20% Off The Job Training Examples For Apprenticeships

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In the landscape of apprenticeships, a key component that sets the foundation for comprehensive skill development is the requirement of “20% Off The Job Training.”

This integral part of an apprentice’s journey ensures that a significant portion of their time is invested in structured and strategic learning activities. It’s not just about learning on the floor; it’s about enhancing knowledge and skills in a way that complements the hands-on experience with broader, more theoretical insights.

This blog will delve into the specifics of how this time is calculated, explore the significance of such an investment in professional development, and provide concrete examples of effective off the job training activities.


What Is Off The Job Training?

Off the job training refers to the structured learning activities that take place away from the apprentice’s usual work duties. It’s a crucial part of every apprenticeship programme, accounting for 20% of your working hours, so it’s important that learners, their line managers and employers alike understand what it is, what it isn’t and why it matters.

How Is Off The Job Training Calculated?

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.
  • Step 4 – Identify how many “formal” learning hours will be accrued through the workshops, coaching sessions, online learning and other set activities across the duration of the apprenticeship programme, and subtract these from the total to give a suggested number of hours of work-based activity each week.


What Counts As Off The Job Training?

Employers will often ask what activity counts as 20% off the job training, so here are just a few examples:

  • Workshops, courses and seminars delivered by internal or external subject matter experts
  • Online and digital learning sessions
  • Coaching and mentoring from internal or external subject matter experts
  • Work-based tasks, activities and projects
  • Completing assessments, assignments and research
  • Attending conferences and industry events

One key factor to remember when considering whether an activity will count towards off the job training or not is that it whether the apprentice will learn NEW knowledge, skills and behaviours related to their apprenticeship – as if it the activity is simply acting as a refresher for existing knowledge, skills and behaviours then this won’t count.


What Doesn’t Count As Off The Job Training?

Alongside activities which don’t develop new knowledge, skills and behaviours, the following don’t qualify as 20% off the job training:

  • Routine work tasks that the apprentice performs as part of their daily job responsibilities
  • Functional skills (Maths and English) training – even if the learner is required to undertake this as part of their enrolment onto the apprenticeship
  • Non-work-related activities or personal time, such as breaks, lunch or commuting to and from work
  • Progress reviews (sometimes known as the 12-week reviews between learner, line manager and training provider) or on-programme assessment required for the apprenticeship
  • Unstructured, unmonitored self-study without clear learning objectives and guidance
  • Training which takes place outside the apprentice’s paid working hours
  • Any time spent on tasks unrelated to the apprenticeship’s learning outcomes

Why Off The Job Training Matters

Line managers and employers can often be concerned about the amount of off the job hours required for an apprenticeship, so understanding the value of off the job training in enhancing their team’s skills and performance is vital.

When off the job training is done right, it exposes apprentices to diverse learning experiences, helps bridge skills gaps and paves the way for career advancement – providing tangible advantages and impacts for the individual and their business as a whole.

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Providing The Right Off The Job Training

Line managers play a crucial role in selecting the right off the job training methods for their apprentices, so here are 10 top tips to consider for your learner:

  1. Tailor training to individual needs
  2. Collaborate with apprentices to set clear objectives
  3. Provide opportunities for apprentices to apply what they’ve learned directly to their work tasks and projects
  4. Ensure the chosen training aligns with career paths
  5. Monitor progress to measure its effectiveness
  6. Offer flexible schedules to accommodate training
  7. Recognise and reward employees who embrace off the job training
  8. Offer networking opportunities with industry peers
  9. Provide regular feedback and mentoring
  10. Encourage knowledge sharing among team members


20 Examples Of Off The Job Training

Depending on the nature of your apprenticeship, here are 20 examples of off the job training that MTD have seen used really effectively by our learners:

Attending Leadership Workshops and Courses

These sessions provide apprentices with the opportunity to develop their leadership and management skills in a structured environment. Participants can learn about different leadership styles, communication techniques, and strategies for motivating and managing a team. Workshops and courses are often interactive, offering opportunities for role-play and practical exercises.

Participating in Sales Competitions

Sales competitions allow apprentices to put their sales skills to the test in a controlled, competitive environment. This helps to hone their persuasion and negotiation skills, whilst also building confidence.

Competitions can also create a sense of camaraderie and healthy competition amongst participants.

Identifying and Implementing Process Improvements

Apprentices can learn to critically evaluate workplace processes and identify areas for improvement. This not only enhances their problem-solving and critical thinking skills but also contributes to the efficiency and effectiveness of the organisation.

Learning from Experienced Project Managers

Shadowing or receiving mentorship from seasoned project managers provides apprentices with a first-hand look at effective project management in action. They can learn about time management, resource allocation, and stakeholder communication from experienced professionals.

Participating in On-site and Off-site Team Building and Collaboration Activities

Team building activities help to create a sense of unity and improve communication amongst team members. Whether on-site or off-site, these activities can range from problem-solving tasks to physical challenges, all designed to enhance teamwork and collaboration.

Mentoring with Experienced Leaders

A mentorship arrangement with a seasoned leader in the organisation provides apprentices with a valuable resource for guidance, advice, and support. This relationship can help to accelerate their learning and development, providing insights that are not readily available in formal training sessions.

Apprentice-lead Projects

Leading a project allows apprentices to apply their learning in a practical context, developing their project management and leadership skills. This hands-on experience is invaluable for cementing their understanding and building confidence in their abilities.

Practising a Team Presentation

Delivering presentations as part of a team helps to develop communication and public speaking skills. Apprentices can learn how to structure a presentation, use visual aids effectively, and work collaboratively with team members to deliver a coherent message.

Observations and Line Manager Feedback on Sales Techniques

Receiving constructive feedback from line managers on sales techniques helps apprentices to identify areas for improvement and develop their skills. Observations provide an opportunity for real-time feedback and guidance, ensuring that learning is immediately applicable.

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Enrolling in Leadership Coaching Programmes

Leadership coaching provides personalised support and development, helping apprentices to refine their leadership style and enhance their effectiveness in leading others. These programmes often include goal setting, action planning, and regular check-ins to monitor progress.

Attending Sales Conferences

Sales conferences provide a platform for learning about the latest industry trends, best practices, and innovative sales techniques. Networking with other sales professionals also opens up opportunities for learning and development.

Role-playing Exercises

Role-playing provides a safe environment for apprentices to practise their skills, receive feedback, and refine their approach. Whether it’s handling difficult customer interactions or practising sales pitches, role-playing is a valuable tool for experiential learning.

Learning from Case Studies and Real-world Examples

Analysing case studies provides apprentices with insights into real-world applications of their learning, helping to bridge the gap between theory and practice. Discussing and dissecting these examples enhances their analytical and critical thinking skills.

Participating in Management Simulations

Management simulations provide a risk-free environment for apprentices to practise their decision-making and problem-solving skills. These simulations mimic real-world scenarios, requiring participants to think on their feet and make quick decisions.

Assisting a More Experienced Member of the Team with an Unfamiliar Task/Project

This provides a learning opportunity through hands-on experience, allowing apprentices to learn new skills and gain insights into different areas of the business.

Engaging in Bitesize Online Sales Courses

These short, focused courses provide targeted learning on specific aspects of sales, allowing apprentices to build their skills in a manageable way. The online format also offers flexibility, enabling learning to take place at a convenient time.

Resolving a Conflict Situation

Handling conflict is a crucial skill in any workplace. Apprentices can learn strategies for mediation, negotiation, and problem-solving, helping to resolve disputes effectively and maintain positive working relationships.

Learning Office Management Software

Proficiency in office management software is a valuable skill in today’s digital world. Apprentices can develop their technical skills, improving their efficiency and productivity in performing administrative tasks.

Participating in Leadership Forums

Leadership forums offer a space for discussion, learning, and networking with other leaders. Apprentices can gain insights from experienced professionals, learn about different leadership challenges, and discuss strategies for effective leadership.

Undertaking Short Placements in Other Departments to Gain Varied and Wider Business Experience

This exposes apprentices to different areas of the business, broadening their understanding and providing a more holistic view of the organisation. It also helps to build a network of contacts and improve their adaptability to different working environments.


Scheduling Off The Job Training

Most learners, line managers and employers believe that the 20% off the job has to be conducted on a set day of the week, every week, and therefore consider this as taking a day off from the workplace every week.

In reality, this isn’t the case as the 20% off the job training can be accrued over the duration of the apprenticeship – so as long as the time is accrued prior to End Point Assessment, there’s no need to be so regimented about how it is accrued if this isn’t going to work for you as a learner.

Apprentices can effectively time manage by:

  • Creating a training schedule to balance work responsibilities and training activities
  • Setting specific learning goals and milestones for each off the job learning activity
  • Continuously assessing progress and adapting the schedule as needed
  • Collaborating with line managers and employers to ensure alignment with work requirements
  • Developing strong time-management skills to make the most of off the job training opportunities – which is a key skill covered in most apprenticeship programmes

Scheduling ensures that learners can fully engage in training activities without compromising their regular job duties; maximising the benefits they gain from the 20% off the job training.

Measuring The Impact Of Off The Job Training

Measuring the impact of off the job training within apprenticeships is vital for employers, as it ensures that the investments made in training yield tangible benefits for both the apprentices and the business. Employers can measure impact through:

  • Gathering feedback from apprentices on the training’s effectiveness
  • Evaluating apprentices’ newly acquired skills
  • Comparing pre-training and post-training performance indicators
  • Assessing how apprentices apply their training to real work tasks
  • Evaluating whether training results in cost savings or increased efficiency
  • Evaluating how training contributes to the organisation’s success

Understanding the impact of off the job training helps employers refine their training strategies, optimise resource allocation and ensure apprentices become more skilled and valuable contributors to the company’s success.

Making The 20 Off The Job Training Requirements Work For You

As we wrap up this exploration of off-the-job training examples for apprenticeships, it’s evident that this 20% dedicated to learning outside the usual daily tasks can have a profound impact.

From the learners who gain valuable skills and experiences to the line managers who guide and witness growth, and employers who see a more skilled and adaptable workforce, the benefits are clear.

Off-the-job training is an investment in the future, both for individuals and businesses alike. It enables apprentices to build the skills necessary to excel in their chosen fields, leading to career advancement and organisational success.

So, embrace off-the-job training as a strategic asset and watch your people flourish.

For more information and guidance check out these tips to support your apprentices on their learning journey.

Thanks again


Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Training

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Updated on: 16 November, 2023

Originally posted: 14 December 2020

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