Last updated: 22.02.18

Twenty per cent off-the-job training for apprenticeship standards

What is 20% off-the-job training?

Twenty per cent off-the-job training MUST now be included in all new standards. According to the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) ‘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 the apprenticeship. This can include training that is delivered at the apprentice’s normal place of work but must not be delivered as part of their normal working duties.’

This can be confusing and leads to a lot of people wondering what is actually classed as off-the-job training.

Examples of off-the-job training

  • Online training
  • The teaching of theory
  • Practical training
  • Workbooks

It does NOT include:

  • English and maths (up to level 2).
  • Progress reviews.
  • Training which takes place outside the apprentice’s paid working hours.

How can distance learning help

Distance learning can be used effectively as part of the off-the-job training requirement. The Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) state that: “Well-supported distance learning should be supported and not discouraged, with the utilisation of technology to enhance innovative learning being embraced and not stifled.”

Distance learning can prevent the apprentice from having to leave the premises to attend a face-to-face session or college, for example.

Virtual College has developed a range of content that maps into six different standards and delivers vital hours, which contribute towards off-the-job training. These interactive online modules are mapped to deliver new knowledge, skills and behaviours to the apprentice within their associated standard.

The standards that Virtual College has currently mapped include:

  • L3 Team Leader/Supervisor
  • L5 Operation/Department Manager
  • L2 Customer Service Practitioner
  • L2 Adult Care Worker
  • L2 Hospitality Team Member
  • L3 Lead Adult Care Worker

All of our apprenticeship content can also be shared into any existing learning management system.

How could 20% off-the-job training affect you?

Twenty per cent off-the-job training is based on the employee’s contracted hours across the apprenticeship and works out as one day per week, on average. This can be a hindrance when it comes to losing a trainee apprentice for this amount of time. Even more so when the apprentice is an existing, experienced employee who is being upskilled through an apprenticeship.

Evidencing this off-the-job training will now also have an impact. Evidence must be provided as to how long has been spent, when it was completed and what was actually completed. Each apprentice should have a commitment statement that outlines the programme of training that the apprentice should receive. This statement should set out how the provider intends to fulfil the 20% off-the-job training requirement and this will need to be evidenced when programmes are subject to inspection.

Virtual College has a state of the art learning management system (LMS), called Enable, which can host all of this online training and report on any face-to-face or distance learning sessions, allowing you to be fully aware of the amount of hours spent on off-the-job training. This is used by the Virtual College apprenticeship team to directly deliver the Digital Marketing apprenticeship.

Our in-house bespoke team can also work with you in collaboration to build content that maps into any of the standards that are not mentioned above.

For more information on the 20% off-the-job training and our Virtual College apprenticeship scheme, please contact Danny Braithwaite at

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