Defining off-the-job training
To use apprenticeship levy funds or claim government co-funding for an apprenticeship, the Education and Skills Funding Agency make it clear that an apprentice must spend at least 20 per cent of their contracted work time on off-the-job training.
This has created some debate in the marketplace – especially those who are putting existing employees onto apprenticeship funded programmes – who imagine their staff spending extensive time away from work. However, to get the maximum benefit for both the learner and the company, it is key to understand what is defined as off-the-job training. The definition provided by the Skills Funding Agency is reasonably open. The training can be delivered at the workplace, but must be learning which is undertaken outside of the normal day-to-day working environment and relates directly towards the achievement of the apprenticeship.
The key element is that the training is structured and can be clearly evidenced as having taken place.
When it comes to the formal training as part of the apprenticeship, there is often a perception that this is a traditional classroom based approach. However most training providers will actually have a wide range of training options which can be deployed to compliment the individual’s job role.
This flexibility means that teaching methods and times can be adjusted to suit different learning styles as well as overcome barriers around travel, time out of office, and shift patterns.
Examples of training methods used by Skills Team include
- Traditional instructor-led training delivered at a training centre.
- Instructor-led training sessions held onsite at an employer.
- Remote-access training which allows learners to log-in from anywhere and actively join a live training session.
- Virtual training spaces which are training sessions held purely online
- E-learning which allows self-guided learning using resources from a VLE (virtual learning environment)
- Online technical simulations allowing practical exercises to be practised online
- 1-to-1 personal coaching and training conducted in person or remotely
- Reflective learning by the apprentice