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Off-the-job training: Myth vs Fact


Stuart Cameron


28th January 2019


Apprenticeships are about upskilling an individual. 

Reaching occupational competency takes time. Many employers and apprentices have praised the positive effect off-the-job training has on their productivity and apprentices feel valued by the significant investment in their training.

Learn more about the myths, and the actual truth behind them.

Myth – My apprentice will spend a lot of time away from the workplace.

Fact – Apprenticeships are about upskilling an individual. Reaching occupational competency takes time. Many employers and apprentices have praised the positive effect off-the-job training has on their productivity and apprentices feel valued by the significant investment in their training. It must be away from the apprentice’s normal working duties and must teach new knowledge, skills and behaviours relevant to their specific apprenticeship. It can be delivered flexibly, for example, as a part of each day, one day per week, one week out of five or as block release. You may already have existing programmes or materials you can use to deliver elements of the apprentice’s off-the-job training.

Myth – Off-the-job training must be delivered by a provider in a classroom, at an external location.

Fact – This is not true. It can be delivered in a flexible way. This can be at the apprentice’s usual place of work, or at an external location. It can include for example, the teaching of theory, practical and writing assignments. UCQ has developed a range of delivery styles to suit employer and apprentice needs. Employers can work with UCQ to decide when and where it should take place and who is best placed to deliver it.

Myth – I need to document all of the apprentice’s off-the-job training.

Fact – A commitment statement must be in place from the beginning of the apprenticeship, setting out the content an apprentice will receive and which elements count towards the off-the-job training. The apprentice’s evidence pack needs to demonstrate what has been delivered against the commitment statement.

Myth – English and maths counts towards the 20% requirement.

Fact – This is not true: English and maths does not count towards the 20% requirement. Apprenticeships are about developing occupational competency and they are designed on the basis that the apprentice already has the required level (level 2) of English and maths. Training for English and maths must be on top of the 20% requirement.

Myth – Off-the-job training can be done in the apprentice’s own time.

Fact – An apprenticeship is a work-based programme so all off-the-job work must take place within the apprentice’s paid contracted hours. If planned off-the-job work is unable to take place, it must be rearranged. Apprentices may choose to spend additional time training outside paid hours, but this must not be required to complete the apprenticeship.