The new apprenticeship funding rules, which were published in March 2017, set out guidance for all employers who plan to participate in a new apprenticeship programme this year.
From 1st May 2017, the funding rules state that there is a requirement for employers to provide at least 20% off-the-job training. The core focus of this training is to teach the apprentice new skills, rather than assessing existing ones.
The provision of off-the-job training can fall to either the training provider or the employer themselves. However, they both have a responsibility to ensure this is carried out.
What does it cover?
According to the ESFA funding rules, “off-the-job training” is defined as:
“Learning which is undertaken outside of the normal day-to-day working environment and leads towards the achievement of an apprenticeship.”
Employers must ensure that this training equates to 20% of the apprentice’s contracted working hours. However, there is no stipulation on how this time must be split so employers can decide what works best for their business.
What examples are there of this kind of training?
Off-the-job training could include the following:
-Time spent writing assessments/assignments.
The ESFA funding rules state that working towards English and maths qualifications up to Level 2 wouldn’t be defined as “off-the-job training”. Equally, it wouldn’t include progress reviews or on-programme assessment needed for an apprenticeship framework or standard.
When and where must this training take place?
The training must take place within the apprentice’s paid working hours. If the apprentice wanted to undertake study outside of these hours, it wouldn’t count towards the 20%. If training cannot be provided within the contracted hours, for whatever reason, then consideration needs to be given. For example, the apprentice could be given off time in lieu.
Off-the-job training can be carried out at the apprentice’s place of work or off-site – there are no specific rules regarding the location. The most important factor is that the activity the apprentice is undertaking meets the requirements of the funding rules.