ESFA updates off-the-job training rules… again

John Plummer, Senior Lecturer, Edge Hill University

The #ESFA has proposed another change to the off-the-job #OTJ training rules – that training providers should start tracking actual off-the-job hours in the ILR as well as planned hours.

The proposed change has caused a bit of a stir in the sector, and people have taken to social media and Government forums to voice their concerns. 

These people are right to be chagrinned – the ESFA has moved the goalposts a lot since the 20% off-the-job minimum requirement was introduced in 2017. So to help clear things up (and cast a more positive light on the proposals) we’ve taken a deep dive into each proposal – and found a solution.

The actual hours field

In the apprenticeship funding rules for 2019/20 published in September, the ESFA proposed a new mandatory field in the ILR – actual off-the-job hours. This means that on top of recording planned off-the-job hours, providers will have to track actual off-the-job hours completed by each apprentice to comply with ESFA funding rules.

There’s been uproar in the sector, with some providers calling out the ESFA for mistrusting providers and adding more unnecessary bureaucracy to delivery.

Recording actual off-the-job hours may seem like extra bureaucracy – but not with OneFile. OneFile’s learning journal and timesheets have a built-in off-the-job tracker, making it easy to record and track actual hours. Apprentices can submit learning entries on the system and simply select whether they were completed on or off the job. OneFile will then calculate their actual hours against their contracted hours and display their progress as a percentage. Apprentices, tutors, employers, IQAs and EQAs have full visibility – which is great for Ofsted inspections and ESFA quality audits.

OneFile makes it easy to record the actual amount of time a student has spent completing a task, so it’s easy to track off-the-job training in a compliant way.

John Plummer, Senior Lecturer, Edge Hill University

**Editor’s note: The 30-hour cap to contracted hours – In March 2019, the ESFA introduced a 30-hour cap in their OTJ guidance, they have since revoked their statement about the 30-hour cap to contracted hours for off-the-job training, and have retracted it from the funding rules**

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