Supporting Construction Apprentices

“An apprenticeship is a job with a formal programme of training . As set out in “English apprenticeships: our 2020 vision”, published in 2015, the requirement for at least 20% off-the-job training is one of our core,and well established, principles that underpins a quality apprenticeship. 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.”

Department for Education

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.

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.

The off-the-job training is an essential part of an apprenticeship and therefore must take place during employed time. If training must, by exception,take place in an evening, or outside of contracted hours, it is expected that this to be recognised (for example, through time off in lieu).

However the training is delivered, it is important to remember that the apprentice must receive off-the-job training for a minimum of 20% of the time that they are paid to work.

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. 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. The off-the-job training must be directly relevant to the apprenticeship framework or standard and could include the following.

  • The teaching of theory (for example: lectures, role playing, simulation exercises, online learning or manufacturer training),
  • Practical training: shadowing, mentoring, industry visits and attendance at competitions,
  • Learning support and time spent writing assessments/assignments

Off-the-job training is outside of normal working duties. However, it is possible to be undergoing training activities outside of normal working duties while physically at your normal workstation. For example, being taught how to operate a new machine or undertaking e-learning at your desk.

To decide whether a training activity constitutes “off-the-job” training, it may be helpful to consider it in comparison to activities undertaken by other staff that are fully occupationally competent.

Apprenticeships are designed to have sufficient stretch to require 20% off-the-job training. They are designed on the basis that an apprentice already has the required levels of English and maths and therefore training for English and maths must be on top of the 20% off-the-job training requirement.