Off the Job Training

Apprenticeship funding rules state that all apprentices must spend at least 20% of their contracted time on off-the-job training. What exactly does this mean though?

Off-the-job training is training received by the apprentice, during the apprentice’s paid hours, for the purpose of achieving their apprenticeship. It’s not what the candidate will be doing in their day to day job role but it will enable them to learn new skills, which will benefit them. All this can be done in the work place.


All apprentices must spend a minimum of 20% of their time in training that is not part of their normal working duties. The core focus of this initiative is to teach learners new skills rather than assessing existing ones.

How the time is divided is up to you as an employer, as long as it is provided during paid working hours, or time in lieu. It can be provided as regular day release, block release, special training days and workshops, or a mix of everything. It can also be provided while on site, as long as it is directly relevant to the apprenticeship framework and is not part of their routine roles…think shadowing, mentoring or industry visits. Other suggestions include:

  • Lectures
  • Role playing
  • Simulation exercises
  • Management games
  • Watching Lectures or Seminars
  • Shadowing somebody else in a similar job role
  • Receiving Mentoring from someone above them E.G. Their manager.
  • Online Learning
  • Writing assignments or doing assessments.

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

It is important to remember that functional skills in English and Maths are not included in the definition of ‘off-the-job training’. Neither are progress reviews or any on-programme assessments that are necessary within the apprenticeship framework.

Make sure that all OTJT is recorded. Not only is this a helpful tool for an employee to see what they’ve learnt, and for you to see what a learner might need further training on, but it will also be spot-checked during audits. The Department for Education have released a guide here which is a helpful resource for employers and training providers.