On the evening of Tuesday, June 27, 2017, the government released its long-awaited guidance document on one of the areas of confusion for the new apprenticeship standards: off-the-job training. Off-the-job training (OJT) was included as a requirement for the new apprenticeship standards earlier in the year, but no details were given until now.
Below, we’re going to give you a primer on what OJT means, how to implement it and how employers and training providers should prepare.
What is off the job training?
OJT is a requirement for all new apprenticeship standards. No matter what apprenticeship an apprentice is undertaking, they must receive OJT during their course of learning. OJT was recommended by the Richard Review and Ofsted to ensure the apprentice is not simply in a placement program, but is also learning and working to attain knowledge within their sector.
In order for an apprentice to get a full and valuable education, the government deemed it necessary to require that all employers/training providers dedicate 20% of all the apprentice’s contracted payable hours to OJT. This means that, if an apprentice were taking a 12 month apprenticeship, their time would be broken down thus:
52 working weeks, 5 working days in every week;
5 x 7 working hours in a day = 35 working hours in a week;
35 working hours x 52 weeks = 1820 hours.
20% of 1820 = 364 hours that must be dedicated to OJT over the course of the apprenticeship.
364 hours is equivalent to spending one day a week during a 12 month apprenticeship on OJT.
Off-the-job training must reinforce practical, work-based learning with technical and theoretical learning. It must comprise of activities and learning that will increase the apprentice’s skills, competence and their ability to perform within their workplace.
It is the responsibility of the employer and training provider to ensure that the apprentice spends 20% of their apprenticeship doing OJT. Completion of OJT must be documented and evidenced in order for the apprentice to complete the apprenticeship.
OJT takes place outside normal working duties. However, it is possible to undergo OJT when at your workstation. For example, OJT could include learning to use a new machine or conducting e-learning at your desk. While conducting this training, normal working duties should not be required of the apprentice. In essence, you are setting aside time for the apprentice to improve themselves, their knowledge and/or their skills.
The employer/trainer should be able to make a judgement call about if an activity could be considered OJT. The best way to determine this would be to compare the activity to normal workplace activities and ask if the activity in question is sufficiently different to constitute OJT.