20% Off The Job Training For Apprenticeships – A Statutory Requirement

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As part of the Apprenticeship Programme each employer is required to give each apprentice a minimum of 20% of their total working hours for “off the job training”.

What is the definition of ‘20% Off the Job Training’?

20% off the job training is defined as training which is received by the apprentice, during the apprentice’s normal working hours, for the purpose of achieving the knowledge, skills and behaviours of the approved apprenticeship referenced in the apprenticeship agreement. By normal working hours we mean paid hours excluding overtime.

The 20% off the job training must not be delivered as part of their “normal working duties”.

It is not on-the-job training which is training received by the apprentice for the sole purpose of enabling the apprentice to perform the work for which they have been employed. By this we mean training that does not specifically link to the knowledge, skills and behaviours set out in the apprenticeship.

Why must off-the-job training be conducted during the apprentice’s normal working hours?

An apprenticeship is a work-based programme. The training is required to help the apprentice become fully occupationally competent in the workplace. Therefore, it is reasonable that the apprenticeship should be delivered during the apprentice’s normal working hours. It is not appropriate, and would be unfair, to expect an apprentice to undertake the apprenticeship in their own time, in addition to their job role.

If training must, by exception, take place outside of the apprentice’s normal working hours, e.g. in an evening or at a weekend for an apprentice that normally works Monday to Friday between 9-5, we would expect this to be recognised, for example through time off in lieu or by an additional payment to the apprentice.

How to calculate the 20% Off the Job Training Hours

When calculating the 20% off-the-job, we take the following approach:

Step 1 – Work out the total working hours for the apprentice. (This should exclude annual leave entitlement and bank holidays.)

Step 2 – Identify the planned duration of the apprenticeship programme.

Step 3 – Calculate 20% of the total working hours across the planned duration of the programme:

Key points

Each of our programmes have a different number of face-to-face training days – our masterclass programme.

We subtract these from the total to give a suggested number of hours of workplace off-the-job study each week. The remainder will be completed in the workplace, but away from immediate pressures of the day job.

20% Off the Job Training in Practice

Employers will often ask what activity can count as 20% off the job training. Here are just a few examples:

  • The teaching of theory and knowledge (for example, skills development sessions, masterclasses, role playing, simulation exercises, online learning, manufacturer training).
  • Practical skills development training
  • Completing of work-based projects
  • Building a portfolio
  • Completion of assessments and assignments
  • Learning support
  • Shadowing and mentoring
  • Industry visits and attendance at exhibitions
  • Online blended learning

Off-the-job training does not include:

  • English and maths (up to level 2)
  • Progress reviews or on-programme assessment required for an apprenticeship standard (i.e. skills coach meetings)
  • Training which takes place outside the apprentice’s paid working hours

For more information and guidance check out

Apprenticeship off-the-job training: policy background and examples (publishing.service.gov.uk)

Thanks again,



Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training   

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Updated on: 14 December, 2020

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