This guidance is for:

  • Employers that wish to understand the off-the-job training requirements involved in an apprenticeship.
  • Providers that wish to ensure that they are offering off-the-job training in accordance with the funding rules and policy intent.

The 20% threshold is the minimum amount of time that should be spent doing off-the-job training during an apprenticeship and this applies to both apprenticeship frameworks and apprenticeship standards. All apprenticeship standards have been developed under the guidance that they are sufficiently stretching to require at least a year of employment, with off-the-job training accounting for at least 20% of the apprentice’s employed time. This requirement applies to apprenticeships at all levels.

The importance of this training to a quality apprenticeship was emphasised in the Richard Review in 2012. Ofsted have also pointed to off-the-job training as a vital feature of a quality apprenticeship. Training is distinct from assessment and off-the-job training reinforces practical, work-based learning with technical and theoretical learning. The focus of off-the-job training is on teaching new skills rather than assessing existing skills. A key element of Ofsted’s inspection regime is a judgement about how well apprentices make progress from their starting points: what can they do because of their training and experience on the apprenticeship that they could not do before? HEFCE will also quality assess apprenticeships at level 6 and above on the off-the-job training element, with input from the QAA.

Some employers may prefer that their provider offers all of the required ‘off-the-job’ training as part of the agreed cost for the apprenticeship training. Other employers may also undertake off-the-job training with an apprentice themselves. It is the responsibility of both the main provider and the employer to ensure that an apprentice spends a minimum of 20% of their employed time doing off-the-job training, as set out within the funding rules.


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